Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kickboard Techniques that Build Speed

Several years ago I saw two young women with a college team logo on each of their swim caps using kickboards, seemingly gliding along parallel to one another and chatting amiably. What was most interesting was not any of this, but that they were going very fast, and their "efforting" didn't seem to phase them at all. Their conversation was animated and they weren't breathing particularly different than had they been walking down the street. I'm guessing they were averaging one minute per 50 meters. The speed to them seemed inconsequential. Obviously, those two women had some speed secret I did not share.

Ever since, I've striven to have a strong kick. Not to chase the women - though that might come in handy should that pair ever return - but to build up my swimming speed. I devote twenty percent of my workout to the kickboard and have found it has definitely helped my overall swimming performance.

In the several years since I first saw those kickboarding women, I've found a few techniques that have built my speed:
1. Lift my toes out of the water to maximize my leg length and depth of my kick
2. Keep my legs as straight as possible for maximum sized paddle thrust and kick from the hip.
3. Whip my legs like one whips a rope (kick from the hip - see #2). The whip action promotes a stronger leg thrust than your typical back and forth leg motion.
4. Focus on the whole leg rather than the ankles and feet. Feel it in your belly.
5. During the kickboard period - I do it at the end of my workout - do periodic sprints to the point of getting yourself nearly out of breath and legs burning. I use key points in the pool as my starting and stopping points.
6. Don't lie on the kickboard. Push it out in front of you and extend your body to its full length.


  1. AnonymousJuly 31, 2008

    hey, thanks, I'll try it

  2. OMG u took words right out of my mouth- I swim every day and those "ladies" who come and do laps up and down the pool gossiping all the way likes its effortless just amazes me! I can swim tons of laps but I couldn't get the kickboard. I've been working at it unsucessfully for weeks. Well today I tried the "whip" idea and it really

    helped! I did three laps with out putting my foot on the floor! thanks!v


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