I can hear the collective groan from here, lol!
Fear not. Follow these helpful tips to improve your kicking technique.
First, let’s see if we can determine where your kick originates from. Are you bending your knee or kicking with a straight leg? Which is correct? Neither!
The correct answer is the knee should remain relaxed, not locked straight or with an excessive bend.
Many swimmers struggle with kicking because they simply have too much bend in their knee. This type of kicking creates significant drag and huge amounts of oxygen to feed your overworked quadriceps. This alone may be the reason your swim training has you gasping for air and reaching for your trusty pull buoy.
To correct on overly bent knee, try this simple yet effective drill: kick half a length and then swim half a length. Perform a stellar streamline off the wall and kick with your glutes engaged by imagining you’re trying to hold a quarter between them (yes, it’s crude but effective). This will activate your hips to be the prime movers in the kicking motion. Keep your knees relaxed and imagine your legs are long as you kick.
At the half length mark begin swimming freestyle. As you swim, focus on a gentle kick, feet slightly turned in, and your big toes gently tapping each other.
It is important to resist the urge to over-kick. Some of the best swimmers in the world only generate 10-15% of their propulsion from their kick. With this in mind imagine swimming with just enough kick to maintain good overall body position in the water.
PS: Many of you sent emails last week congratulating me on my Level 4 USMS coaching certification. I really appreciate your support and encouragement, thank you.