Reply To: Backstroke start

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Not sure if this is any help specifically, a lot is based on the individual, but here are a couple things we try to incorporate:

1. Hips should be away from the heels, maybe this is oversimplifying, but I wouldn’t ask for someone to give me a max vertical jump by putting their hips on their heels. The hips should be at a distance that is comfortable for the athlete, I try to think athletic stance then turn them sideways onto the wall. I also think staggering the feet a bit helps with slipping on the wall.

2. Head position again should be comfortable for the athlete. I like it as far back as possible while still maintaining good contact with the wall, any movement of the head towards the block is movement that must be reversed at the start, slowing them down, I compare this to doing a stand-up start and leaning back, weight should be forward and vice-versa on a backstroke start.

3. Hips compared to water level all depend on the strength of your athlete, how well she can maintain good contact on the wall and her ability to enter cleanly. I think if you can get your hips all the way out while still maintaining a good enough grip to explode is ideal, but I find most of my athletes are putting the hips right at the water line. Again, we want as much of their force to be going outward as possible and limiting the upward force needed to clear the water with the hips.

4. After all that it’s about entering cleanly with a good angle, which is the hardest part 🙂

Probably not super helpful, but those are some key points I personally like. All that being said, I will freely admit I am not a backstroke start ‘guru’ I probably rank as ‘satisfactory’ when coaching backstroke starts 🙂