Welcome Back to Part II of our series on the Freestyle Kick! In today’s post, I’m hoping to give you a better overall idea of the Freestyle Kick mechanics – by giving you the 4 Freestyle Kick Secrets – you need to swim FAST. The Freestyle kick itself is nothing to technical, after all – we did dissect into a bit of details in Part I of this series. So if you haven’t had a chance to read Part I yet, please go ahead and do so before moving on!
Let’s get started!
In order to break down the Freestyle Kick mechanics, you have to split the kick into two pieces:
1.) The Up-Kick
2.) The Down-Kick
The Up-Kick is defined as the part of the kick where the knee is actively bending and the heel (or bottom of foot) is raising towards the surface of the water. The Down-Kick is the complete opposite. During the Down-Kick, a swimmer’s (top of their) foot is pushing towards the bottom of the pool with the knee extending.
If you take a look and compare the Up-Kick versus the Down-Kick. I like to think of the Up-Kick as more of the “setup” of the overall Freestyle Kick and the Down-Kick as the propulsion generator (see video below).
The 4 Secrets:
As you saw in the video above, there are a few technique secrets to a GREAT Freestyle Kick. Here are 4:
1.) You always want to Plantarflex your feet while Down-Kicking! What this does is it helps increase the surface area of the tops of your foot to give you just THAT MUCH MORE space to push some water backwards!
2.) The second secret which we already went over in Part I is making sure when you kick Freestyle, you emphasize the kick comes from the hips – not the knees. You do want some knee-bend (about 120-degrees), but the kick should initiate from the hips FIRST – then trickle down to the knees.
3.) While Up-Kicking, you only need the heel to about mid-arch to come through the surface. This will help ensure you’re getting that 120-degrees of knee bend, creating a splash, and transitioning well from your setup to your Down-Kick!
4.) During the Down-Kick, it’s VERY important that you FINISH the kick in FRONT of your Body! This ensures you are firing the full capacity of your quadriceps muscle and you are extending that knee out fully at the end of every Down-Kick. Out of all 4 secrets, this one is the I find most commonly done wrong – AND – has the biggest bang for your buck if corrected!
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If you are to add in these 4 Freestyle Kick Secrets to your training routine, you will see a big difference in your Freestyle Kick. You will also notice that the Freestyle Kick may not be “as easy” as it was before. In Part III of our series, I will discuss why the speed of your Freestyle Kick actually determines the speed of your entire Freestyle stroke (and the rest of your strokes)!
Yep, it’s true. See you all next week!