|Feet, the pepper of swimming|
Now you know a part of the very basic principle of how you go forward during flutter kick, but it is not that simple. What part of the leg and foot do you move and when etc. etc.? These are the questions that need to be answered in order for you to understand how the proper freestyle kick is done. So, let's break it down a little bit more.
|Swim kick - keep it in the bucket|
To practice the freestyle kick motion as described above, you should first try the wrong approach, so that you can feel how it should not be done. You have already tried the bicycle kick as I mentioned above and probably the scissor kick, so you know how they feel. Bad. Now, try kicking only from your knees. Pretend as if you are laying on the floor face down and you bend your knee with your heel to your butt and then kick down with your foot to the ground and continue doing so. You will feel certain propulsion forward, but you also find that you are forced to lift your feet out of the water which forces your lower body further down into the water which is not an ideal body position. Then you can try the other extreme, where you try kicking with straight knees and only with your hips. You will find that with this kick you will not go anywhere and your legs will more than likely quickly kick themselves all the way to the bottom of the pool. If you combine these two wrong kick types (hip only and knee only) and meet somewhere in the middle, you should be very close to having the right kick. Try starting out with straight legs and only using your hips to kick and then slowly loosen up your knee joint, so your leg from knee down gives in a little when you kick down.
Last, but not least, you might be wondering how wide the kick should be. Easy as 1, 2, 3; just imagine that your feet are in a bucket and you cannot kick past the outer perimeter. So we are talking about 30 cm or 12 inches apart at most. So stay away for spreading your legs like wings of a bald eagle.
There are a couple of great tools which you can use to improve your kicking. First, forget about a kickboard and do all the kicking in a tree log position. Second, you can use special fins which help you with balance and with lifting your hips to the surface. These leg fins are called shinfins. Finally, if you have mastered the basics, why not try out zoomers. Zoomers will add more power into your kick.
I've covered only the basics here, so rest assured there is a bit more to freestyle kicking than just what is written in this post, however, if you master the kicking basics, the rest is much, much easier to learn.
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