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Struggle to improve kicking

QUESTION:

Hi Gary,

I have a 9 year old female swimmer who has been swimming competitively for about 1 year.  She has been slowly improving but has been struggling to improve her kicking propulsion.  Is there anything she can do to improve her kick to develop more propulsion?  Please advise.

Thank you,

Victor

ANSWER:

Hi Victor,

I have provided below a couple if ideas that should help.

Firstly, check the 9 year old’s ankle flexibility.  If she is flexible, she may need a couple of exercises to develop some strength around the ankles.  If she is not very flexible then she should start doing some ankle exercises on a daily basis.  These would include doing circles with both ankles and also planar-flex and dorsi-flex exercises.

Secondly, continue to include kick sets in every training session. These should include kick for all four strokes.  I have had alot of success doing this over short distances and focusing on fast kick.  Usually 12 1/2’s up to 25’s will enable her to kick hard the whole way. Gradually incraese the distance to 50’s but keep an eye that the intensity remains.

Let me know how you go.

Regards
Gary

The Swimming Expert



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2 Responses to Struggle to improve kicking

  1. Yasmeen Naseer January 10, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Hey, I’m a swimmer and I have the same problem! But recently I’ve started working a lot on my flutter kick. I do a lot of kick sets in every workout – around 2000m consists only of swimming, and my kick has improved drastically. I think that where the kick goes, the more you do, the better it gets. But my improved kick hasn’t necessarily translated into a faster freestyle. There has been a little improvement in my time (around 5 seconds every fifty meters, at an intensity that can be maintained for longer swims – I’m training for the longer races), but not too much. And I think the primary issue is the fact that I’m not able to coordinate my kick and pull very well and also that even though my kick has gotten a lot stronger in isolation, I’m not able to maintain a good kick when I swim. Any advice on how I can work on that?

    • Gary January 17, 2015 at 1:44 am #

      Hi Yasmeen,
      Yes, by doing more kick in practice will help you to improve your kick more quickly.
      The timing of your arms and legs in all four strokes is critical to becoming really efficient when you swim.
      I would ask your coach to look at your stroke and provide you with some feedback. Also try different pace kicking to a stroke pace that you can hold for 100m and see if you can develop your timing by doing this.
      Cheers
      Gary
      The Swimming Expert

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