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larrydk
November 26th, 2017, 09:44 AM
Ok...here's another newbee question....is there some kind of mnemonic to help me coordinate kicks with my stroke..for instance 2 kicks per stroke...4 kicks per stroke, etc...right now I seem to just be "kicking"

Windrath
November 26th, 2017, 04:16 PM
Larry –

There is no one answer to your question. In freestyle and backstroke, the position of the legs provides counter-balance to the position of the arms. The number of kicks per arm cycle depends on the race distance and the athlete:

Continuous Kick (aka 6 beat kick): This is the optimal kick for speed and connecting the arms with the legs. I think this is what you are probably asking. It is also a challenge for many swimmers. Most swimmers, I think, equate 6 beat kicking with fast swimming. BUT, you can do a 6 beat kick and swim slow if you want. With this kick style, the legs are continuously moving – either up or down. During every arm cycle (both arms), there are 6 downkicks (3 alternating with each foot). There is minimal knee bend. The relative position is when the right arm is out front, the right foot is briefly higher than the left and vice versa. For every downkick with one foot, there is a compensating upkick by the other leg that causes the hips to rotate. The faster the hips change position, the faster the shoulders can change position and the faster the arms can move without shortening the stroke. This kick also results in reduced glide time at the front of the stroke because the arm cycle has to stay in sync with the kick cycle. This is why the fastest swimmers use a 6 beat kick. This kick uses the most amount of oxygen as well.

Three/four Beat Cross-over: This a pretty common kick pattern that looks like three downkicks (alternating R-L-R followed by the feet crossing over at the ankles. The cross over is a compensation for a movement flaw in the rest somewhere in the rest of the body – usually caused during breathing.

Two Beat Kick: This kick cadence means there is one downkick for each arm pull. This tends to be used for longer races to conserve energy. Usually, when the right arm is pulling, the left leg is slightly lower relative to the right leg and vice-versa. Cadence is limited and dependent on the length of one’s stroke. This not a good technique for sprinters.

This Youtube Video link - [URL="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRsF6HN8kmk"] may help a little. It shows a 2 beat and 6 beat kick side by side. The 3-4 beat cross-over is a hybrid. Some coaches suggest over-kicking towards 8 beats per arm cycle. I don’t seen the benefit since it disconnects the arm-leg connection which means you practice poor technique.

Good Luck...

flystorms
November 27th, 2017, 10:01 AM
An interesting drill to do is to put a fin on one foot and a paddle on the opposite hand and swim. You should feel how your feet and hands connect/time together, or not. Do that for a couple of laps, then swap the fins and paddles to the other side and see how it feels. You will be able to detect if you're off a bit.

ourswimmer
November 27th, 2017, 12:39 PM
Do you know how to dance? A six-beat kick is sort of like salsa (L-R-L/R-L-R). Swimming with a snorkel can help you focus on the interplay between legs and arms.

Sojerz
November 27th, 2017, 01:01 PM
An interesting drill to do is to put a fin on one foot and a paddle on the opposite hand and swim. You should feel how your feet and hands connect/time together, or not. Do that for a couple of laps, then swap the fins and paddles to the other side and see how it feels. You will be able to detect if you're off a bit.

We use this drill and also try to coordinate the right hand entry with the downbeat of the left foot and left hand entry with the downbeat of the right foot- emphasizing the downbeat at hand entry seems to help, so it more like a waltz. ONE two three, ONE two three - but opposite feet (downbeat) and hands (entry) coordinated on the beat.

I find this really hard to keep going if I'm not thinking about it and backslide into a customary rhythm.

Karl_S
November 27th, 2017, 01:26 PM
... so it more like a waltz. ONE two three, ONE two three - but opposite feet (downbeat) and hands (entry) coordinated on the beat. ...
OMG, after 40-something years of swimming I now have an explanation for why I can't swim freestyle right, I can't dance! Waltzing is especially impossible. Every time someone has tried to teach me to dance I have found that I am always standing on the foot that is supposed to move. I'm always complaining, "I can't move that foot, I'm standing on it. You have to teach me to move the the foot first so I can stand on that one before I move this one!!" Dancing makes totally no sense to me. This is not a matter of lacking coordination with my feet and legs - I've been a highly successful alpine skier. I know how to move my feet and legs, it's a rhythm thing I guess...

JPEnge
November 28th, 2017, 08:56 AM
I was just thinking about kick cadence this morning - somehow along the line later in my college swimming career, I transitioned to a 2-beat freestyle kick for anything less than fast tempo (or kind of a strange hybrid 2/4-beat gallop thing for 200 pace) and I can't seem to figure my way back into an easy 6-beat. It's weird.

Karl_S
November 28th, 2017, 10:28 AM
... easy 6-beat.
Is there such a thing?

JPEnge
November 28th, 2017, 11:26 AM
Is there such a thing?

There was when I was a 500 freestyler! That's been a few years now though. I think freestyle might be my worst stroke at this point, and may have been in the latter half of my college career too.