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Backstroke – Bent-Arm Scull

 Why Do It:
In backstroke, using a bent-arm pull can be a difficult motion to learn…and to teach.  This drill, which isolates the bent-arm motion and turns it into a scull, can help you get a feel for the concept and for the correct motion.

How to Do It:
1.  Push off on your back with your hands at your sides, and start a nice easy flutter kick.

2.  Keep your elbows tucked in and turn your hands so that your palms are facing up.

3.  With your elbows tucked in and palms UP, slice your hands through the water until your thumbs are up around your shoulders.  The hands should always be under the surface of the water.  Elbows should always be tucked in.

4.  When your hands are up by your shoulders, turn the hands and use your palms and forearms to push water toward your feet.  Keep your elbows tucked in and finish with your palms against your thighs.

5.  Turn your palms up and start another cycle.

How to Do It Really Well: (the Fine Points)
Try to keep your wrists from being all floppy and loose, like this.

Instead, try to maintain a straight line from your fingertips all the way through the wrist and to the elbow.  The idea is to create a long, uninterrupted pulling surface with your palms and forearms, so that you push maximum water toward your feet,

After a few 25s of bent-arm scull, try a few lengths of single-arm backstroke, focusing on a bent-arm pull and unbroken wrists.