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BACKSTROKE – Thumb Exit

Finishing your stroke on backstroke requires some thought. What sometimes feels like the most natural motion, isn’t really the best way to perform an action.

Many swimmers like to finish their stroke with a powerful snap of the wrist that causes the hand to exit the water pinky first. While there are many swimmers who perform very well doing this, (it can aid in the rotation of the body), most faster swimmers finish their backstroke with the palms pushing the water BACK, giving a bit more forward push, and causing the hand to exit the water THUMB FIRST.

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Why Do It:
It’s all about pushing the water BACK, and hanging on to the propulsive phase of your stroke for as long as you can. By pushing BACK, your hands are doing what they’re supposed to… MOVE YOUR FORWARD.

How To Do It:

1. Swim backstroke, focusing on the finish of your stroke, and thinking about pushing the water BACK for as long as you can. To finish the stroke, imagine that you�re giving someone a �low five��you know�slapping your friend�s hand just below waist level.

2. When you first start to practice this, try to think about your pinky — not how it cuts into the water on entry, but how it feels pushing THROUGH the water.

3. After your body has rotated, and you’ve finished the pull and push part of the stroke, simply allow your arm to lift your hand out of the water.

4. Make sure you continue to think about your rotation as you practice this. If you think just about lifting your thumb out of the water, you may flatten out, and this is not good. As your thumb lifts from the water, make sure your shoulder is clear and clean.

How To Do It Really Well (The Fine Points):

If you’re changing your stroke (like I have been), you may feel awkward at first, but after a few days, it becomes more natural, and you’ll actually feel more power as you finish your stroke.