Some of the most common stroke errors actually require only very basic changes in thought. In addition, elite swimmers make many of the same errors that are seen in swimmers who are just beginning their careers. One of the most common examples of this is the inability to use both sides of the dolphin kick. Sometimes this issue is hard to diagnose, as you can still be very fast at kicking with a board even without proper technique. Kicking in this manner can leave a lot of speed in the water and add precious time to every one of your swims.
As mentioned, recognizing an imbalanced kick is not always easy. Kicking on your side is generally the best way to determine how effectively the kick is being used. Kicking in this position allows you to see each side of the kick and the way that the body is aligned during this movement. Instructing your swimmers to use both the up and down-kicks will allow them to generate more force when they eventually move to their stomachs or their backs.
Once this becomes comfortable, instruct the athletes to practice kicking in both directions in their normal streamline position. Whether you’re practicing the kicks on the stomach or back, there will a tendency to practice old habits as it is more comfortable. Instruct the swimmer to hold a tight streamline position and to kick using both the core and the legs. Rather than falling back into a single-sided leg drive, an exaggerated undulation of the hips is appropriate when learning the proper kicking technique.
Adding a training tool to this process will help the swimmer develop faster. The surface area increased by using fins, especially a monofin, allows the swimmer to feel the amount of water being dispersed from each side of the kick. It is generally a good idea to start with a slower kick rate and large undulations before moving towards a more rapid tempo, as the hip motion is often lost at higher rates.
FINIS made the first monofin nearly 20 years ago and is proud to offer this outstanding piece of equipment at an affordable price. Kick start the New Year by making the fundamental shift that will change your swimming forever.
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