Strapless Paddles is one of our favorite drills for breaststroke, but have you tried them for backstroke?
Why Do It:
Great backstrokers seem to have a sixth sense for what their hands are doing — even when they can’t SEE what their hands are doing. Using Strapless Paddles for backstroke will actually FORCE you to focus on what your hands are doing…because if you don’t focus on the hands, the paddles will fall right off.
Before you say, "But that’s not the way you want your hands to come out of the water…" consider the focus and control that this swimmer is demonstrating, by being able to do two different things at the same time with her hands. She’s keeping the paddle from falling off one hand while it’s in the air…while at the same time she’s holding water and executing a bent-arm pull with the other hand. That’s real control — and rest assured she has a different hand exit when she’s swimming without the paddles.
How to Do It:
1. Start by taking the straps off your paddles…or simply turn your paddles over so that the straps are on the bottom.
2. Push off and start swimming backstroke. At first, you might need to grip the paddle as your hand exits the water and recovers through the air, but the goal is to simply REST your hand on the paddle and not to grip it in any way.
3. Focus on keeping the paddle on your hand as you catch and push water toward your feet.
4. As you complete the pull, turn the hand PALM UP to exit the water and to keep the paddle on the hand during the recover.
5. As the hand enters the water, find the catch IMMEDIATELY so that you don’t lose the paddle.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Find a steady rhythm, and focus, focus, focus.