How to improve your Freestyle Kick
“How do I improve my Freestyle Kick?”. Great question and we have a number of suggestions to help you on your way.
The kick that comes with freestyle is called a flutter kick. It is simple and efficient, if done correctly. Some things to watch out for and work on to create the perfect flutter kick are:
- Make sure your kicks aren’t too big. Bigger isn’t always better! And big kicks won’t make you swim faster. If you want to speed up, stick to fast and small kicks.
- Kicking from your hips. Some of your biggest muscles are located there. Use them to swim faster and better.
- Kicking downwards instead of backwards. It is hard to keep your balance and speed if your feet are pushing the water downward instead of backwards.
- Ballerina toes – pointy toes help you to move forward as well.
- Your knees are bending too much. Remember that you’re swimming; not riding a bike. When you bend your knees too much doing freestyle, you will struggle to streamline your body, keep your balance, and maintain speed.
Ways to practice and improve your flutter kick:
Without the kick there is no propulsion but there is more to the kick if you go for a perfect freestyle. It takes technique, endurance, and strength. Start in the water while holding onto a pool wall or use a kick board so you can focus fully on the kick. Then follow the tips below.
- Relax your ankles and point your toes. When doing a proper freestyle kick, propulsion comes from the top of your feet. When you can relax your ankles and point your toes, the surface area pushing against the water becomes bigger. This way you push more water away from your body, and this increases your propulsion.
- Always start your flutter kick from your core and hips. You can visualise a flutter kick by thinking of it as a wave. It moves from the midriff of your body to your toes. Avoid initiating kicks with your knees as this will affect everything. Keep your focus on your core and hips when taking off.
- Make your heels pop out. Let your heel ‘break the surface’ on every up-kick. Just the heel, not the entire foot. This will help you keep your knees in the perfect bend. If you point your toes well enough, they are likely (and ok) to pop out slightly too.
- Watch your down kick. Every time your feet make their way downward during a kick, make sure your foot goes deep enough so it finishes ‘in front’ of your body (remember your body is horizontal, so this means your foot will end up closer to the bottom of the pool than the rest of your body). This way you use the full strength coming from your quadriceps and you get the most powerful kick!
- Don’t forget to look down instead of looking forward – this will keep your legs on top of the water so you can swim faster.
- Practice out of the water. Lay down on your tummy on a flat surface (bed, floor, couch) and place a cushion or your pillow under your feet. Gently kick the cushion with the top of your feet at a steady pace. Feel how your feet are floppy and your toes stretches. Practice your dolphin kick and wiggles this way too and you’ll have an effective kick in no time!
At Hampton Swim School, our philosophy is to ‘nurture, achieve and celebrate’. We have developed the best baby swim and learn to swim programs – developmentally and age appropriate. Swimmers move through our tailored 12-week programs, aimed at developing the ‘whole’ child and delivering consistent results.