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2011-04-15 11:03 PM

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Subject: When kicking is just splashing.
I was at the pool today and while I was going through my stretching, I watched a fellow in the lane next to me. I assumed he was triathlon training. He was wearing a swim cap with some tri logo on the side. He had all the paraphenalia - fins, pull buoy, paddles, even had his workout written on a 3x5 index card.

He grabbed his kickboard and pushed off from the wall to start his kick set. I was surprised to see how slowly he was moving forward, until his momentum from his wall push ended, and he was literally just kicking in place with no forward movement at all! After a few moments of floundering he gave up and walked back to the wall. I never realized that a kick could be so useless. He would be better off just dragging his limp legs behind him.

Now there is a guy sorely in need of some swim lessons.


2011-04-16 1:43 AM
in reply to: #3449773


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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
I did not swim today, it was someone else.
2011-04-16 3:09 AM
in reply to: #3449806

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
Sounds like it was me, but I haven't been to the pool this week either!
2011-04-16 3:19 AM
in reply to: #3449773

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
I've seen some who don't even kick at all. point in case is a guy at my gym that snaps off steady 1:15/100y without kicking once. I've talked with him, and no, its not pull drills, he has professed himself to having lousy swim form, and states that he ends up just kicking his ankles together, so he doesnt bother with the kick. 
2011-04-16 5:14 AM
in reply to: #3449813

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
My kick is crappy.  It is due to a limitation in my ankle dorsiflexion.  I only kick minimally during a race, but I post some pretty decent times.  Throw a wetsuit on me and I am top 25%.
2011-04-16 5:17 AM
in reply to: #3449773

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
I know it wasn't me. I wear fins when I do kick drills.


2011-04-16 5:19 AM
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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
My mother actually starts going backwards when kicking with a board!! seriously. Lifeguards are always intrigued. I almost drown laughing everytime.
2011-04-16 7:27 AM
in reply to: #3449825

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
I don't have a kick either and have been told by coaches not to worry about at this point. I stick with a 2BK and just use it to synch my stroke and avoid creating undo drag. Most of the propulsion is driven by the hips and core and then the shoulders and arms.
2011-04-16 9:02 AM
in reply to: #3449773

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
I can sympathize with that guy. That sounds exactly like me when I was starting out. I was amazed (... and not a little embarrassed) to find myself kicking and going either nowhere or backwards. Things did get better, though still a long way to go.
2011-04-16 9:09 AM
in reply to: #3449773

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.

Only way to get better at kicking is to practice. Many triathletes have problems moving forward just kicking like others said some stall out and some actually move backwards.

I've been working on my kick since November after 7 years of swimming and it's improved.

At least he was working on it. Swim lessons may help but kicking more would likely help.

2011-04-16 9:15 AM
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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.


2011-04-16 10:21 AM
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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
I have no kick propulsion either. The whole point of my kick is to keep my lower body from sinking, but I usually am FOP after the swim. However, depending on the race, I am literally passed by hundreds of people the rest of the race. I might be a little faster in the water if I had a good kick, but I think my time would be more wisely spent elsewhere.
2011-04-16 10:26 AM
in reply to: #3449972

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.

vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 9:15 AM How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.

It sounds crazy but it happens. when your ankles are so in-flexible or are not pointed at all, the downward kicking motion actually pushes the water forward, which pushes you backwards.

2011-04-16 1:30 PM
in reply to: #3449972

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 9:15 AMHow is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.
No idea. I can do it. Had a swim coach who also trained synchro swimmers and he wasn't at all surprised.
2011-04-17 5:20 PM
in reply to: #3449773

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
Yeah- like others here I can attest it is indeed (embarassingly) possible to go nowhere fast or even backwards..I too have a useless kick-inflexible ankles..I will continue to work on it, but I spend just as much time working on the rest of my stroke because i think that that's where I will actually see some improvement...It is very frustrating !!!!!!
2011-04-17 5:41 PM
in reply to: #3450038

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.

Turnin2 - 2011-04-16 11:21 AM I have no kick propulsion either. The whole point of my kick is to keep my lower body from sinking, but I usually am FOP after the swim. However, depending on the race, I am literally passed by hundreds of people the rest of the race. I might be a little faster in the water if I had a good kick, but I think my time would be more wisely spent elsewhere.

I'd love to see coaches weigh in here. Jorge?  Shane? 

Background: I'm a top 15% swimmer in every race. I swim most races knowing that I could draft, not use much leg, and get out of the water in fine shape. So my practice, for the last 5 years, has consisted of a LOT of 1:25ish 100M laps with just balancing, 2-beat kick, almost pull-buoy type workouts. I drank the kool-aid - I subscribed to the 'If you don't need it in the race, you shouldn't do it' mantra.

I might have been wrong.

Earlier this year, I started throwing in some kick sets, just to see. More specifically, between 1/8 and 1/4 of my workouts were kick. Here's what I noticed: 1) swim times dropped, and by quite a bit, 2) core strength went up by quite a bit - dunno how that translates into bike or run, but it can't hurt, and 3) I'm no longer afraid of kicking hard to get past someone, around a pack, whatever.

I might be right, I might be wrong. But it's what I think. Kick is in my training arsenal until someone shows me why it's not smart, or it doesn't yield results. Today, it works, for me, and with very minimial time investment. If there's DATA to show why it's not smart, I'm all ears. Philosophy at this point is < my experience, tho, and why I'm looking for data.  Hopefully some of the analytic folks can weigh in.



2011-04-17 6:34 PM
in reply to: #3449972

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 10:15 AM How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.
Point your foot/toes 90 degress from your leg (like you were standing on flat ground).  Someone needs to tell these people to point their feet back.
2011-04-17 8:15 PM
in reply to: #3451407

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
bwalling - 2011-04-17 7:34 PM
vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 10:15 AM How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.
Point your foot/toes 90 degress from your leg (like you were standing on flat ground).  Someone needs to tell these people to point their feet back.
.
????
Are you saying you SHOULD have your feet at right angles to your leg?? Or are you saying what I've been hearing more commonly-and what is tough for those of us with tight calves & inflexible ankles..to POINT your toes ..like a toe ballet dancer??? 
2011-04-18 7:14 AM
in reply to: #3451540

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
isis - 2011-04-17 9:15 PM
bwalling - 2011-04-17 7:34 PM
vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 10:15 AM How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.
Point your foot/toes 90 degress from your leg (like you were standing on flat ground).  Someone needs to tell these people to point their feet back.
.
????
Are you saying you SHOULD have your feet at right angles to your leg?? Or are you saying what I've been hearing more commonly-and what is tough for those of us with tight calves & inflexible ankles..to POINT your toes ..like a toe ballet dancer??? 
The question was how it was possible to go backwards while kicking.  If you keep your feet at 90 degrees (like you were standing up), you can go backwards while kicking.  I'm not suggesting you kick that way - I'm just answering the question of how it is possible to go backwards.
2011-04-18 8:58 AM
in reply to: #3449773

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.

I wouldn't judge someone's swim by just the kick.  There are many out there who are pretty fast even with a terrible kick.  

2011-04-18 10:20 AM
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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.

vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 9:15 AM How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.

Quite simply, they are bicycling in the water.  It's got nothing to do with the ankles.  They just move their hip and knee joints in the wrong sychronization so that the knee goes up when the foot goes down and vice versa.

When I see this I usually just tell the person to lock out one of the 2 joints at first....usually the knee.  If they lock the knee and kick only from the hip it gets better.  The other thing to try is to grab a pull buoy and kick WITH the buoy.  They will have to hold the thighs still and use only knee to pull that off.  Both ways they will move forward. 

From there you have them put it together, but with an emphasis on making the knee and foot move forward together.

 



2011-04-18 1:20 PM
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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
JeffY - 2011-04-18 10:20 AM

vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 9:15 AM How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.

Quite simply, they are bicycling in the water.  It's got nothing to do with the ankles.  They just move their hip and knee joints in the wrong sychronization so that the knee goes up when the foot goes down and vice versa.

When I see this I usually just tell the person to lock out one of the 2 joints at first....usually the knee.  If they lock the knee and kick only from the hip it gets better.  The other thing to try is to grab a pull buoy and kick WITH the buoy.  They will have to hold the thighs still and use only knee to pull that off.  Both ways they will move forward. 

From there you have them put it together, but with an emphasis on making the knee and foot move forward together.

 

Well, I guess we'll just have to disagree on this one and I'll leave it at that.

 

2011-04-18 9:07 PM
in reply to: #3451927

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
bwalling - 2011-04-18 8:14 AM
isis - 2011-04-17 9:15 PM
bwalling - 2011-04-17 7:34 PM
vabeachnut1 - 2011-04-16 10:15 AM How is it possible to go BACKWARD while kicking? Seems to defy basic physics.
Point your foot/toes 90 degress from your leg (like you were standing on flat ground).  Someone needs to tell these people to point their feet back.
.
????
Are you saying you SHOULD have your feet at right angles to your leg?? Or are you saying what I've been hearing more commonly-and what is tough for those of us with tight calves & inflexible ankles..to POINT your toes ..like a toe ballet dancer??? 
The question was how it was possible to go backwards while kicking.  If you keep your feet at 90 degrees (like you were standing up), you can go backwards while kicking.  I'm not suggesting you kick that way - I'm just answering the question of how it is possible to go backwards.

Whew! lol..thanks  for clarifying!!! 
2011-04-18 9:13 PM
in reply to: #3449773

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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.
In my envy...I've watched closely the kickers..isolating just the kick..those whose feet point so that their feet are in a straight line with their shins and "loose" move forward... feet looking a little like fins..yes the knee flexes but doesn't  do a 90 bend and move up & down..and the timing has to be right to work with the side to side roll.....
 
2011-04-19 4:51 PM
in reply to: #3449773


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Subject: RE: When kicking is just splashing.

I'm one of those people that can't kick 25m without fins. My ankles are inflexible as hell, I can probably only bend them 10-20 degrees past the standing position. For this I blame not swimming at all since middle school, plus 4 years of ski racing in college and two consecutive winters of 100+ ski days with super stiff race boots. Having one's ankle held rigidly pointing slightly up all day isn't exactly conducive to developing flexibility! I've really struggled with the freestyle kick while training for my first tri, I'm usually fine for the first 100-200 but then I get tired and my legs revert to flailing, which just makes me more tired.

I'd be interested in hearing how other people have managed to overcome this and develop a kick that at least keeps the legs up and doesn't consume all my oxygen. I've tried doing ankle flexibility stretches (circles etc.) but haven't seen results yet. Also, would I be better off spending time just kicking against the wall without fins or doing kickboard sets with zoomers?

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