Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting Your Freestyle Kick Right

Do you feel like your kick is not really helping you? Maybe even makes you go backwards? Mastering the freestyle kick in a way that is efficient, simple, and moves you straight forward can be difficult for some people. Yes, I am talking about all of you runners out there with really stiff ankles!!! Here is an easy, simple, and pretty fast way to get ‘the idea’ as far as your kick is concerned...

You need a pool with deep water, or be in a body of water where you are not able to stand. Get into a vertical position, feet towards the bottom and start kicking. Now, try to raise JUST your hands out of the water, no farther than your wrists.

If you don't have deep water, hold a kickboard between your thighs (you are going to have to SQUEEZE!) and swim normally. Try to kick normally as well.

Does your kick speed up? Get MUCH smaller as in your knees don't travel apart as much and/or bend?? This is what your swim kick should be like too!! You should also notice that while vertical kicking it is much more difficult to only kick in a forward motion, you are forced to kick backwards with each kick as well, thus evening out your kick. Minimize any bend in the knee that mimics running because if you do 'run' in the water you are raising your foot behind you and causing drag!! (which equals that brake effect!) *Think of the kick swinging like a pendulum at the bottom of your legs evenly to the front and to the back.

TIP: While vertical kicking, make sure you are upright, you may start to feel yourself lean forward. Make sure your shoulders are in line with your hips, are in line with knees and the furiously kicking ankles are underneath your body. Have Fun!

Written by Kim Lorton
Swimming instructor, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

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