While we’re in lockdown here in Melbourne, swimming lessons are on hold and our kids can undoubtedly, and unfortunately, lose their skills gained in regular lessons. It’s not ideal, let’s face it. But we know a little practice at home will keep those swimming legs kicking nice and strong. Let us show you how to practice kicking at home. In your pj’s if you like. No, really!
Let’s get started.
First things first, let’s talk about the different kicks:
We’re talking flutter and fly kick (they sound like a range of insects, but they’re not) and Survival Backstroke/Breaststroke/Whip Kick. These are all kicks that we use for our 4 main swimming strokes and they each have a role in making our swimming powerful. These tips do not guarantee your child will be perfect after a week, however it could help them to get a better understanding of what the teacher is trying to teach them when we head back to the pool.
Flutter kick is the kick we use for freestyle and backstroke, it looks like an alternating up and down motion. Grab a chair and sit on the edge. You can also use the couch if you find it more comfortable. Legs out, nice and straight from your hips to your toes while you hold on to the sides of the chair for stability. Keeping your legs close together, move up and down in small motions, keeping the ankles bendy. See the below video from our Nunawading Swim School Coordinator, Robyn showing us how it’s done.
Quite often the issue we find in swimming lessons is that the kick is too far under the water. By laying on the bed or sitting in a chair we are focusing on lifting the leg to kick, rather than kicking down, kicking from the hips to use the whole leg.
This could help improve your child’s technique in their flutter kick!
Survival Backstroke/Breaststroke/Whip Kick
This one is a little trickier, but can be practiced at home on the couch while watching tv. The biggest issue we see when assessing this kick in our swimming lessons is that students lead with their knees because that feels more natural than turning out their feet. The main push comes from the sole of the foot so it is really important that the students lead with their feet flexed up then push forward through the water.
Start with legs straight out, feet should be flexed, making a ‘V’ shape like a penguin.
Next, keeping your thighs straight, bend your knees, lowering your feet to just past a 90-degree angle (don’t bring your knees up to your chest, this is a common error).
Your feet should stay flexed throughout the stroke. Leading with your flexed feet, open your ankles and create a circle to bring your legs back around into the first position of straight legs.
Also known as dolphin kick, this is a kick that we often use in games at the conclusion of our lessons. A way to practice this at home is to stand up, put your hands on your hips and press your hips forwards and backwards. When completing our fly kick, our power comes from using our hips so it is important that we practice using our hips, rather than just bending our knees to try and get power.
Have you been told by your team leader that your child in Turtle Silver/Gold or Penguin Bronze swimming programs needs to work on their kicking, bringing up their legs? Have you been told that your child needs to lead with their feet in their kick? If you follow these tips and tricks it could help your child practice between, or while we are without swimming lessons, to improve their technique.
All you need is a bit of space and some determination to get started! Remember, the only way to become proficient at any skill or sport is through practice. Whether it’s breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle or butterfly stroke—or all four—the key thing when learning these swim styles is that anyone can do them with just a little patience and persistence. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try at home and start kicking those legs!