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Backstroke – Partner Pusher

Great backstroke drills are hard to come by, so when a Canadian coaching friend suggested this one, we had to post it as soon as possible.


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When you hear someone describe this drill, it sounds kinda silly, but when you try it, and see all the things it helps you work on, you’ll find it’s a great drill for swimmers of all ages.   

Why Do It:
Partner Pusher helps you work on a stable head, a catch that’s not over the head, a firm catch, a strong kick, and the pushed partner’s ability to stay in-line during part of the drill.

How to Do It:
1.  Have one swimmer hang on to the wall while the second swimmer gets into position just a few yards from the wall, holding both feet close to the surface and in front of their partner. 
2.  The swimming partner pushes gently off the wall, and positions his head in their partner’s feet.
3.  The swimming partner now swims backstroke to the other end, pushing the partner directly down the lane.
4.  The swimmer being pushed uses his hands and body position to remain stable, yet small, to make it easier on the swimming partner.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
The cool part about this drill IS the fine points.  While it’s fun to do, let’s look at all the ways it helps you focus:
1.  With the pressure of the feet holding the head very still, the body rotates around it.
2.  With the partner positioned directly above the swimmer, the swimmer can’t cross over to initiate the pull, or they’ll hit their partner.
3.  A strong, quick pull is required just to get the partners moving.
4.  The pushed partner will need to learn to use the hands to stabilize, which helps build sculling awareness.
5.  If the swimmers are really good, the pushed swimmer can streamline… but he has to be PERFECT, or they’ll go off course.

Try 50s or 100s so everyone gets a chance, and then try SPRINTING to watch it come together.  Most of all, use this great drill for swimmers of all ages to also allow them to have some fun.