Open Water & Pool Coaching Videos

Two Beat Kick

The transition from pool to open water can be a difficult one. Your stroke in the pool may not be as laid back and leisurely as it is in open water. One of the reasons for this is the kick.

We all admire those long, elegant strokes in the pool. You know the ones; they glide effortlessly through the water, with barely a ripple. But you rarely see this at the Olympics. Whilst kicking only assists with 15% of your propulsion in the water, an Olympic athlete needs to draw every assistance he can get from any available source. This is why a sprint swimmer will usually be kicking hard and fast too. He needs to get to the end and win!

To gain an effortless stroke in the pool, the kick only needs to be a two beat one. If each kick has a strong backwards kick, then this will help with better body positioning and promote a faster swim. This can also be effective in open water, ideal for keeping a good body position especially if you find your legs drop. It's a good kick to learn as you can transfer the skills from pool to open water and vice versa if you prefer the pool in the winter.

When we are coaching in the sea, we focus on the four points of breathing, body position, rotation and arm action. Many people are unaware that as little as 15% of propulsion comes from the kick so we advise you not to kick at all. The salt in the sea keeps you buoyant and in the correct body position, more so if you are wearing a wetsuit. But if you're a natural kicker or you are finding your legs are dropping in open water, then this kick is great to add in, yet keep that super smooth, efficient stroke.

Keeping your ankles flexible is an important part of the kick. You want to be pushing the water backwards instead of kicking it down. If your ankles are not very flexible then you will create a drag through the water.

Exercises will help to keep your ankles flexible and it is a good idea to add a few dryland exercises as well as practicing your kick. Below is a video of some exercises that will benefit you. You only need to do these exercises once or twice a week and I promise you will see an improvement in your flexibility after just a few weeks. This improvement will transfer itself into a better body position while swimming and also faster swim times.

You may be asking what is a two beat kick?  Some people have been taught that it is a fast double kick as each arm is stretching out over the water, but if you're wanting a smooth, effortless looking stroke it is just as effective to have one strong kick on the leg opposite to the arm that is entering the water. Or if you find that your coordination doesn't allow for this, use the same leg, same arm. If you consciously think about Arm and leg, then you will soon get the hang of when to kick regardless of which leg you use.

When your foot goes downward in the water you should be flicking your toes so the water is being pushed backwards, to drive you faster through the water. This drives the hip rotation, and leads to an all round better stroke. You may find that it feels like learning to swim all over again. But stick with it. The reward is a faster time for less output as opposed to a 4 beat or 6 beat kick.

As with any technique of stroke, always slow your stroke down so you can concentrate on the part you are training.

Have a look at this amazing video of the most graceful freestyle. Look out for the two beat kick! 😲

If you require any coaching in this or any other part of your stroke, just get in touch. We are always ready to help

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