Backstroke – Spin Drill

Backstroke Spin Drill is one of the most FUN drills in swimming because it lets you do all the things you’re not supposed to do, and lets you do them in a BIG way. No splash? You want to be covered in spray when you do this drill. Stay hidden and balanced? Fugettaboutit. Look up? Rotate your hips? Soft, clean hand entry? No way! No time!

Backstroke – Double Arm

Do you over-reach on your backstroke? Having a hard time keeping your hips up? Wondering how your hands should exit to initiate the recovery? Want to get the feeling of where you start your pull? Want to get a bonus effect of practicing your breaststroke underwater pull? This drill is for YOU!

Backstroke – Steady Kick

Most backstroke drills focus on the upper part of the body — on things such as hips, rotation, hand entry, pull, catch, and head position. This drill, however, shines a spotlight on the lower part of the body – the legs, feet, and kick.

Backstroke – “Topher” Drill

Young swimmers have a HUGE tendency to pull with a very straight arm in backstroke. A great drill for correcting this is the old pull-on-the-lane-line drill, but that creates its own problems. Here’s a fun way to correct a straight-arm pull that pretty much goes against EVERYTHING we know about teaching backstroke.

Backstroke – Green-Bottle Balance

Here’s a simple balance drill that helps to stabilize your head for backstroke. You could use a half-filled water bottle or cup, but since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, green is the way to go.

Playing with Backstroke Hand Entry

Why Do It:
Playing with Backstroke Hand Entry can help you correct or avoid one of the most common stroke errors in backstroke: over-reaching.

Backstroke – Thumb Backstroke

Swimmers seem to have a gene that makes them search for the style of swimming that feels the most productive. Because of this, they frequently put themselves into positions that aren’t necessarily productive.

Backstroke – Timing Your Turns

Here’s a fun, safe way to begin building great backstroke turns. First of all, having a “system” for doing anything in athletics is very important. The typical hit-and-miss, or trial-and-error method of training or teaching has gone by the wayside with the term “dumb jock.”

Backstroke – Wave Drill

Backstroke is one of the first strokes a swimmer learns. They get the hang of it in the earliest levels of Red Cross lessons, and then move on to the other strokes. Unfortunately, many swimmers never take their backstroke beyond the kind of flat-on-your-back, windmilling style they learned as a kid. Here’s a drill that helps teach some of the finer points of timing and rotation.

Backstroke – Quick Draw

When I was a kid I used to watch reruns of TV westerns. My favorites were Gene Autry the singing cowboy and Roy Rogers, king of the cowboys. At the climax of almost every show there was the inevitable shootout between the good guys (white hats) and bad guys (black hats). The good guys were always quick on the draw, and could shoot the bad guy down from their hip. I realized at a young age that being quick on the draw is more than just having quick hands. It starts with the shoulder. All backstrokers can learn a thing or two from these gunslingers.

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.


I know’I know. Your first thought when you see this drill will be, ‘But what about rotation?’ While it’s true that rotation is very important in backstroke, it’s not the ONLY thing that’s important, and sometimes you have to be creative in your drills in order to work on those other things. So relax and give this one a chance. It’s simple and effective.


Finishing your stroke on backstroke requires some thought. What sometimes feels like the most natural motion, isn’t really the best way to perform an action.


catch and the rotation are two KEY components of backstroke. Neither is instinctive, however, and that can make them difficult too attain for most swimmers.

Backstroke – Pull on the Lane Line

Here’s a drill that might make your coach really, really, REALLY upset. It could even get you thrown out of practice, so you might want to do this drill on your own or let Coach know what you’re doing.

Backstroke – Shoulder Pop

Just about every swim coach advises swimmers to rotate their shoulders out of the water during backstroke. This, in combination with a deep catch, will give you a more effective backstroke. How can you isolate and practice this movement? The Shoulder Pop.