How to do the backstroke. To have a successful backstroke, just like in freestyle, it's important to start off in a nice, tight streamlined position, do about between six and ten kicks in a streamlined position underwater, and then break into your backstroke. In the backstroke, just like in freestyle, our body rotates from side to side, about 45 degrees to one side, 45 degrees to the other side. In backstroke, the thumb comes out of the water first, hand rotates, and the pinky enters the water.
What's nice about the backstroke is that we don't have to breathe; your head is constantly outside the water, breathing. So, your main goal with your head is keeping your head position in a straight line, as your legs are doing the front crawl and your arms are pulling, one arm, then, the other arm.
A good way to know if you're swimming straight, doing the backstroke, is to have some sort of target that you can follow. If you're swimming at an indoor pool, you can fool a straight line, and you will have an orientation point knowing that you're swimming in a straight line. Another way to make sure that you're swimming in a straight line is by looking out of the corner of your eyes to your side, to see that you're swimming equal distances away from the lane line markers. That's how we do the backstroke.