General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ? Rss Feed  
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2013-06-28 5:10 PM


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Subject: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
I've been swimming w/ a local masters group for six months. While, I am much stronger in the water, I just can't seem to get my freestyle kick going. I kick fine on a kick board, but when I put my kick and stroke together, it falls apart. I think it's a rhythm issue. Does that make sense? I don't think I kick at the right time when I'm stroking....or maybe I am over thinking it. I generally just kick a little here and there, but not enough to help...probably slows me down. And, I think my breathing is part of the problem...seems my kick and strokes are fine until I breathe.
Any advice?

Gina


2013-06-28 9:39 PM
in reply to: GinaNC

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
I have the same problem. I have heard that using a snorkel to figure your Stroke/kick out then work on your breathing.
Don't know if this works or not.

Finis makes a nice front facing snorkel to use. Looks like you can buy at most sporting good stores.
2013-06-28 10:31 PM
in reply to: #4791002


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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
YouTube total immersion swimming if you haven't already. Really helped me just watching a recording of a seminar the guy did.
2013-06-28 11:23 PM
in reply to: Mtthwprc45

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
is that the 'separating water molecules' guy? hahaha
2013-06-29 9:13 AM
in reply to: GinaNC

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Finding Freestyle swim program would help you. It is an online program that works on helping you find he ideal stroke for you. I did many kicking drills and thru program learned awareness what my feet were doing when kicking.
2013-06-29 11:03 AM
in reply to: #4791179


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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
I think he does make that statement. Even so, it helped me with my distance swimming. Might not be the fastest but the consistency makes my last half as strong as my first half of any swim.


2013-07-01 11:22 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Kicking is one of the hardest things for new-ish swimmers to get down. This is mainly because people use a kick board and then think that's how they are supposed to kick when swimming...which is impossible to do, since the rhythm is totally off and the effort is off as well. Could you let me know what you're specifically having trouble with? I noticed you said that it's the rhythm...is it just uncomfortable? Is your kick too quick? Are you moving when you kick? Are your legs sinking? More details would be great, and I can let you know what to do. I run swimming clinics and I train triathletes on stroke technique. 
2013-07-01 12:06 PM
in reply to: BostonSwim41

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Katie,

not hijacking the OP's thread, but I can tell you my hips and feet tend to sink. I'm currently OWS in a lake, trying to keep a slower, but more consistent /steady kick. Not trying to kick for huge propulsion-- my primary goal is better body position (keeping my hips and feet higher over longer distances). It's difficult trying to keep the arm stroke, breakthing and kicking all in rhythm. Any suggestions?
2013-07-01 12:43 PM
in reply to: big joe

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Originally posted by big joe

Katie,

not hijacking the OP's thread, but I can tell you my hips and feet tend to sink. I'm currently OWS in a lake, trying to keep a slower, but more consistent /steady kick. Not trying to kick for huge propulsion-- my primary goal is better body position (keeping my hips and feet higher over longer distances). It's difficult trying to keep the arm stroke, breakthing and kicking all in rhythm. Any suggestions?


You pirate, stealing the thread!! haha kidding; I'm happy to answer any questions.

How is your head position? I know that it's really hard to keep your head down when you're doing OWS because you have to sight all the time and wrestle with waves to breathe, but usually, when legs start to sink, or they feel really heavy, it's because the upper 1/2 of your body is not flat on the water. Even though the human body isn't as straight as a board, it has the same general idea. If your head is up, your feet will go down, and vice-versa.

Another thing you may be doing is not rotating your hips enough. The power from your stroke comes all from the hips...both the kick and your pull starts there, as well as the ease of breathing. If your stroke is totally flat, in order to breathe, you either have to lift your head up to the front or the side (which will cause your legs to drop) or you have to crank your neck to the side, which will cause you to pause in your stroke and not be able to get enough air in your lungs, which is just a huge disaster. Unable to find a rhythm makes you panic and, well, mid-lake, that's not good.

A great drill that I always suggest for anyone who is trying to get good body position and great kick in the water is "side kick". You push off the wall (or ground if you're in a lake) and start with your left arm straight, up, your right arm resting at your side, and have your body position all the way facing to the right. Put your face in the water, looking almost straight down at the floor or lake bottom, blowing out bubbles, maintaining a strong, steady kick for about 10 seconds. Then, just turn your so it's technically "straight forward" to take a breath, and then take a stroke and switch to the other side and repeat for a count of 10.

This drill focuses on good head position (down), hip rotation, comfort level in the water, and it'll really let you know how powerful your kick is, or how you kick. If you kick from your knees, this drill will be really difficult, because you won't be using your arms to keep your body on the surface of the water, so if you imitate riding a bike in the water, you'll struggle. A powerful kick starts at your hips, and the rest of your leg joints kind of just finish the kick. Keep your ankles pointed, but not stiffly pointed (that causes cramps!), and you should feel the power come off the tops of your feet to move you forward. This drill also forces you to be very comfortable in the water and RELAX. The slower you do this drill with the arms, the easier it will be. Powerful kick, easy rotation, nice smooth transition from stroke-to-stroke. Also, because you extend one arm up in front of you, that gives you the feel of what every stroke should feel like when you're swimming. The more hip rotation you have, the farther you can reach, and the more powerful each stroke will be. It's because of this drill that Olympic-level swimmers only need to take about 12 strokes in a 25 yard pool....and that they also have ridiculous quads and triangle/football necks.

The master of this drill is the master of OWS.
2013-07-02 10:55 PM
in reply to: BostonSwim41

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?

Katie, your pointers were very helpful.  I am a beginner swimmer and am doing a sprint tri (36 lengths) on July 28.  I almost feel like I start over 'learning' every time I get into the pool and am wondering what in the world I got myself into.  My feet tend to sink as well although I've improved with side breathing rather than 'head up' breathing.  It was suggested to me that I break the water with each kick - is this an efficient kick?

Also, my stroke seems to be fast, but my breathing and/or kick does not keep up and I wind up swallowing water or getting a bunch up my nose (which is worse!) and panic.  Suggestions besides the side kick drill you mentioned to help me feel more comfortable and get a better pace?

Should I be incorporating a kickboard or buoy into my training to focus only on kick or arm stroke?

Help!  Surprised

Thanks!

Katie (too)

2013-07-02 11:44 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
I have no kick to speak of. In fact, when doing a kick drill I sometimes actually move backwards. I kid you not.

More for the bike and run so they say. I have much bigger concerns.



2013-07-02 11:47 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
2013-07-03 12:05 AM
in reply to: mcgilmartin

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?

We have a pool at our house.....every one of my kids could swim across it by the time they were 3.  We considered it a matter of safety and therefore necessity.  It's easy to teach them....they have no fear and can pick it up rather easily.  Admittedly, only one would we let swim on their own....but that video is not surprising to me.

 

2013-07-03 8:12 AM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Katieswim12 has said a lot of what I would say.

The flutter kick should be a 6-beat kick, so think 1-2-3-4-5-6 as you pull with your left arm and right arm. It doesn't have to be a big kick (or you won't get them all in) and it starts in the hips (not the knees). The kick compliments the body roll so you have more power in your pull and it helps keep you "flat" on the water (lifting your head rather than rotating is the biggest reason for your feet to drop).

I do very little kicking with a kickboard like the master's swimmers do. (Right now, I do very little swimming at all...) When I do kicking drills, I usually kick on my back without a kickboard. You can do some kicking on your stomach the same way as well as kick on your side. One of the drills is to switch sides, so kick 6 beats on your left, rotate (kick-kick-kick) and then kick 6 beats on your right, and rotate back (kick-kick-kick). Each rotation can be an arm pull and then pause with your arm extended at the end of the pull next to your hip and then recover like you are swimming. You'll get a feel for when the kick and pull line up as well as when the kick and recovery line up.

2013-07-03 9:16 AM
in reply to: ktldyot

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Originally posted by ktldyot

Katie, your pointers were very helpful.  I am a beginner swimmer and am doing a sprint tri (36 lengths) on July 28.  I almost feel like I start over 'learning' every time I get into the pool and am wondering what in the world I got myself into.  My feet tend to sink as well although I've improved with side breathing rather than 'head up' breathing.  It was suggested to me that I break the water with each kick - is this an efficient kick?

Also, my stroke seems to be fast, but my breathing and/or kick does not keep up and I wind up swallowing water or getting a bunch up my nose (which is worse!) and panic.  Suggestions besides the side kick drill you mentioned to help me feel more comfortable and get a better pace?

Should I be incorporating a kickboard or buoy into my training to focus only on kick or arm stroke?

Help!  Surprised

Thanks!

Katie (too)




Hi fellow Katie! Congrats on the tri sign-up...that's so huge, and you'll be great!

Kicking is seriously the thing that most struggle with, whether they are learning or a veteran. It's REALLY hard to keep your legs up and at a steady pace that doesn't disrupt your stroke. Plus, it doesn't always help that any time you ask an instructor or a trainer regarding kick technique is usually "it all depends on what kind of swimmer you are". What kind of answer is that?

In terms of whether or not your kick should be breaking the water, that depends, but I'll explain.
The more your feet come out of the surface of the water, the easier the kick will be, but the slower you will go.
The more your feet are under the surface of the water, the tougher the kick will be, but it will be more powerful.

You just have to find out what works best for you. I always recommend that the feet slightly break the water (so that you get a little amount of bubbles when your kick goes towards the bottom of the pool). You don't want your entire foot to come up out, but you don't want your entire foot under the water, either, unless you're building strength with a kicking drill/set.

In terms of your stroke being fast and your kick can't keep up and you end up being winded and panicking, you just need to slowwwwwww down. You mentioned that you used to breathe bringing your head up in front of you, so you may not realize that your head position is probably really high, which will make your legs sink, which will make you feel like you have to kick even harder to keep them up, which will force you to move your arms quicker, and holy crap, I'm tired just typing all that out.

Have you ever seen a swimmer doing laps and you think "that person seriously looks like they aren't working at all. They make it look so damn easy...what the hell gives?" What gives is that they are COMPLETELY relaxed in the water. They give absolutely zero F's about what they are doing and what is around them.

So, in addition to the kick drill that I suggested above, I would suggest that you do "catch-up" drill. You can YouTube search for a video on it, but this drill is mastered once you learn how to slowwwwwww down, relax, and work on keeping your feet at the surface.

The way it works is you push off the wall, in the streamline position, and when you surface, look STRAIGHT DOWN AT THE BOTTOM of the pool, and kick a steady pace, but as little as possible. Pull with your first arm, keeping the second arm straight in front of you, until the pulling arm reaches back to the point of being in the streamline position. Then, pull the other arm. You cannot move the second arm until the first one "Catches back up" to it. The point of this drill is to work on hip rotation, work on a long catch, slow down your stroke count, and to learn how it feels to not rely on your legs to keep your hips up. Catch-up is great for body position and getting a feel for having good body position in the water. You can also do this, to start, with a kick board, by holding the kick board at the bottom, moving one arm, and then grabbing the kick board....move the other arm and grab the kick board, and so on.
This is a good video with explanations about catch-up: http://youtu.be/L2ZUMX0qQns

I am a huge fan of using kick boards and pull buoys, but only for a short amount of time in each work out. The kick board is great for doing 25 sprints, and the pull buoy is great for keeping your hips up so you can focus only on relaxing, lengthening your pull and rotating your hips. So, to answer that question, yes! Incorporate!

Sorry, that was a super-long post. I've really hijacked this thread.

2013-07-03 9:17 AM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Originally posted by McFuzz

Katieswim12 has said a lot of what I would say.

The flutter kick should be a 6-beat kick, so think 1-2-3-4-5-6 as you pull with your left arm and right arm. It doesn't have to be a big kick (or you won't get them all in) and it starts in the hips (not the knees). The kick compliments the body roll so you have more power in your pull and it helps keep you "flat" on the water (lifting your head rather than rotating is the biggest reason for your feet to drop).

I do very little kicking with a kickboard like the master's swimmers do. (Right now, I do very little swimming at all...) When I do kicking drills, I usually kick on my back without a kickboard. You can do some kicking on your stomach the same way as well as kick on your side. One of the drills is to switch sides, so kick 6 beats on your left, rotate (kick-kick-kick) and then kick 6 beats on your right, and rotate back (kick-kick-kick). Each rotation can be an arm pull and then pause with your arm extended at the end of the pull next to your hip and then recover like you are swimming. You'll get a feel for when the kick and pull line up as well as when the kick and recovery line up.




This is great advice....I agree!


2013-07-03 11:31 AM
in reply to: KatieSwim12

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
I was in the same boat. While it's not perfect, my kick has improved a lot and a lot of it came with using a front face snorkel. With the snorkel, I worked on just kicking, body rotation drills with kicking, and then swimming drills with kicking. It helped a lot to be able to concentrate on what my feet were doing and not have to think about other things.
2013-07-03 11:46 AM
in reply to: ktldyot

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Originally posted by ktldyot

Katie, your pointers were very helpful.  I am a beginner swimmer and am doing a sprint tri (36 lengths) on July 28.  I almost feel like I start over 'learning' every time I get into the pool and am wondering what in the world I got myself into.  My feet tend to sink as well although I've improved with side breathing rather than 'head up' breathing.  It was suggested to me that I break the water with each kick - is this an efficient kick?

Also, my stroke seems to be fast, but my breathing and/or kick does not keep up and I wind up swallowing water or getting a bunch up my nose (which is worse!) and panic.  Suggestions besides the side kick drill you mentioned to help me feel more comfortable and get a better pace?

Should I be incorporating a kickboard or buoy into my training to focus only on kick or arm stroke?

Help!  Surprised

Thanks!

Katie (too)




Your breathing, kick, and stroke all need to be coordinated. Slow your stroke down some and rotate a little bit more (as your swim speed increases, the trough created by your head gets deeper and you won't have to turn as far to get your mouth out of the water).

If you are getting water up your nose, hum (hummmmmmmmmmmm) The slow, controlled release of air through your nose will keep water out and help you relax! Then, you only have to breathe in when you turn your head.

Mimizing panic comes with confidence. Start by saying to yourself that you won't drown even if you swallow a mouthful of water. As a lifeguard in high-school and college, I taught swim lessons, and I'd joke with the kids that each drink would cost them $0.25 when they came up coughing and sputtering.
2013-07-03 2:16 PM
in reply to: GinaNC

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?
Kick?  what's that?  I'm a fairly good swimmer for a tri guy.  I hit my 100's (yards, not meters), in under 1:10, and my 500's in 6:30.  I have no kick to speak of.  I actually do a little 4 beat kick, which isn't right, but really, I kick just enough to keep my legs up.  For endurance swimming, kicking is very inefficient propulsion.  Do as little of it as is possible.
2013-07-06 3:10 PM
in reply to: KatieSwim12

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Subject: RE: Frustrated w/ swimming...can't seem to get my kick going ?

So helpful - thanks!  I'll incorporate some of these tidbits tomorrow when I swim and let you know how it goes!

Katie

 

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