Backstroke – Spin Drill

This is a great drill for all of you out there who don’t like to think when you swim. All practices need to be a mixture of thought and pain. It’s important to think about what you’re doing when you swim, but sometimes you just have to let thought go and go for the burn. You won’t get in peak physical condition without pushing your limits and expectations of what you can do.

There is no doubt that balance and rotation are important aspects of backstroke. This drill won’t work on either of them. This drill is about one thing, and one thing only: aggression. Usually the drills we do are very thought intensive, and slightly less power and speed oriented. This drill is designed to help you work strictly on hand speed. When this is done right, all you will see is white water, and all you will hear is the slapping of your hands against the water. This is an ugly looking drill, so don’t be afraid to get a little nasty with it.

Why Do It:

The Spin Drill will help improve your turnover rate while swimming backstroke. This is especially effective for sprint backstrokers who focus on the 100 or 50 in a relay. It also gives you a chance to work on over-emphasizing your arm speed, while getting your heart rate up a bit.

How To Do It:

1. Start in a seated position, as if sitting in your favorite reclining chair. Your head should be out of the water, and well above your hips. Your knees will also be up about even with your shoulders.

2. When you are comfortable in this position it is time to get uncomfortable. Start by recovering your hand as fast as you possibly can.

3. As your hand enters the water, get into the catch position as fast as possible. There’s no hesitation in this drill.

4. From the catch position, start your pull by bending your elbow and snapping your hand downward as fast as you can.

5. By the time one arm has finished step 4, you should already be somewhere between step 3 and 4 with your other hand. Try to keep your hands in perfect opposition the entire time, like opposite ends of a paddleboat oar.

6. Do this drill for half a length, then finish the length by swimming easy backstroke focusing on rhythm and rotation.

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

1. Keep spinning your hands as fast as you can. Don’t be so concerned with the fine points. You will have plenty of time to work on rotation and head position during the rest of practice.

2. The hand entry should be slightly wider than normal. You won’t be rotating so you will have to place the hands wider.

3. Keep your chin on the surface of the water with your eyes looking back at the wall.

4. The recovery and pull are as close to normal as you can make them without giving up speed. Recover your arm straight, and use a deep s-pull modified only for speed.

5. See how many hand hits you can get into half of a length.