My 13 year old son would like to know how to improve his kick in training. He really struggles in kick sets and often gets overlapped.
He swam at Age Nationals this year and has just moved clubs from a 25m training pool to a 50m training pool. He is coping with the change of training EXCEPT for the kick sets.
Many thanks for your advice.
Thanks for your email and question. This is quite a common question for swimmers who are not strong at kicking.
The difference between doing a kick set in a 25m pool to a 50m pool can be quite large. In a 25m pool, swimmers get to stroke into the wall and turn every 25m. These pools are often shallower than 50m pools so there is also a temptation to stand up once a lap or every couple of laps to push off the bottom and gain momentum forwards.
In a 50m pool, which are often a bit deeper and do not allow swimmers to stand up, a swimmer must kick up to 45m non-stop before getting to a turn instead of 20m. If they are not a strong kicker in the first place, they will find this transition difficult.
I have provided some suggestions for your son below.
1. When doing short kick sets of 25m or 50m, make sure that the intensity is there all the way. Kick hard! By improving your kick over short distances and then gradually extending the distance, you will improve.
2. When doing any kick set, do not change the kick you are doing as you go down the pool. eg. if you are doing freestyle kick, do not add in one or two breaststroke kicks at some stage through the lap. Focus on the kick you are meant to be doing and do it all the way.
3. Do more kick. This one might sound strange, but the more kick you do (at a medium to fast speed) the better you will get.
4. Work on your ankle flexibility by doing dryland exercises to ensure you have a good range of motion through your ankles.
5. Work really hard when ever you do kick with fins (flippers) in training. By using fins and kicking strong, you will develop your muscles in your legs to help make you stronger and kick faster.
6. Every time you push off the wall in freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, do a minimum 6 very fast butterfly kicks until it becomes a habit. This will help you to develop leg strength over time and will improve your butterfly kick continually.
Your son will need to focus in every kick set to make improvements on a daily basis and over a 4 to 8 week period he should begin to notice some major improvements.
The Swimming Expert