Reduce drag from your legs to go quicker in the water with Phil Mosley’s kicking masterclass.
Set your speed
There are no rules that say how many kicks you should do per stroke cycle but normally it’s two, four or six. Skilled swimmers often use a two-beat kick, which feels nice and slow. Opt for a six-beat kick to allow you to vary intensity up to a sprint
Forget foot size
Having big feet isn’t the advantage it might appear, as swimming fast is as much about streamlining as it is propulsion. Many coaches believe forward drive is far less important than reducing drag and helping body rotation
Point your toes
Stiff ankles can cause your toes to point downwards when you swim, making your feet act like brakes. Long term, try ankle stretches. In the meantime, concentrate on pointing your toes backwards while you swim
Kick from the hips
This is hard to do, but keep practising. If you kick from your hips rather than your knees, your legs will stay in a straight line, providing propulsion while perfectly counterbalancing the rotation of your stroke
Boost your body position
Do your legs drag down? Try pushing your chest down. This counteracts the buoyancy from the air in your lungs, balances your body and should help lift your legs. It’s sometimes called “downhill swimming”
Get your timing right
The key to good kick timing is to make sure that when your hand enters the water at the front of the stroke, the opposite leg kicks. If your timing is wrong, you could be compromising your body rotation
Team Talk: Speeding up
“Kicking from the hips can feel quite robotic at first but it gets easier. Avoid flexing your knees without locking them out completely and keep your kick depth quite shallow or you’ll add drag. Think balance, not power.” Tom Ballard – Senior Writer
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