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Backstroke – Cup-on-Head Balance

It’s been six years since we posted this drill, and 100 years since it was first introduced, but a better visual was necessary.

Why Do It:
Building a stable head position in backstroke is the necessary foundation for a good stroke.  Here’s a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to help swimmers develop that stable position.

How to Do It:
1.
  Start off with a small cup, or water bottle.  Fill it with water, but make sure it’s bottom heavy.  You want enough water in the cup to weigh it down, but not too much that it’ll tip over easily.
2.  Push off with your arms at your sides and kick easy flutter kick to get a feel for how to balance the cup on your forehead.
3.  After you feel stable, lift your arms out of the water and into a streamline position.  Make sure you keep kicking through this, and don’t cheat by having your arms sneak around under water.
4.  Kick in the streamline position for a bit, and then move to backstroke swimming.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Build slowly into your backstroke swimming, keeping the cup on your head as you begin to swim faster.  See how fast you can go before the cup falls.  When you get really good, try doing some turns, and 50s or 100s.  Be careful of pushing off too hard on this though.

How fast is it possible to swim with a cup on your head?  Check out Olympic Gold Medalist Jeff Rouse