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-   -   How to practise a good kick? (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=142)

Willem 12-26-2008 11:05 PM

How to practise a good kick?
 
Okay folks,

my kick is very poor and this causes a lot of other problems too! In the TI philosophy a kick board is a banned tool!

So how can I practise on developing a good kick?!?

Are there excercises which isolate 'the kicking technique'?

daveblt 12-27-2008 03:36 AM

A poor kick can come from poor ankle flexibility or not being able to coordinate it correctly such as kicking from the knee.Slipping on a pair of fins can help you learn to get the feeling of a proper flutter kick under control.First try vertical kicking in the deep end of the pool while holding a kickboard and once you get the feeling then try it in Sweet spot and skating positions.The more you can relax into the water to feel the water carry you and balance without struggle so your hips feel free to move the easier the kick will come .The legs should bend only a little on the upbeat and should feel as if originates in your core and not from the knee down.


Dave

Willem 12-27-2008 10:07 PM

Getting better ankle flexibility will take years I think.
When I practise with fins my kick feels a lot better, but as soon as I remove them, my legs sink and I my kick isn't good enough to keep my balance, however I keep my head straight down and my leading arm quite steep for my balance. So I suppose my weak kick is the main problem.

Rhoda 12-28-2008 12:03 AM

First, make sure you are kicking up - using the hamstrings and gluteal muscles - as well as down. Then, make sure you aren't kicking too much, as a really wide splayed-out kick creates a lot of drag. Finally, make sure you are kicking from the hip, with the rest of your leg loose and relaxed.
If your balance is good you really don't have to do much kicking at all. Using the kick to bring the hips up burns up a lot of energy and doesn't really do much for forward momentum. Work a lot on the Superman glide from a wall or standing pushoff. Focus on getting a lot of distance out of each glide, with just a little light kicking.

AWP 12-28-2008 04:51 AM

Hi Willem,

Some really good suggestions especially vertical kicking and Superman glide.
If you are swimming whole stroke predominantly maybe do some lengths of 'no kick' swimming. That is just focus on keeping your legs quiet allowing them to move with your hip/core rotation yet concentrate on keeping your feet close together.
Become hyper-aware of how your legs/feet behave as you swim. As you develop a rhythm add a snap to (one) downbeat and continue 'not' kicking. A few more strokes and maybe snap with the opposite downbeat leg. Mental notes.
Now perhaps two simultaneous snaps, rhythm, rhythm, snap snap. What do you feel? Be deliberate in your movements yet always use light pressure. As mentioned loose legs but keep "tone" (not tension) to your posture especially your core.
If your balance is great this will develop smoothly.
If you're working on breathing maybe try lengths of taking 3 - 5 strokes then sweetspot breathing and so on to maintain a rhythm without too much interruption or awkwardness.
Soon you'll incorporate the breathing exercise with the kicking focus and may discover the 'new' kick ( together with smooth hip/core rotation) will enable 'easier' breathing overall.
Play with your x/y coordinates. You may find as your kick develops, together with great balance, that you'll be able to raise your lead arm a bit also allowing for a smoother rotation to air.
Much luck.

chiswimmer 12-31-2008 06:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willem (Post 976)
Getting better ankle flexibility will take years I think.
When I practise with fins my kick feels a lot better, but as soon as I remove them, my legs sink and I my kick isn't good enough to keep my balance, however I keep my head straight down and my leading arm quite steep for my balance. So I suppose my weak kick is the main problem.

Maybe the problem is not so much about your kicking, but rather with your balancing awareness. You mentioned that your kick feels a lot better with fins, because fins do provide better forward momentum and also a bit more buoyancy. If you are solely practicing your drills and swimming with fins, I would suggest that you take off your fins and begin doing those basic drills again, specifically those deal with balancing issues.

I too experience exactly the same as you did -- feet sink last year. Also your ankles could be stiffer than you think, so when you are doing flutter kicks, make the motion of the kicks come from the rotation of your core through your hips rather than kicking like you are running in the water. Problems with using leg muscles is that, you tend to dorsiflex your foot, which then acts as a water scooper which can cause your feet to sink or swim backwards!

Willem 01-01-2009 09:00 PM

Thanks for the good suggestions to excercise my kick.
Chiswimmer, you can be right too. I'll try the balancedrills without fins again!

'The kick must come from the hips and not from the legs.': It's strange but I don't seem to memorise this in my motoric memory. I didn't had the "aha-expierence"... Hope this will come one day!!

chiswimmer 01-03-2009 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willem (Post 1050)
Thanks for the good suggestions to excercise my kick.
Chiswimmer, you can be right too. I'll try the balancedrills without fins again!

'The kick must come from the hips and not from the legs.': It's strange but I don't seem to memorise this in my motoric memory. I didn't had the "aha-expierence"... Hope this will come one day!!

Think of a rubber band. Your core is the rubber band and the movement from hip is the after-effect of the core unwinding as you spear your hand into the water. Let your legs as loosy loose as you possible can. The more tense your legs muscles are on the quads, glutes and hamstrings, the harder it is to allow the hip to actuate the 2 beat kick.

I find that the TI 2 beat kick easy to implement because I am a Chi-runner as well, which uses core rotation and hip extension much in a same way as a TI freestyle swimmer.

Willem 01-09-2009 10:30 PM

I tried the visualisation of the rubber band and it helps me a bit more.
So thank you for that!
Now focusing to get out the tension out of my legs.
If I do the superman glide, my legs are tense also but I don't manage to
stay horizontal. Is this because of the tension? I'm not flexible in my
back so maybe it's not really possible to float completely horizontal
in the superman glide for me.

Rhoda 01-10-2009 02:59 PM

Your back should be straight and neutral in the Superman glide, so flexibility shouldn't really be an issue. Try closing your eyes and breathing deeply through the nose for a few seconds before pushing off. Think about breathing all your tension out through your nose.


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