How can I correct my pupils leg kick?
I am wondering how can I correct my pupils legs kick? One of the new kids on my team this year is now able to swim freestyle, but her kick is still incorrect. She is bending her knees and kicking from them rather than her hips. I have attempted to correct her multiple times at each practice, but her kick never changes.
I have tried kicking her legs for her in the water and on deck. I have also clearly explaining what she is doing wrong and how to fix it. I am now at a loss for what to do. She is only 5 or 6, so I certainly do not expect perfection, but I can tell that she's struggling due to her inefficient kick.
I also don't want her to start a bad swimming habit. Is there anything else that I can do to correct her kick? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I’m completely with you on this one! There is nothing more frustrating than explaining and demonstrating until you are blue in the face, and still your swimmer continues to swim as if they have not heard a word.
You are of course right to not expect perfection, especially at that age but there are a couple of approaches you might want to try.
Over Exaggerate Your Point
Teach her to kick with her knees locked out so that her legs are completely straight, encouraging her to ‘kick like a robot’ or ‘kick with robot legs’. We know that technically this is incorrect, but you will be over exaggerating the point you are attempting to teach. The fact that she kicks naturally from the knee means that you
may have to exaggerate the opposite and this may result in a leg kick that looks somewhere near correct.
Easier To Copy Than To Interpret
Get her to practice the kick sitting on the poolside looking at her legs and kick on her back with a swim noodle under her arms, head up slightly, once again looking at her legs. Quite often children that find it difficult to process verbal instruction find it very easy to process and copy something they can see.
If she gets it somewhere near right on the poolside and on her back, get her then to repeat it with her eyes closed and remember how it feels. Then see if she can transpose it onto her front.
Patience Is A Must
If after all this you are still at a loss then good old fashioned patience will prevail. I have seen it over the years so many times, you think a pupil will never be able to perform a stroke correctly and then after a while, sometimes a couple of years, it all falls into place.
You have to concede sometimes that some children just do not have the ability to do what you are asking of them at their current age, no matter how hard they try for you. Then they reach an age when something suddenly clicks into place and your years of patience and careful teaching pay off.
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contains over 80 separate exercises each with common mistakes and relevant teaching points. You can download it instantly, print out the parts you need and keep them with you on poolside. Click below to find out more.
Front crawl leg kick - correction or elimination. Which comes first?
by Harry Peacock
(Flintshire, North Wales, UK)
I read with interest (if not sympathy) the contribution from the teacher whose young pupil could just not keep her legs straight when performing frontcrawl leg kick after numerous attempts at finding a solution to the problem.
And therein actually lie’s the problem. You are trying to solve the problem before you remove it.
Try asking her to keep the legs still and straight, and swim arms only. Just tell her; “knees together, ankles together.” I know this will fly in the face of orthodox teaching, but there are times when you just have to think well outside of ‘the box’ to get the desired effect – think ‘cause and effect'.
With patience, you will find this exercise quite achievable (after initially getting a rather surprised look), although keep an eye out for the legs sinking a little, especially if your swimmer tends to hold a high head position.
When swimming with arms only is achieved, a leg action will naturally develop as a 're-action' to the arm stroke, in conjunction with the longitudinal rotation of the shoulders. A little like the Australian 2-beat leg kick of the 1960s 70s, although this type of kick will serve only as balance to the stroke as a whole.
In time, she should be able to increase the frequency of the kick to a more orthodox 4 or 6 beat kick.
I can’t be sure how long ago your article was submitted and maybe you have a resolve by now, but there could well be others out there who may benefit from the methods outlined above.I hope so.
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