Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Talking Backstroke Continued….Lets look at the START POSITIONS

Basic Backstroke Start

The key to a powerful, explosive backstroke start is getting a good grip on the wall. USA Swimming has recently passed a rule that should help you and make it a bit easier, by allowing you to have your feet above the water line


Feet above the water line – However you may not stand in the gutter or bend your toes over the lip of the gutter


Even though the old rule kept your feet under the water, you could still develop a solid foundation by focusing on how to position your feet. As with all starts you must stay focused. Stay compressed and be ready to explode in the proper direction.


In this start it may be better to place one foot higher that the other, as in the track start. This is useful if the walls are slick. It’s usually better and safer to go for a good grip than for quickness or distance or height. While you may end up dragging the lower leg through the water a bit more, this is better than slipping down the wall and wind up going nowhere.

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To set up for the start you can either grab the block or the side of the pool. The decision depends on your age, height,strength, and flexibility. Grabbing the block is the ideal way to start, however for younger swimmers I find it places too much stress on the arms and shoulders, and the gutter serves them better. In either case stay comfortable while waiting to hear the command “Take Your Mark”

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When you move to the starting position, try not to lift yourself out of the water. Instead, try to draw yourself toward the wall, focus on the pressure on your feet. Remember, the goal is a strong start that sends you back not up!. No matter whether you grip the block or the gutter, you should roll your head forward as you take your mark. Your head is usually the first thing to move backward when the starter hits the beep. By rolling the head forward, you coil your body and prepare to explode all of your energy and movement.

” If you fail to prepare,

you prepare to fail”

October 23, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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