September is Kicking Month

If there is one skill that most differentiates fast swimmers from not-so-fast swimmers, it would be strength of the kick. Because we believe focusing on the legs is one of the best ways to improve as a swimmer, we have made kicking an integral part of our weekly KISD training rotation. This entire month, we will insert one kicking set into every coached practice. It could be with zoomers, long fins, no fins, with board or without, but everyday we will offer an opportunity to increase leg strength and ankle flexibility.

The kick plays a huge role in overall speed because it provides four important functions:

1. Depending on the strength and fitness level of the legs and the ankle flexibility, it creates propulsion.

2. Because the kick is not symmetrical, it creates lift—the downward phase of the kick is more powerful than the upward.

3. Since the most powerful of the down kicks coincides with the end of the underwater pull, it helps stabilize the counter-rotation of the body.

4. In a six-beat kick, there is virtually no recovery time, generating a steadier propulsive force. (A two-beat kick is used if you do not choose to improve your swim time.)

Some consider kicking sets very challenging (or borderline torture), but we have created some unique ways to work the kick in both directions and sustain the motion. The best kickers utilize continuous kicks to sustain propulsion at all times—never “letting go” of the water.

The good news about kicking is that if you don’t have good flexibility in your ankles, you can develop it very quickly (within weeks) and increase your propulsion without swimming harder. Start with simple exercises like kneeling on the tops of your feet for two minutes at a time. 

The anterior ligaments and tendons of the ankle are some of the most stretchable in the human body.

Here is a short Go Swim video on the basics of a good flutter kick.

Starting Friday, September 6, we're offering the first of eight kicking fitness sets on upcoming Mondays and Fridays. It's a repeating set we'll use to measure everyone's progress over the next four weeks.

The set is 3 x 100's strong kick with a board on r:20.

Everyone should remember their average time from day to day, week to week and challenge themselves to improve over the month.