Backstroke Swimming Drills – Slide and Glide Backstroke

The Slide and Glide swimming drills described below are the last ones in our series of drills to learn to swim backstroke. Now, at last, you’ll practice simultaneous arm stroke movements with both arms.

Slide and Glide Swimming Drill

Here’s a video that demonstrates the first drill, Slide and Glide:

Video ThumbnailSlide and Glide is a drill to learn to swim backstroke where you swim regular backstroke but observe a short pause after each arm stroke.

You use the whole-stroke backstroke movements in the Slide and Glide drill. However, you add a short pause after each active arm phase. To get started do the following:

  • Go to the shallow area of the pool.
  • Lean on your back.
  • Start to flutter kick.
  • Get into a horizontal position.
  • Extend one arm in front of you, keep the other arm at your side.
  • Make sure you are balanced in this position.

Now simultaneously execute a half arm stroke cycle with both arms:

  • The arm extended in front of you executes the propulsive phase underwater you practiced in Under Water Arm Sweeps.
  • The arm at your side executes the recovery above water you practiced in Single-Arm Backstroke.
  • When the arms have exchanged their respective positions, observe a pause for a few flutter kicks.
  • After a few flutter kicks (for example three kicks on each side), execute a half arm stroke cycle again. Both arms are back to their initial position.
  • Continue to practice the simultaneous arm motions for several lengths.

Swimming Tips

  • Keep the head as still and possible, avoid that it rolls from side to side.
  • You should look straight up at the ceiling. The chin should neither be extended nor tucked in.
  • The rest of the body should roll from side to side as the arms exchange their roles. The angle of the roll should be somewhere between 30° and 45°.
  • Both arm motions should start and stop simultaneously.
  • Take advantage of the short pause between each half arm cycle to rehearse the correct arm motions and to regain your balance.

Triple Slide and Glide

The next drill to learn to swim the backstroke is a variation of the simple Slide and Glide swimming drill. However now you execute three complete arm cycles before observing a pause for a few kicks. This allows you to practice whole-stroke real backstroke in short bursts.

Video ThumbnailTriple slide and Glide is a drill to learn to swim backstroke where you swim regular backstroke but observe a short pause after each third arm stroke.

Focus mainly on the body roll from side to side to increase the swimming stroke’s power.

Finally Swimming Backstroke

Finally, once you have mastered all the backstroke drills, try to swim backstroke for a few lengths. This shouldn’t be too difficult if you have followed our progression of backstroke swimming drills.

Video ThumbnailA swimmer swimming backstroke in a relaxed way. Above water point of view and under water point of view are included in the video.


Congratulations! You are now a backstroke swimmer! Enjoy your new swimming abilities! And why not try to tackle another swimming stroke?

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