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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.

Mooney 01-14-2009 02:31 PM

Regarding kicking - I kick once per stroke (not a 2-beat, 3 beat, whatever). My kick is sort of a "side-stroke" kick. When timed with the arm stroke, I get a great "launch". It feels like I'm pushing off the pool wall and gliding for a long time. I have achieved 15 strokes per pool length. The problem is - it takes a lot of energy. I don't think I can do that for a mile swim.

The light "flutter" kick feels effortless, but does not propel me much at all. It just balances my body while I stroke, so the arms are doing all the real work. But I can sustain that kick forever.

Should I try to develop this "side-stroke" kick and build endurance there, or is the flutter kick the way to go?

shuumai 01-14-2009 03:33 PM

One kick per stroke is a 2-beat kick since there are two strokes in one left/right arm cycle.

Jamwhite 01-15-2009 11:22 AM

Early on, you ask for exercises to learn the two beat kick. The exercise Terry suggests is Zipperswitch. After the pause is zipperskate, kick with the opposite leg as you spear forward with the recovery arm.

When I first started learning the 2 beat kick, my master's coach complained that my hips were sinking and handed me a pull buoy. Doing a length with that, I got a feel for what my hips should feel like. I practiced doing my 2 beat kick one length with the buoy and one length without trying to keep the same feeling and discovered how to keep my body in line so that my hips stayed in the same spot.

AWP 01-15-2009 02:20 PM

The timing and feeling can also be 'found' in Spear switch practice, then enhanced in Zen switches.

The best use for a pull buoy I've heard Jam.

Kiebler 02-02-2009 04:11 AM

2 - beat kick
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by shuumai (Post 1254)
One kick per stroke is a 2-beat kick since there are two strokes in one left/right arm cycle.

I too am having problems learning the kick, this thread is answering a lot of my questions I have in my mind. I can't wait to put to practice what I have learned here during my next swim practice. Thanks everyone!

Kiebler 02-03-2009 10:21 PM

2-beat kicks
 
Last night I was practicing my strokes, breathing using fins on my feet to let me concentrate on the top half of my body. After reading this thread, I took my fins off and failed miserably. Came back to the end of the pool to think about what I was doing wrong, put my fins back on and went two lengths with no obvious problems. Took my fins off again, decided to not think about my legs but concentrate on my top half, next thing I was completing a length and my legs followed complete with 2 beat kicking! I was pretty amazed at this "discovery", incredible feeling.

Just a bit of back ground. I have never had formal training, I have been learning TI after ordering the DVD on Freestyle just before Christmas, as well I started taking swim lessons at my local pool in January and have 5 more to complete, however their teaching methods are the Red cross form. Similar but there are notable differences, between the two methods I have been steadily progressing.

I was introduced to TI through our family doctor who is an avid TI swimmer, I now have a few of the lifeguard staff interested in the program as well.

My ultimate goal is to be able to take part in a Sprint Triathlon May 10, I have run several races up to 1/2 Marathon distance. Biking and swimming is new to me, so it's a bit of an ambitious plan but I feel it's doable, time will tell.

Kiebler

afara2000 02-08-2009 10:12 PM

Also, it is important to consider head position with regards to efficient kicking. I have learned that as I swim slow and smooth, I tend to keep my head down like stream line postion to keep my hip and legs up from sinking. But when I swim at a higher tempo, I raise my head to 45 degree to maintain efficient kick i.e., avoiding kicking high on surface. I think this is reason why most sprinters look almost to their front swimming at extemely high tempo!

asbarden 02-09-2009 03:08 AM

Terry's latest post on the OW forum, entitled "Chapter 6" is an excellent discussion of kick timing and technique. It has helped me a lot in the last week. You may consider taking a look at it.

swimqueen 09-29-2012 08:09 PM

Slowest kicker in my lane
 
I can swim faster and longer than the other three swimmers in my lane - I'm with a new club this year - but they all blow me out of the water on kick sets. I have been using the newer Zoomers for years and will soon need to replace them . Is there a better swim fin for me ? Kicking without fins - almost going backwards.

CharlesCouturier 09-29-2012 08:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by swimqueen (Post 31413)
I can swim faster and longer than the other three swimmers in my lane - I'm with a new club this year - but they all blow me out of the water on kick sets. I have been using the newer Zoomers for years and will soon need to replace them . Is there a better swim fin for me ? Kicking without fins - almost going backwards.

Well not that I affectionate fins (truth being that I hate them, as they torture my ankles), but recently I saw a paper which was about how to choose fins. To my big surprise, Zoomers were not recommended as they are too short for providing enough propulsion for most of you having difficulty to kick without fins.

It's believe that a model that is a bit longer be preferable.

Can't speak on my own behalf here, as last time I wear fins I got injured once again.

Hope this helps.

borate 09-30-2012 01:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willem (Post 963)
So how can I practise on developing a good kick?!?

Are there excercises which isolate 'the kicking technique'?

This should help.

swimqueen 10-01-2012 08:16 PM

Thank you Charles . Has anyone heard of Churchill fins ? Apparently they have been around since the 1930's . Any name brand suggestions for my slow , stiff ankle kicking. Have been through 2 pairs of Zoomers in the past 7-8 yrs without seeing much improvement.

CharlesCouturier 10-01-2012 08:49 PM

Hmmmm.....

In theory, the Zoomers may be little too short to act as a good ankle stretcher, or so I was told.

drmike 10-01-2012 10:18 PM

Slim Fins
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by swimqueen (Post 31450)
Thank you Charles . Has anyone heard of Churchill fins ? Apparently they have been around since the 1930's . Any name brand suggestions for my slow , stiff ankle kicking. Have been through 2 pairs of Zoomers in the past 7-8 yrs without seeing much improvement.

Slim Fins made by Force Fin, a company in Santa Barbara --> http://www.forcefin.com/category/50.html

Longer and better all-the-way around than Zoomers. Churchill fins are nice for body surfing b/c they float, but for straight swimming Slim Fins are as good as it gets. They are slim enough not to interfere with flutter kick or body dolphin, are more comfortable than most other fins b/c there is no toe enclosure, give lots of thrust ... wish I could swim like that on my own.

Mike M.


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