Swimisodes – Dolphin Kick Backstroke

Dolphin kick backstroke is one of the best ways to learn how to develop a fast stroke rate. Many swimmers struggle in getting their arms through the stroke cycle fast enough in backstroke. It is difficult to know how to maintain that high stroke rate throughout a race if it is not practiced so we like to use the dolphin kick backstroke drill to learn how to maintain a high stroke rate. Synchronizing each kick with a single arm pull, Junya shows us how this technique enables a swimmer to pull faster and increase the overall speed of the backstroke. In this Race Club #swimisodes, you will see how Junya still manages to rotate his body quickly from side to side while pulling at this higher stroke rate, gaining power and speed.

There are only two stroke rates for backstroke, fast and faster. Dolphin kick backstroke drill is a wonderful technique to develop a faster stroke rate. Swimmers who cannot find a way to turn their arms over quickly might discover a faster way to swim with dolphin kick backstroke. Introduce fins using this technique while synchronizing the arms and suddenly the swimmer is backstroking on the freeway, motoring down the pool. At the Race Club, we have found this technique to be very effective in improving backstroke among swimmers who come to us of all ages and abilities.

12 Responses to Swimisodes – Dolphin Kick Backstroke

  1. John Leonard

    Gary, this is BRILLIANT! Spectacular video also! Thank you! John Leonard

  2. Denise Sturman

    I can’t wait to try this drill – we were just working the Spin Drill last night – kicking backstroke with fins and swimming with head up. Of course this tired the swimmers quickly and gave them sore shoulders so we alternated a bit. My quick question as I watch this drill – We often have swimmers who “bounce” their way down the lane in backstroke. It makes me hesitant to try this drill with them – Do you have any additional helpful “verbal” cues to counter this? Your swimmer was exceptionally smooth. Thanks for such a great website and tools for coaches! Denise Sturman

  3. Tammy

    Great video! Would you do this with age group (12unders)swimmers?

    • Gary Hall Sr.

      absolutely! They love this drill…may be easier to teach them this drill than older swimmers.

  4. Gary Hall Sr.

    If the head moves too much, try having the swimmer swim 25 meters of backstroke with a half filled styrofoam cup resting on their forehead (not dolphin drill). This is the best drill to convince them that they can really swim backstroke with their head still. They love the challenge of this drill.

  5. Pete Burmaster

    Would you get a similar effect on the freestyle?

  6. Pete Burmaster

    Nevermind found your video which answered my comment. https://youtu.be/Ea3o69MDd0k

  7. Keith Rennolls

    As always, insightful.
    My swimmer has difficulty keeping his head above water in the reverse dolphin kick with arms streamlined.
    This reverse dolphin with backstroke
    will presumably allow him to practice the reverse dolphin kick, while also increasing his arm syroke rate.
    We have termed the very fast stroke rate as “nitro”. Harry says he can only manage about 10m of nitro before he is burnt out.

    • Gary Hall Sr.

      Yes…we usually only do this drill for 25 meters or so, as it is tough to sustain.

  8. Al

    How fast should one be kicking here? I tried to do this drill today but found that I had to slow down my kick tempo from what it normally is because my arms just couldn’t keep up otherwise. Is this just a sign that my arms are too slow (and/or too weak)? Or am I supposed to not be kicking too fast?

    • garyhallsr

      Start by using fins with this drill, as it will slow the kicking stroke rate down some and provide more propulsion. I also like to keep thinking about getting my hands back over my head, so there are no hesitations during the pulling cycle. It is a little harder to synchronize than the same drill in freestyle, but once you get the hang of it, it works.

  9. geeme

    Dolphin kick freestyle is great – I nailed that rhythm the first time. Dolphin kick backstroke? Do they also call it “accidental drowning” ??? I am sure I will eventually get it, but I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard at myself in a long time!

    Thanks much for the videos – so helpful!


Add a Comment