Backstroke Kick Drills

In order to help isolate the kick, so you can concentrate on technique and on working specific muscle groups, we have listed some simple drills to help below:

1. Arms at sides.
  Lay on your back and drop hips slightly.  Emphasis should be on kicking up with stretched leg leading up with the toes.  A slight crossover of the feet should occur in the action. Water should boil rather than splash.  Try to keep knees under the water.

2. Arms streamlined.  Lay on back and extend arms behind the head with thumbs locked or arms straight and crossed, with hands clasped.  A good streamlined position is what is needed.  This drill helps to give the swimmer a good body position in the water and it also helps improve flexibility in the shoulders, which is so vital for backstrokers.

3. Arms out of water.  Lay on back and perform a normal backstroke kick but with arms bent so the forearms come out of the water at 90 degrees.  This can also be done with the arms totally out of the water at 45 degrees.  Arm positions can be varied as the drill is performed.  This is a good drill for leg strengthening because the more arm that extends out of the water, the harder you have to kick to keep your body afloat.

4. Knees down.  Lay on your back and hold the kickboard out in front of you so it is floating above where your knees should be kicking. Perform your backstroke kick. When the knees hit the board during the kick, you can tell that the technique is off.  Practicing this drill helps train you to keep those knees straighter and in the water.

5. Head-up. This drill is done as normal kick but with the head lifted as the kick is performed to watch that only the toes are breaking the surface of the water--not the knees. The head being lifted out of the water also causes you to kick a little bit harder to stay afloat.

6. Turning kick. This kick can be done with arms at the side or in streamlined position.  We recommend streamlining because it gets the body in the best position and helps you to develop control during your streamline when needed.  Begin this kick on your back.  Kick 12 kicks (or however many floats your boat) in normal position, then turn 90 degrees to the left to kick on the side for 12 kicks.  Return to your back and do another set of kicks. Then turn to the right for another 12 kicks. This one is simple yet helpful since much of the real backstroke kick is done on the sides.

Try to concentrate on technique when doing all drills—that is really what they are for. These kick drills can be done with or without fins.