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Eggbeater Kick Treading Water For Beginners: How to Teach it

A Request On How To Teach The Eggbeater Kick Treading Water For Beginners

I have had a request for an article on how to teach the eggbeater kick treading water for beginners. I fully understand this request as it is one of the hardest things to teach. Not the treading of water but the eggbeater kick. It is a bit like the circular rubbing of your belly and patting your head at the same time.

Given the above and the fact that you don't need to be able to do the eggbeater kick in order to tread water. A swimmer can tread water perfectly well without the eggbeater kick using practically any other kick (see below). Unless you are teaching it just for fun, it only makes sense to teach the eggbeater kick after the student knows how to tread water. After all, treading water is about staying safe in the water but the eggbeater kick has specialist applications and most swimmers will never need it.

Image of a swimmer vertical in the water rotating his legs one clockwise and the other anticlockwise (the eggbeater kick) whilst moving his arms back and forward lifting himself high in the water
Eggbeater Kick

First Teach Treading Water For Beginners Thus

With the body in an upright position, use one of the following leg actions to teach treading water:
  • breaststroke leg action
  • a flutter kick (as when swimming front crawl)
  • a scissor kick
  • a cycling action
Keep the arms below the surface of the water and use a relaxed sculling action to assist.

The eggbeater kick is confusing enough without having to teach treading water as well.

As the teacher, you should know which of these leg actions to see which you prefer before you try to teach others. You should then give the student the option to choose which leg actions to see which they prefer by getting them to practise each of the leg actions to see which you prefer whilst they are learning to tread water.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

Eggbeater Kick

This is a useful technique when a powerful treading water action is required. When performed well, it is the most efficient kick for treading water. The eggbeater kick can lift the body high in the water. This is very useful for deepwater resuscitation with a buoyancy aid as well as in water sports such as water polo and synchronised swimming.

How To Teach Eggbeater Kick

The student should:
  1. Sit in the water with their back straight, their knees spread apart and their thighs almost parallel to the surface of the water

  2. Drive each leg alternately in a circular pattern from outside of the body towards the midline of the body with rotation at the knees

  3. As one leg drives the other leg recovers
  4. This is important because the leg is driving down to propel and lifting up as it recovers. The knees are designed to change direction, not create propulsion. the hips do the driving, not the knees.

  5. In order to travel, the leg and body positions are altered slightly resulting in a kind of circular rocking/rotation action, to allow the feet to drive downward in a direction opposite to the line of travel

  6. The propulsion is provided from the inside of the foot and lower leg
Note: it is important to remember that the power for the propulsion for this kick comes from the hips and not the knees. Trying to drive this kick from the knees could result in a knee injury. The knees are only used to change the direction of the kick. If the student feels any discomfort in the knee area they should stop immediately and try to fix what they are doing wrong.

How To Practices The Eggbeater Kick

The following learning activities can be used to develop the eggbeater kick:
  • Practise the breaststroke kick on the front with the head up and hands behind the back or extended in front of the head

  • Tread water using a breaststroke kick and move the arms from side to sidekick hard on the power phase of the kick

  • Sitting on a bench or chair, try the alternate kicking action

  • From the edge of the pool do the alternate kicking action using the edge for support

  • Move away from the side using a hand sculling action or kickboards for support, then try alternating the kick slowly and easily, adding speed as the side-to-side wiggle is overcome. If the rhythm is lost and one leg starts to catch up with the other, stop and start again

As The Eggbeater Kick Gets Stronger

As the kick gets stronger, the use of hands should be stopped and the body should be gradually moving higher in the water. Thus the hands would no longer look like they do in the picture above.
For example:
  • Keep the hands dry
  • Keep shoulders dry
  • Keep shoulders and arms dry
  • Extend arms overhead
I cannot overemphasise this is a great fun kick to teach and if you have an application for it is even better but if you don't need it, it is only fun so don't get injured over it. Even if you do need it there is no point in getting injured over it. So practice it slowly. As I say to my Judo students "get it Right don't get it fast".


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