Watching swimmers who demonstrate a powerful kick can be such an inspiration, especially for beginners like you. They exhibit a very fluid, powerful, and effortless performance, the very reason why you should train and practice your freestyle kick. Whether you are a sprinter or a distance swimmer, a powerful freestyle kick is very important for fast swimming.
In this post, we will be discussing our tips on freestyle kick to help you swim faster. As this guide will help promote improvement in your body position and an adequate measure of propulsion, we do hope that it can also help you maintain your speed in between strokes. Keep reading if you want to know more.
Why Working on Your Freestyle Kick is Essential
Doing freestyle kicks when swimming goes beyond just giving your shoulders a rest. It is also very easy to comprehend why we sometimes forget the legs, as they work autonomously down below. It could also be because we only pay attention to what is happening in front of us, especially with our hands and arms. Having a solid freestyle kick will certainly help you become a better swimmer and here’s why:
It provides you added propulsion
The ultimate goal of mastering your freestyle kick is because you want to go a lot faster. The faster you are able to kick, the faster you are able to swim. It’s as basic as that.
It gives you the perfect body position in the water
For sprinters, kicking helps them to maintain a high body position. While the goal of being complete hydro-planing could still be a farfetched idea, you may think that this is the goal.
It helps you launch into an arm pull
A strong freestyle kick can help you launch into an arm pull. The reason is that a strong kick, paired with strong legs, effectively add power to hip rotation. This, in turn, will be able to help you drive your arms into a forward position, which is the gateway for a more dynamic and faster arm pull.
It helps you keep your strokes together
You would notice that keeping your legs strong come in handy, especially towards the end of your races – specifically when your muscles start to fail and your strokes disintegrating as each meter passes by. If you have the endurance in your lower extremities, it would be of great benefit because it keeps your body position powerful, and at the same time, efficient.
Tips on Freestyle Kick to Help You Swim Faster
To help you swim faster, we will be going over three small details that can certainly make a big difference – tempo, transition, and form, which will determine how fast you can move. To perform a very effective freestyle kick, you are required to have amazing ankle flexibility. The more flexible your ankles are, the less drag you are likely to create.
You may notice from more experienced swimmers that they don’t move their ankles a lot while keeping their knees a little bent when going down and their knees straight when going up. To be able to do this technique, you should be able to relax your hamstring and activate your quads well. When your leg is going up, you may need to activate your hamstrings and calves after you have learned the trick.
When freestyle kicking, you also need to perfect the tempo of your kick. This can vary depending on the distance you are swimming. However, the most common tempo is six kicks every two strokes. It could also be three kicks with one leg while your one arm does one stroke cycle. If you notice, the timing of the kick is of great importance, mainly because of the rotation and the movement of your muscles in your core.
It would also be better if your right leg goes down while your left arm enters the water. While it is gliding, you can do another kick and use that momentum to be able to start when your leg goes down again. When you swim freestyle, the most effective thing that you can do after turning is to do several butterfly or dolphin underwater kicks.
In case you don’t know, this effectively carries the speed of your push. However, it is also noteworthy that the problem most swimmers have is that they lose the speed, especially in the transition from underwater kicks to freestyle kicks. The first few freestyle kicks are also very important. They need to be fast and they need to start right before the arms start moving.
What You Need to Improve to Perfect Your Freestyle Kick
While most swimmers don’t have the most stable ankles, they still spend a majority of their training time in the water, in which they build up their ankle strength by skipping into their mobility and warm up plan. To add, skipping rope has also been proven to be a low-key way to quickly develop ankle strength, as well as improve a swimmer’s overall athleticism.
Having a flexible ankle when freestyle kicking would mean that you will be able to catch more water using your foot, as well as achieve an early vertical ankle, which allows you to push a lot more water backward. However, it should be noted that for swimmers with limited ankle mobility, it would require them mobilization work such as ankle rockers and ankle rotations.
When you are doing freestyle kick sets, you should certainly be mindful of your leg, hip, and ankles’ movements. Kicking mindlessly sure is fun, especially for aerobic endurance. However, if you want to be as efficient as possible, you are going to be very mindful of your freestyle kicking techniques.
Avoid kicking down and start to kick backward
When freestyle kicking, we definitely want to start kicking the water backward instead of kicking the water downwards. This trick would require ankle flexibility. Otherwise, you will only bend your knee to a 90-degree angle just to be able to push the water backward, using the top of your feet.
Improving your freestyle kick is no longer a mystery. It is also not only reserved to top athletes when it comes to swimming. With this guide, we hope that you will also be able to improve your kick. All you need is your consistent and focused effort to master these techniques. Hopefully, we are of great assistance in helping you improve not only your kick but also your speed.