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Quick Fix- Kicking

The Problem

Poor kicking is often a skill problem.

Kicking is a very counter-intuitive movement.

The more work you’ve done on land, the more work you’ve done to ingrain a movement pattern for the lower body that differs from what you’ll do in the water.

When most people think ‘kick’, they think ‘knee’.

Unfortunately, good kicking in the water starts at the hip.

Rather than trying to ‘think’ about how to kick better, we’re going to flip the script so that you can feel it.

The Solution

Vertical kicking works wonders.

Vertical kicking is effective because it takes advantage of a change in environment to promote a change in skill.

When you watch the video, notice how the athlete switches from a ‘knee-driven’ to a ‘hip-driven’ action about halfway through.

That’s what you’re aiming for.

What you want to FEEL is that you’re kicking with ‘straight legs’, or like you have a pair of stilts on.

That’s not what you’re going to actually do, but that’s what it will feel like.

Now, with an understanding of HOW you should be kicking, let’s try this-

Kick on your back with fins.

The goal is to keep your knees underwater.

This will reinforce the straighter kick that’s coming from the hips.

Once you understand WHAT to do, start training it.

You can train vertical kicking by going hard for longer periods of time.

You can train kicking on your back and you can train on a kickboard.

Whenever you kick, think QUALITY over QUANTITY.

Kicking responds to effort not duration.

Burn those legs up!

I hope that helps.

*Note- if your ankles are unbelievably stiff, take some time to work on stretching them out. Any ankle mobility exercise you find on the internet will suffice. HOWEVER, be VERY patient to avoid injuring yourself.

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you take your swimming to the next level:

1. If you’re looking for do-it-yourself solutions to improve your swimming, check out my resources Freestyle Made Simple and Addressing Adult-Onset Swimming.

2. If you want a more personalized learning experience, we can work together to analyze your stroke or develop a technical training plan.

Exit the Water…


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