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How To Do The Backstroke

This concise tutorial will show you how to do the backstroke in the easiest and most effective way possible. The backstroke is a great position for beginners to learn and is a great tool for success in swimming. If you can adapt this position in a swift manner whilst you are swimming, it will be highly beneficial for you.

This position is known formally as the elementary backstroke and is best when you would like to swim for longer periods of time.


  • Float on your back and spread your knees apart – no further than your hip width. Drop your heels and bend you knees so that they are just below the surface. Turn your feet so your toes are pointing out and ankles are fully flexed upwards – this is known as the catch position

  • Now move your feet and lower legs in a whipping motion so you are tracing an oval shape. Your feet should be moving outwards, beyond your knees and act like paddles to push water behind you. Now kick with your legs ending straight with feet touching. This is known as the power phase.

  • As you come to rest, your toes should be pointed and should be just below the water’s surface. Drop your heels down to begin the recovery phase.

Arm stroke:

  • Start with your back in the glide position and keep your legs straight with toes pointed and arms at your sides with hands on your thighs.

  • Slowly move your hands up the center of your chest or up the sides of your body with elbows tucked in until your hands reach the shoulders.

  • Without pausing, straighten out your arms with your palms facing the feet; bend your elbows and sweep your arms towards your feet so you are pushing the water backwards

  • Recover your arms by bringing the hands back up towards your shoulders

Breathing and Coordination

  • In this position, you will find the arms and legs provide power simultaneously.

  • The kick will consume less time than the arms because the legs move a shorter distance than the arms, plus the fact that they are stronger

  • Therefore, you should begin the recovery of the arms before the legs

  • You should strive to make your movements continuous with practice

  • Remember, don’t be in a hurry as this is a resting stroke!

Our tutors at Ducks2Sharks are experienced in teaching various swim methods and will help you progress to the level you want, whether you are a beginner or intermediate!

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