Before you try to tell me I’m wrong, I know that at least 75% of you have thought to yourselves: “If I don’t kick during my swim, I’ll save that much energy to use for my legs during my bike and run.”
And you know what? I can’t blame you. On paper, that makes complete sense. But actually that is a terrible idea. And you’ll only be hurting yourself if you do it.
A consistent kick is key to keeping proper body positioning, maintaining rotation, and preventing unnecessary drag from your legs sinking and being pulled behind you.
Think of it this way. Have you ever tried to run while keeping your arms motionless and straight at your sides? If you have, please tell me there is video, because I bet that is a sight to see. But seriously, imagine running without the aid of your arms. Not pretty, and it definitely isn’t efficient.
The same goes for your kick in swimming. Your kick rounds out your stroke and keeps the rest of your body/arms in line with what they need to be doing.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to go all out and be crazy with your kick either. There’s a sweet spot we’re looking for here.
How do you find that sweet spot, you ask? Well, that’s what practice is for! You need to find a pace that you can maintain for the length of your swim that isn’t detrimental to your energy stores and promotes a balanced and efficient swim. A small kick that stays up at the surface of the water, is driven from your hips, and doesn’t create too much of a splash is what you’re looking for.
The pace is going to be different for everyone. So don’t just ask a friend how they kick during their swim and try to copy them. Chances are it’s not going to be right for you.
So, put in the time to find that sweet spot. Don’t throw this email aside and keep on not-kicking. If you do, the time and effort you’re putting into work on technique and all the other aspects of your swim will have been a waste.