Is there anything more painful than feeling your legs BURN at the end of a 200? It’s incredibly painful because the 200 is a race that requires you to use your legs at full speed… the whole time! In order to kick a full 200, swimmers must be well-trained at kicking! Unfortunately though, training a swimmer’s swim kick can easily get pushed to the back burner, because swimmers are technically kicking throughout the whole practice – so the kicking specific set gets lower on the list of priorities.
It is necessary to have a training plan for your swim kick, just as much as you would for your stroke technique season plan. Those who do have a swim kick-specific plan win will close, painful races, and that’s why you it’s CRUCIAL to train your swim kick to be your secret weapon…
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What Your Swim Kick Does For Your Stroke
Over the years, we’ve found that the main reason a swimmer’s kick gets left behind in practice sessions is because many people believe there isn’t as much of a technical aspect to it. Well – news flash: all swimmers need a technically-sound kick for every stroke, because it helps swimmers time their stroke better, balance out their body more, and takes some of the load away from the arms. For example, when we think about Dolphin Kick in the Butterfly stroke. The Dolphin Kick is CRUCIAL to improve ease of the stroke and allow swimmers to get their arms up and OVER the water. Without a good Dolphin Kick, it’s pretty darn near impossible to swim Butterfly continuously.
No matter which stroke is your specialty though, your swim kick is important. Take a look at the Backstroker pictured below. You can see that the way her feet are pointed and the timing of her legs passing by each other significantly affects the rest of her body position.
It’s important to remember that our muscles need oxygen in order to produce the strength that we need. Since the legs have the largest muscles in the body, that means that using them at full capacity is going to require a ton of oxygen. That’s why, given that swimmers spend most of their time without adequate oxygen, it’s crucial to train the kick intentionally. I’ve even heard coaches refer to the kick as the motorboat of the stroke! After all, your kick speed determines your swim speed.
How To Train Your Swim Kick
You have to take the same approach to training your swim kick that you would to training the body as a whole. It requires drills (like this Breaststroke Heel Kick), consistent practice, dryland, and time dedicated just to the kick. The best thing you can do for yourself and for your swimmers is to keep the kick in its own category of training time. Just as you have time specified for Dryland, you also should have time specified for kicking practice. Unfortunately, that doesn’t just mean long kick sets that don’t serve a particular purpose or speed. Training your swim kick well means practicing intentionally and making it easier for your swimmers. Thankfully, we’ve got an easy way for you to do that…
Our Plan for Your Swim Kick Technique Season Plan
We are releasing 4 & 8 Month Kicking Technique Season Plans to help make your swimmer’s kicks legendary in your area. There’s no better feeling than knowing that, because of your training plan, your swimmers will be the ones who win the close races. Building up the base required to make that happen takes daily, consistent practice and a well-thought out plan.
Our 4 & 8 Month Kicking Technique Season Plans are made up of daily prescriptions, that will take you just a few seconds each day to review what your team needs to do. Then, it’s up to you to figure out where it fits in your practice schedule. Give your swimmers the kick set we prescribe, and show them any accompanying videos, drills, and/or energy system information that go along with it. You’ll rest assured that your swimmers are progressing both in their swimming IQ, and in their Kicking Technique!
Until next time,
Abbie Fish and the Swim Like A. Fish Team