Developing a Kick for your Triathlon Swim

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A confusing issue for many triathlon swimmers is how often to kick in the swim?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

Many coaches and swimmers want to focus on a “beat” kick. You will hear “develop a 3-beat kick” around swimming circles. This may work well for some people. But let’s look at some points:

1. How many kicks per stroke you take should not be one of your priorities when developing your freestyle for a triathlon swim. This isn’t to say it is of no importance, but there are many aspects to swimming that are of far higher importance, especially if you are a beginner.

2. It is more important to find a kick that is comfortable for you than one that is the “standard”. Kicking is primarily for hip rotation and balance rather than propulsion. To have a powerful kick in triathlon or distance swim is not near as advantageous as it would be in a sprint.

3. Start with 6 Kicks per Stroke drill and come down from there. Do a 50 kicking 6 times for every stroke. Repeat and do 5 kicks for each stroke on the next 50. Drop down the kicks until you feel comfortable.

Don’t get overly obsessed with your number of kicks! This is a minor issue in the grand scheme of swimming technique. As technical as freestyle can get, if you haven’t perfect your stroke in balance and efficiency otherwise, I suggest putting kicks per stroke on the back burner!