Swimming Technique Kicking - Low, Slow, Intermittent or Not To

Swimming Technique Kicking: What's The Best

I get so many swimming students that are struggling with their stroke all because they do not, will not or just do not know that they are not kicking properly. So when it comes to Swimming Technique Kicking, how do you fix it.

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Not kicking, low kicking, slow or intermittent kicking are all very common problems that seriously affect the swimmers movement in the water, not just their freestyle breathing.

Fixing the problem is simple if the swimmer already has a reasonable stroke. If there is not a reasonable stroke then the problem is still easily fixed it just takes a lot more time and practice.

If the student has a reasonable stroke and if you are assessing yourself you need to ask someone to look at your stroke an tell you what they think, then all you have to do is tell the student to count the strokes with their feet. Sounds confusing I know but with a little more explanation  it is really quite simple.

Image of forward kicking feet: This article is about Swimming Technique Kicking
Swimming Technique Kicking

Every Time You Kick

Every time you kick with, say your right foot that is one stroke. It really doesn't matter which foot just as long as you only count with one foot.

I tell my swimmers not to think about what their arms are doing. Just concentrate on counting every time your right foot kicks. Thus the first time your right foot kicks is 1 the next time is 2 and the next time is 3 then the next time is 1. That's right you only count up to three.

Doing Bilateral breathing

If you are doing bilateral breathing (that's breathing on both sides) you take a breath on every third stroke. That's 1, 2, breathe, 1, 2, breathe, 1, 2, breathe. Hence you only count up to 3 when you kick.

Of course if you are only breathing on every second stroke then you would only count up to 2.

It's A Bit Tricky Really

The whole exercise is a bit of a trick really. If the swimmer has a reasonable stroke then they should not need to concentrate on their arms. If they don't have a strong kick that is what they need to concentrate on. All this drill does is provide the means to allow that concentration.

The drill works quite well for advanced swimmers as well. The only difference being that you would change the count or speed or both.

If a student does not have a reasonable stroke the kicking problem is easily solved by giving them a kick board and getting the to do copious amounts of kicking up and down the pool.

Boring But Effective

It is kind of boring but it is effective. However it may pay to break the drill up into small sessions and give them other flotation devises such as noodles, pool boys etc. just to break the monotony.

One of the faults that is very common in freestyle is looking forward or worse, taking a second breath forward before putting your head back in the water after a breath. I'll look at that next time.


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