If we asked you: do you know how to kick? Chances are you would answer with a laugh: “of course!” Who doesn’t? You just need to move your legs up and down really fast. Let’s assume we jumped in the pool now and had a look at your kicking. How many of you would admit you’re not moving very fast? How many would agree that that little try was exhausting?
If you agree with these statements, you could benefit from swimming lessons. At Marsden Swim School, we could help your kicking become more efficient to make your swimming time so much more enjoyable!
After you have mastered the flotation and the horizontal balance in the water, here comes now the pleasure of moving through the water, and nothing helps better than the kicking. We believe that it is the quality and power of the kick that separates the great swimmers from the not-so-great ones, more than anything else. But first remember that no matter how big your feet are, how strong your kick becomes, how much flexible your ankles are, or how endurant your legs muscles are, becoming a great kicker is a longer-term project.
The perfect kicking has so much to it because it’s not just for propulsion!
Kicking serves four functions in swimming:
- Provides propulsion (laws of motion). You can improve the propulsion by increasing the frequency of your kicking and the flexibility of your ankles.
- Provides lift (reduce frontal drag). You can improve your streamline by tightening your legs while performing a smaller kick.
- Acts as part of the stabilizing force for your pull (increase distance per stroke). You can improve it by tightening your core and kicking from the hips.
- Sustains a more constant speed (obey the law of inertia). You must always have a consistent kicking with the same rhythm, which provides you with a helpful momentum.
As you can see, all these aspects of the kicking have an effect on its efficiency, and it will require lots of practice and the attention for details eye of an experienced swimming teacher to help you improve it.
Now you must wonder how you can improve my kicking?
When it comes to practicing the legs, we often use the old school way of holding the board hands on top and having a nice social chat with our fellow swimming friends while practicing laps of kicking. Still, there is no better way than to do it specifically, and that means being in streamline! Change your habits of always assuming kicking must be practiced head out of the water and hands on a board.
Start practicing in streamline:
- working on your position to limit the drag
- working on holding a tight core to allow the transfer of energy from the lower body to the upper body
- enjoying the higher speed and saving of energy allowed by a more streamlined position
The flexibility of the ankles is also a very important part of the kicking. It allows the foot to move in a motion similar to the way fishes move their tail in the water. Here are a few exercises that you may want to use on a regular basis in order to improve your ankle mobility:
Whether you are a beginner aiming for swimming 50m without stopping or a triathlete willing to finish the swim with less effort, which could be used later on the bike and run or a great swimmer looking at a way to improve your speed in racing. Always work your legs hard, devote every fifth of your practice to pure leg workout, and adapt your kicking pattern to your goal (2 beat kick for balancing, long-distance swims, and six-beat kick for speed and a tighter core). Getting your legs in really good shape will pay big dividends in your swimming.
Knowing all this, you just need to enjoy yourself in the pool, keeping those tips in mind and you will surely soon master the art of kicking!
Contact us and learn more at Marsden Swim School!