Freestyle kicking

Side lateral kick

  • Face looking at the bottom of the pool under armpit.
  • Chin on chest with cheek on shoulder.
  • Chest and trunk facing side of pool.
  • Opposite hip and shoulder out of the water with that arm extended by side.
  • Breathing should be performed every four seconds, or number of kicks, according to ability.

Equal practice should be given to each side. However, a weak side should be given slightly more exposure to improve skill. This can be learnt with fins, gradually progressing to no fins as long as the skill level is maintained.

Tip: The relationship between head and hips in swimming is important. Generally if the head is up, the hips are down and if the head is down, the hips are up. Using a kickboard that is too large makes the body and head sit too high in the water, forcing the hips down, and an inefficient kick results.

Fastskin Kickboard

Combining science and speed. Buy this kickboard from Speedo by clicking on the link and you will support the development of SwiMMinD’s automatic video analysis module.

Fastskin Kickboard

Combining science and speed. Buy this kickboard from Speedo by clicking on the link and you will support the development of SwiMMinD’s automatic video analysis module.

1) Side lateral kick. The head should be relaxed and in a neutral position (ie as if standing and looking straight ahead).

2) Breathing position – the swimmer should minimize head movement.

Side lateral kick with half recovery and scull

Kick position is exactly the same as the side lateral kick, but with a slight sculling motion on the leading arm concentrating on a wrist-up position. the recovery occurs with the arm by the side, lifting first the shoulder then the elbow with a relaxed but controlled movement and with the forearm and fingers dragging on the water’s surface. The arm rises to 90 degrees, directly above the head and level with the chin, and returns to the side every 4-6 seconds or per breath.

In the elbow-high position the inside line of the thumb should be in the same plane as the outside line of the elbow. Ensure that the elbow does not over-reach above the line of the head.

Side lateral kick with half recovery and scull – the head in neutral position.

  • The kick position is the same as for the side lateral kick.
  • The leading or lower arm makes a slight sculling motion with the back of the wrist flexed slightly upwards.
  • The opposite arm recovers by lifting the elbow until the upper arm is at 90 degrees to the body, directly above the head and level with the chin.
  • The forearm is relaxed but controlled and fingertips drag along the surface.
  • The recovering arm returns to the side with a smooth and controlled action.
  • This is repeated every 4-6 seconds, per breath or after a designed number of kicks, eg 6, 12.

This drill can be repeated to the one side for a set distance, a breath being taken by rolling the chin up to the shoulder. It can be repeated on the other side, or the half recovery concept can be introduced while holding a small kickboard or pull buoy in the lateral position. That is, it can be practiced using just one arm or both arms, with or without an aid being held.

Side lateral kick, sculling, half-recovery and body rotation.

Breathing is executed with a body roll, not lifting the head independently. If the swimmer is breathing correctly with the body rotation, one eye, the corner of th mouth and one ear will remain in the water. Kicking and sculling continues throughout the drill. This can initially be done with a small kickboard and no scull just as it can be learnt without a scull or kickboard. It can also be learnt with one-third recovery if a half recovery cannot be performed first.

Arms folded kick

The swimmer assumes a prone position in the water, face down and back of head at surface. Lower arms are folded on top of each other, hands lightly holding elbows. Upper arms surround the ears. Breath is taken on a set number of kicks by lifting chin forward after exhaling under water. The swimmer must keep kicking during breathing to ensure a smooth continuous movement. Instructors should ensure that swimmers maintain a steady, even, balanced kicking rhythm especially when breathing. This position increases the resistance experienced by the swimmer, which means they have to work harder in the kicking drill, building strength and kicking power.

Kicking with arms folded – a great way to develop a strong kick

Torpedo kick with fins to increase ankle flexibility. The swimmer should stay relaxed and aim to kick with a smooth, even rhythm.

Torpedo kick

The swimmer assumes a prone position in the water, face down and back of head at surface. Upper arms are in contact with the ears, lower arms are extended forwards, with one hand on top of the other or ‘superman scull’- in a streamlined position.

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