Go back to school! Erase the smelly, crowded hallways of your high school from your mind and imagine yourself under the Islamorada sun in a clear pool ready to absorb knowledge that will enable you to swim faster. Swim School from Gary Hall Sr. of The Race Club is about lifelong enjoyment of the sport. It’s always more fun to swim to your potential.
Practice makes perfect. You cannot develop a fast freestyle or dolphin kick without a lot of hard work. But the rewards are great. Here are five of my best tips for developing a stronger, faster kicking speed.
1. Increase plantar flexibility of the ankleThis simply means that the ankles must be loose and the toes need to be able to point a long way down. Great plantar flexibility is a must have for fast free and dolphin kicking, but it alone does not guarantee a fast kick. The good news is that the ligaments in the ankle controlling this motion are fairly small and subject to quick change. Dryland exercises are the best way to improve this motion. We recommend sitting on the tops of the feet with the knees in the air for extended periods to stretch these ligaments. One can also do ankle push-ups yoga style to stretch the ankle. I have also found by placing the feet under a low-lying couch and straightening the legs while leaning back will put a great stretch on the ankle.
2. Increase the strength of your kicking muscles
3. Practice lots of kicking
4. Kick with alignment board and snorkel
In summary, do not underestimate the power of the kick to help you with your swimming speed. To develop a strong kick requires a sustained program incorporating drills, tough kicking sets and dryland exercises. If you need assistance, let us help you set up the kicking program. Stay the course and you will see great improvement in both kicking and swimming speed.
Gary Hall Sr.
Gary Hall Sr., M.D. is a three-time Olympic swimmer (‘68, ‘72, ‘76) who earned a medal in each of the three Olympic Games. At one time he held 10 world records in all strokes except breaststroke and was the World Swimmer of the year in 1969 and 1970.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.