4 Ways To Improve Freestyle Kick | Front Crawl Swimming Tips For Triathletes

– Today, I’m at Team
Bath and I’m going to be explaining how to improve
your freestyle kick. You see, without a kick,
or an effective kick, your freestyle stroke will
more or less just fall apart. It’s not only crucial for
the propulsion of your stroke but also for the balance and
rotation within the water. So here are my four ways to
improve your freestyle kick. (slow music) Okay, before we actually
delve into the four skills, it’s worth me doing a very quick explanation of the kick itself. See, as triathletes, we
are looking to sort of save our legs for the bike
and run sections of the race. I get that, so we’re not necessarily looking for a super fast and
furious leg kick, but we are looking to get an effective
leg kick for minimum effort. And most importantly, we don’t want that leg kick to be slowing us down. Okay, so the kick should
come from our hips with a soft flex through the knee. So imagine, with my arm,
my shoulder is my hip, my elbow is my knee. So we’re going in this motion. And what we don’t want, is to be kicking just from our knee, and therefore keeping the thigh more or less still. And we also want the kick to
follow right through to our toes, so we’ve got a nice
flexion through the ankle, and then finishing the
kick off at our toes. And this is actually an
area that a lot of people fall short on due to inflexible ankles. And we’ll get to that
a little bit later on. But for now, let’s take a
look at our first skill. (upbeat bass music) Okay, so the first one is quite simply, kicking with a board. It sounds straight forward, and it is. The idea being, we’re isolating
our legs for the kick, and therefore taking away the
need to think about our arms, and conveniently, the
board keeps us afloat. If kicking with a board is new to you, just grab hold the top of the board or put your hands through the
grips if your board has them. This should allow you to rest your arms, and maybe even your elbows on the board. Now, just relax your
head, neck, and shoulders, and look straight ahead down the board so you can breath whenever you like. It’s also important that I mention that kicking with a kick board does slightly restrict our body movements. So I wouldn’t advise solely
relying on a kick board. But it does offer a
good break from staring at that black line at
the bottom of the pool. And it also allows us to do some focused, quality kick sessions. (slow music) Now, if you’re someone
that struggles with ankle flexibility, you’ll probably refer to yourself as a hopeless kicker. And it tends to be those
that started out in running, ex-football players,
ex-soccer players, and so on. And the really tough thing
always with kicking is that you’re probably doing
absolutely everything correctly, but your ankles just don’t
flex like everyone else’s. Instead of them working
like fins to offload the water and propel you forward, they’re pretty much just
working like brakes. In fact, if I really lock my ankles now whilst I’m kicking, I go backwards. But then when I relax my
ankles, now, boom, away I go. Okay, so let’s work on
that ankle flexibility. And that’s where these short fins come in. By wearing them whilst you’re kicking, it will actually help
to stretch your ankles out a little bit, all whilst teaching you the correct movement of
kicking and the feeling. Start off by kicking slowly and controlled so that you feel the
flection of the ankle, the fin, and the flick at the end. Begin by doing short reps of
roughly 50 metres at a time. If you do have very tight ankles, you should build up the distance gradually to avoid any
strains or injuries. (slow music) Another great way to improve your kick is with vertical kick. And again, it’s really useful for those that have tight ankles. And as the name suggests, we’re going to be kicking vertically in the water. Find yourself some deep water where your feet aren’t touching the bottom when you get into a vertical position. Let go of the wall, cross your arms, and kick on the spot
in a vertical position, pointing your toes and keeping your chin above the surface of the water. Start by doing this for 20 seconds at a time, and focus on driving most of your power from your upper legs. Yeah, it’s pretty tough. But you can also have
some fun with this one. You can try to get your
shoulders out of the water for the whole duration, you
can increase the duration or you can even try and hold your arms out of the water for the whole time. But if you’re not quite at that stage yet and you’d like to build
into things gradually, you can of course start
off by using some fins. (slow music) This next one is sort of
bringing it all together now. We’re going to be kicking on our side, but without a kick board. So, start by pushing off the
wall and rotate onto one side. Extend the bottom arm out as if you’re about to start
the catch of your stroke. Then, rest the top arm on your leg. Now focus on a good, controlled leg kick whilst rotated onto your side. You can do this for roughly ten kicks, or 4-5 seconds before
rotating on to the other side. To do this, just continue the arm movement to finish the stroke,
whilst rotating your body. And stop when your arm
is extended out in front. I would normally recommend doing this in 25-50 metre reps before swimming off and putting it all
together in a full stroke. Now, it’s this combination of the rotation and the kick that throws most people. And actually, the kick helps to balance the body whilst we’re doing this rotation. So it’s really important we do practise kicking and rotating at the same time to try and improve in that area. And again, there’s no harm in starting out by using some fins just
to help get you going. Well there we go, there’s
just a nice handful of skills to help improve your freestyle kick. And as always, do let us know how you get on in the comments sections below. If you’d like to see more videos from GTN, just click on the globe and subscribe. And if you’d like to get
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