Learn how to train your body to do effective underwater kicking in a backstroke race.
Some swimmers find it particularly scary to have to forcibly hold their breath whilst underwater; this can be overcome by frequently exposing them to sets that require them to confront this fear.
Most backstrokers can stay underwater and kick fast for the start and 10m of the first turn, followed by a significant drop in the performance of this skill for the remainder of the race. The reason for this phenomenon is that the swimmer has not been subjected to the specific training necessary to create the ability to stay under the water and kick fast and far whilst under considerable stress.
The fact that this quality has to be trained for should not let us forget that holding ones breath underwater is a potentially dangerous activity and as such, should be carried out with careful planning and the utmost vigilance by the coach.
The training stimulus or stress should be built up over weeks, months and years allowing the swimmer to soundly adapt to the process. It takes many years of training to get to the levels of capability we now observe in the top senior swimmers.
Photo courtesy swimmingscience.net