Freestyle – Flutter-Kick Basics

Depending on the type of swimming you’re doing… competitive, fitness, or open water… the ability to control your legs, and keep them productive, is very important.  Here are a few key things to keep in mind as you work on your flutter kick.

Why Do It:
No matter what kind of swimming you do, working just on your kick can give you a more rhythmic and productive stroke.  The ability to turn on, or turn off your kick, can also make the decisions of saving energy, or gaining velocity all yours.

How to Do It:
 We’ll start with the basic kick, on a board.   Some people will argue that using a board teaches incorrect body position.  While that may be true, this drill is all about being able to focus solely on the feet, and taking away that need to go to air allows you to focus more.
2.  Many people have been taught to kick with a straight leg, like this.  Please don’t.  While it may feel like you’re working, which you are, you won’t be moving forward.
3.  Instead of keeping the legs straight, think of snapping through the end of the toes and allow the knees to bend just a bit to allow for that snap.
4.  Many runners and triathletes have ankles that don’t flex very well, and the more they kick, the slower they go.  Two quick options for this.  Keep your feet HIGH and within the shadow of your body (a wetsuit will really help with this), or start working on your ankle flexibility and focus on pointing your toes.
5.  People who think they get all their power from their thighs tend to try to set up the entire kick like they’re riding a bike.  Remember:  The resistance you create in setting up the kick must be overcome with the propulsion you generate.  The solution for this… keep your kick small, and don’t create resistance with your thighs.  Kick from your hips, NOT from your thighs.
6.  If you want to continue to work on your kick, AND your body position, grab a Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel.  You can continue to use the board if you need it, but hold it farther out in front of you, and place your face in the water.  If you feel comfortable without the board, just hold your hands in front about shoulder width apart.  Continue keeping the kick small, and now you can watch the bottom to see your forward movement.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Keep the kick quick, and small.  Try to keep the knees from going too deep, or outside the shadow of your body.  Think small when you kick, and remember to point your toes.  Finally, don’t allow your feet to go too high out of the water.  Most of the bubbles you see here, are caused by the heals sucking air down… rather than the front of the foot pushing air down into the water.