Total Immersion Forums

Total Immersion Forums (
-   Racing (
-   -   Kicking - mixed messages (

pmuni 11-03-2009 08:22 PM

Kicking - mixed messages
I am 48 years old, and have been racing regularly in my local Masters' circuit with acceptable results for the past two years.

When I picked up TI, one of the first things I learned was to slow down my kicking, because it interfered with streamling and proper timing. As I watched TI videos, I realized that this was the case with most coaches and other advocates. Good TI swimmers' kick seemed unperceptible and seem to never break the surface.

However, I have found empirically that this slower kicking affects my speed considerably in the distances that I normally compete in (50m and 100m). I believe that my stroke has become cleaner and more efficient applying TI trechniques, but in no way has that been able to compensate the effect of slower kicking.

My training buddies and coach insist that I speed up kicking, but I am still trying to reconcile that idea with what appears to work well with others.

I would like to hear from other racers out there about their experiences.

CoachDave 11-03-2009 08:45 PM

Different approach
For many people, calming down the kick helps at any speed. If you've been racing a while, it's not so much that you try to do a two-beat kick, but that each and every kick fits into the rhythm. Even a six beat kick has one kick to snap the hips and two on each edge. On shorter races, the right kick will make the difference. Make sure it barely pushes beyond the streamline at full strength, but realize that the demand that puts on you can't be sustained for most people without extensive training even to a distance of 200 or 400. I can and have kicked like a madman in my sprints, but at the slightly backed-off tempo where I can still manage the connections between hip drive and rotation.

Grant 11-03-2009 09:06 PM

I have been competing for about 15 years and started incorporating TI about 6 years ago. My results are similar to what Dave and you report. I still need to use a quiet flutter kick on the 50,100 and 200m to be competitive. Once I get into 400 and 800 I am competitive with a 2 beat kick. I still kick vigorously on the last lap of any race.
The TI practice has resulted in my times coming down in all distances. At 74 I am beginning to level off in the 50, 100 and 200 races but the 400 and 800 are still coming down.
Am really working on flip turns, dolphin kicking off the wall and breakouts.
At your age you have wonderful years of fun swimming ahead. Enjoy the ride.

pmuni 11-03-2009 09:43 PM

Thanks Coach Dave and Grant for your replies. It makes a lot of sense what you say about making sure the timing of the kick stays in synch with hip rotation. I will keep in mind the count you mention for the 6-beat kick with one for each hip rotation and two on the edges. It doensn't sound easy, but worth a try!

I guess training with a kickboard does not make much sense, as the whole timing issue is missed and we kick on a flat position.

The frustrating part for me is being left behind in practice by other swimmers for whom kicking just seems natural.



haschu33 11-03-2009 10:14 PM

A comment from a non-competitive beginner...
I started to use the correct kicking very early in my drills. So when I did a right hip drive I would start it with a kick from the left food. In the drills I am flutter kicking in between switches, but switches I always did with the correct foot kicking to initiate the hip drive.
The effect was when I started with full strokes it was rather easy to get into a 2BK. The only thing that prevents a nice 2BK is balance problems so I flutter-kick sometimes in between and my legs sometimes do strange things to counteract loss of balance. But to use the right (=not wrong) foot at the right time is almost automatic.
The other day I felt a little high-spirited (I don't know if this is the right word...) and I wanted to do a fast lap with kicking. So I figured it out and thought, ok, the only way is kickwithhipdrive - kick - kick - kickwithhipdrive - kick - kick - ... as Coach Dave said. I started the lap and it worked from the very beginning, although I never drilled a 6BK. The kicking as the initiation of the hip drive was so imprinted that it worked on its own and I was actually kicking a nice 6BK with my strokes although I not even once drilled that. Probably it was very slow but I was amazed how much propulsion came from the kicking and I felt like a torpedo :)

In short, to imprint the kick with the hip-drive might be enough to be able to swim with 2BK and 6BK. Yes, I admit - I am very fond of drilling. I know, not everybody is. It's boring and not cool. But it brings so much benefit.

CoachDave 11-05-2009 12:12 AM

Kicking in sprint sets
Our powerful boy swimmers have a fifth stroke of sorts, and we cater it to how each feels the rhythm in the hips. Some of them have enough power in a broader stroke to get a really strong upper core tempo going, and have a powerful two beat kick to match it- if they went to six, they would be forced to back off the arm tempo. Their hips rotate a bit less to provide them with the tilted hydrodynamics but more immediate purchase on the water with an anchoring catch.

LBRoberts 09-20-2010 06:00 PM

I find that I have to kick hard and fast to be competitive in a 50m race; and I kick hard from 25 meteres out in a 100m race. I am not that smooth in those races either

I use a 2 beat in all other distances. In my view, use of a 2-beat kick (and other TI principles) are easier to put into practice (and maybe more suited) to the longer distance events where the pay-off for being more efficient over more powerful is greatest.

terry 09-21-2010 02:14 AM

Kicking - Mixed Kicks, Consistent Message
As people have already suggested, if you race in the 50-100, the 6BK will be preferable. As you stretch your distance beyond that, the 2BK will have equal, then greater, merit in most cases.
What is consistent in both is to (1) focus on streamlining before you focus on propulsion; (2) strive tirelessly to "tune" the kick to your stroke - i.e. to make it blend seamlessly so that an observer would see overall harmony - even at top speed in a short sprint; and (3) to seek the most benefit for the least effort from your kick.

I coached the sprinters at West Point from 1996-99 with results that far outstripped what that group had accomplished before or since. I recall that their tendency when I began coaching them was usually to overkick as they approached maximum speed or effort. Watching from the deck I would see the kick become the most prominent, noticeable part of the stroke. I would urge them to make it blend better with everything else. They would swim faster - and tell me it felt easier.

But tuning the kick was really a minor element in our success. The most important factor in the record-breaking swims we did (we broke 9 Academy and probably as many conference records -- i.e. some records fell several times -- in 3 yrs) was improving start, turn and stroke technique and - particularly in the 100 - learning better pacing skills.

I insisted that all learn to swim the 100 with a maximum of 2 seconds difference between 1st and 2nd 50. Our best swims came when the difference was 1.5 sec or less. We practiced sense of pace relentlessly.

Richardsk 09-28-2010 10:29 AM

I insisted that all learn to swim the 100 with a maximum of 2 seconds difference between 1st and 2nd 50. Our best swims came when the difference was 1.5 sec or less. We practiced sense of pace relentlessly.

Now if I could do that I would make a huge improvement in my 100m time.

Would the best approach be to swim slightly slower for the first 50m or 75m and then try to accelerate or just continue to work on aerobic fitness so that I die less on the last 25?

terry 09-28-2010 05:11 PM

Working on aerobic fitness so you die less at the end is how virtually all try to do it. Another poster posed a question about 'how to improve sprint endurance' in another thread. Eric DeSanto asked him for more detail in his query. I checked in this morning to see if he had offered that yet. But you ask a very similar question.

When I began coaching the sprinters at West Point, as a group, they'd been underperforming for several years. Without having seen them train or swim, but knowing that West Point cadets are always fit, and that as swim team members they'd been training hard in previous years, I doubted lack of aerobic fitness was to blame.

Just prior to assuming my assistant's position there I'd read an article about the recent Olympic track champion in 100m, Maurice Green. His coach John Smith described the strategy they pursued to win the gold and break the WR as "Delay Deceleration." He said that most sprinters hit peak velocity in mid-race, then began slowing around 65m. He adjusted Mo's training and race approach so he would reach peak velocity more gradually and sustain it longer, aiming to delay deceleration to perhaps 85m.

I was fairly certain that deceleration was at least as common, and possibly more pronounced in an event that took place in water -- and had a duration 4-5x greater than the 100m in track. So I asked the team if they would sign on to a training strategy that focused more on delaying deceleration than on increasing velocity. They did and the results were simply smashing.

In practice we broke down the 100 race as follows:
1st 25 - Groove your stroke. Do not race.
Middle 50 -Build smoothly toward top speed, aiming to feel you're reaching your stride as you approach the 75.
Final 25 - Hold your speed.

I then designed as many practice tasks as I could to mimic the three phases of the race and we rehearsed tirelessly.

I'm also confident in saying that we probably spent more time than most of our rivals on highly exacting work on starts, turns, pushoffs and breakouts.

Conditioning? It happened.

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.