Watching the kings and queens of backstroke at the 2016 Olympic Games gave me so much motivation to improve upon this stroke, even though I only swim it as part of an IM. One of the key features stars such as American Ryan Murphy and Hungarian Katinka Hosszu maintain throughout an entire 100 or 200 is head and overall body position.
The elite swimmers ride so high on the water, with their bodies gliding on the surface with nothing sinking beneath. Their bodies rotate side-to-side, but their heads remain totally steady, as if they could hold a cup still on their foreheads.
Enter today's drill. At practice this morning, swimmers placed a simple cup on his/her forehead and proceeded to swim moderate backstroke. It's not actually that tricky to accomplish, but it is extremely eye-opening when realizing how still your head really needs to remain in order for the cup to not fall off.
The other drill we worked on this morning was partner pushing. Not only is it a good leg workout for the swimmer engaging in the kicking, but it is an extremely valuable exercise in body position for the streamlined swimmer. If the non-kicking swimmer's body folds, collapses, or becomes bulky through the water, the kicker all of a sudden feels a great deal more resistance. You'll most likely hear about it if your teammate's effort has to increase just because you get lazy in your body position. :)
Try these out the next time you're in the pool to help improve just a couple elements of your own backstroke.