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by Dustin Poe

March 19, 2014

Two more ways to fire up your kick

There have been a lot of great articles on how to improve your kick lately. (Coach Scott Bay has written several posted here, here, and here to name just a few.) Once you have a great kick, it's time to incorporate it into your stroke cycle.

I focus on it because some people have great kicks, but when you take away the kick board and ask them to swim, their kick disappears faster than a fair weather swimmer on a cold day. So how do we get the lower half of the body to work with the upper half? We've had great success with these two back-to-basics drills.

Three-Stroke Breathing

Try kicking on your stomach with your head in the water, face down, and arms in streamline. When it's time to breathe, take three strokes. Breathe at some point within the three strokes and go back into your streamline kick. Did your kick stop during your breath? It shouldn’t! Keep at it. When you swim freestyle, try to notice if your kick falls off when you turn your head to breathe. If so, you're probably scissor kicking and fighting to find balance. Keep the kick compact and steady, and you’ll find better balance and alignment in the water.

Blast-Off Drill

This drill (usually done as 25s) starts off with a streamline kick, face down. Build your kick to a fast tempo and when you get halfway across the pool, your legs should really be firing. At this point, begin stroking with your arms as well. The goal is to add your arms without any pause in your kick. From there, just swim to the wall with your newfound kick. It can be hard to get this down, but focus on carrying that kick into the swim. Once you get your legs working with your arms, the sky’s the limit. Be patient with it, and you’ll get there.


  • Technique and Training


  • Kicking
  • Breathing
  • Stroke Technique
  • Drills