How to Develop an Unstoppable Freestyle Kick

Michael Butler
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Why You Should Be Working on Your Freestyle Kick

A well refined freestyle kick is the foundation of a good swimming technique. Even if all you want to do is to swim faster, a kick with power and control will help you move through the water more efficiently.

One of the keys for a good kick is to swim those legs forward and underneath you. This requires you to quickly bend your knees and swing them forward as you glide through the water. Since you’re coming through the water in a series of arcs, it’s important to have your legs relatively close to your body so they don’t drag or make large propeller-like movements. But stroking the water with your feet is the only way to create forward momentum. That’s why you need your kick to be as good as possible.

Additionally, a powerful kick helps you swim longer distances faster. It adds the extra distance covered without any extra effort.

When you’re “gliding” in the water with your arms, your legs should be acting as stabilizers that kick in as you prepare to take a breath. Your muscles should be relaxed and your kick should be smooth and rhythmic.

How to Improve Your Freestyle Kick

The freestyle kick is vital to swimming success because it enables you to propel yourself through the water quickly and decisively. It also reduces the arm’s workload during the freestyle stroke.

Being able to swim well above the water, making your body nearly parallel to the surface, is a skill that comes naturally to many new swimmers. Most people are exposed to the water at young ages and have ample opportunity to practice this stroke.

Yet even for skilled swimmers, when you begin to increase the intensity of your training, the freestyle zone becomes difficult to maintain. It’s harder to maintain the proper finger placement in the water for the catch, as well as to accelerate the arms and pull your body out of the water.

So what does it take to perform a fast freestyle kick?

In a nutshell, you need to:

{1}. Have a reasonably efficient body position.
{2}. Employ the right kick.
{3}. Apply the right amount of force.
{4}. Maintain the kick for the duration required.

In this guide, we will cover:

  • The fundamentals of the freestyle kick
  • The essentials of the kick
  • How to build better freestyle kick

Improve ankle strength.

Using resistance bands and ankle weights can be a great way to strengthen your ankles. First, lie on your back and strap on a band. Proceed to lift your foot and slowly lower the band back down. Do around 10-15 reps on each leg.

You should wait at least 1 week between sessions so that your joints can properly repair themselves from the previous workout.

Ankle weights can also be used, but keep in mind that it may be too bulky to wear in the water. If you decide to use ankle weights, make sure that you only use it for land-based exercises.

Avoid any exercises involving high impact or jumping, as it may damage your joints. If you’re concerned, ask your doctor before exercising.

Balance out your kick.

Most freestyle kick patterns have two distinct elements: an upward snap, or slash, at the beginning of the kick move and a downward scoop at the end of the kick. This single move has many phases, but it all comes back to balancing the strength of your kick.

First, lift up and out, keeping your hands out of the water to be sure that you avoid stoping your leg at the end of the vertical crescendo. Make sure that it’s your muscles that are doing the work. Then, let your leg drop downward by dropping your hips and knees.

As you lower your leg, keep your bent foot pointed toward the bottom of the pool to give your kicking muscles a rest.

You need a variety of kick techniques, not to mention a solid kick, to succeed in freestyle. The first step is to develop a sound basic kick. From there, you can build your kicking repertoire to include a variety of other moves.

Stop kicking down, and start kicking backwards.

Do you know anyone who makes the ball jump around so much with their freestyle kicks that it nearly stops dead in its tracks?

This is a pretty common occurrence that you see when you play with, or against, someone who has developed an unstoppable freestyle kick. These players make it look effortless. If you’re tired of your kick slowing your game down, you may want to learn a few things from these players.

The first common trait you’ll notice is that these players are KEEPING the ball in the strike zone. If the ball is so high or low that they can’t use a strike zone foot, they quickly move into a better position. This is a tougher skill than just making the ball go faster and higher.

Another common trait you see among good freestylers is that they KEEP THE BALL MOVING FORWARD. If the ball gets stuck, they move out of the way and let it roll out of the strike zone. They don’t just sit there and try to force it to go faster. Instead, they move around to a new strike zone position and get the ball moving again.

Improve ankle flexibility.

Being flexible in your ankles can improve your freestyle and freestyle kick kick performance, high kicks or underwater swims. If you don’t have strong ankles, the water resistance can actually pull your foot and toes downward. This can force you into harmful positions that could injure your joints.

Since the ankle is a complex joint, the movement should come from its main hinge. The toes should not move too much from the front.

This can be worked on by having a partner hold your feet and forcible push them down. You can pull yourself up using the resistance from your partner to repeat the action.

Kick Mindfully.

Personal training clients ask me to help them with their freestyle swimming all the time. Most people find freestyle to be the most difficult of the four competitive strokes. For some, it’s the most challenging stroke for more reasons than one.

I have a few theories why freestyle is difficult “ and I’d like to share them with you. I always invite personal training clients to keep a journal. They ask me why, and I tell them that I don’t mind if they write nonsense. It’s your journal; you’re keeping it because you’re accountable. It’s a way to plan and keep your mind focused on your goals, but it’s also a way to track your progress.

Kick more. A lot more.

If you are looking for a way to take your freestyle swimming to the next level, you can start by developing an unstoppable freestyle kick.

If you’re an experienced swimmer, it’s possible that you already have a kick that works for you. However, there’s still room for improvements in every swimmer.

The majority of competitive swimmers are known for having a strong kick. This is mainly because the kick adds the most energy to your stroke, allowing you to swim faster and further. And the faster and farther you are, the higher your chance of winning.

So if you’re a competitive swimmer, developing a stronger kick can help you win. On the other hand, if you’re looking to improve your overall fitness and health, a stronger kick can help you achieve your goals.

The kick works the muscles in your lower body, including your hips, thighs, and ankles. A strong kick allows you to conserve more energy, so you’ll be able to swim longer.

More Kick Sets:

Paddling up and down an empty pool doesn’t actually teach you to stand up on the board. So you’ll need more of that balancing practice in order to have a fighting chance to compete with the pros.

The next logical step is to begin paddling out and catching waves. Before you even think to stand up, be sure to take off plenty of time in the whitewater to get familiar with how to control your board. A full day at the beach (or an afternoon session at your local pool) should be a minimum.

Once you are competent at maneuvering and turning, you might think you’re ready to try your first paddlesurf standup, but the risk is high at that point. You don’t have the proper balance and technique, and the whitewater will most likely throw you off unless you’re very good.

That’s why it’s important to continue to practice paddle practice as much as you can.