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The past 4-6 months have been the endurance phase of our training program. We’ve been doing more miles in the pool and higher intensity work. One thing which occurred to me is the poor kicking technique and strength in most swimmers.

Sprinters must have a strong kick. To swim sub 30 for 50m freestyle it can be hard to do without a powerful kicking technique. Longer distance swimmers don’t rely on their kick as much as they do their body rotation and pull, so many triathletes can get away with not working on their kick in training. If you are swimming anything under 400m it’s best for you to work on your kick. One of the best drills to strengthen kicking power is vertical kick. Here we see Sam performing a vertical kicking progression:

  1. Arms crossed at chest

Arms crossed vertical kick

2. Hands on head

Hands on head vertical kick

3. Arms raised

Forearms out vertical kick

4. Streamlined

Streamline vertical kick

My squad will normally do 4 x 1 min with 30 secs rest inbetween. We do each step in the progression for 15 secs each. So 15 secs arms crossed, 15 secs hands on head, 15 secs forearms out and 15 secs streamlined. If you are just starting out, begin with arms crossed at chest and only progress once you’ve been doing the drill for a few days in a row.

One thing to note is there are only three types of kicks you should be doing with vertical kick.

  1. Freestyle
  2. Butterfly (flutter kick)
  3. Breakstroke

I sometimes see new swimmers doing egg-beater kick just because they’re new to the drill. Most people should start with freestyle kick and once they increase their endurance, then move onto butterfly kick or breastroke kick.

Once you can really master your kick, you’ll notice the huge difference it will make in your swim speed. It will feel like you have a jet engine propelling you along which you can switch on and off at will. Always remember, perfect practice makes perfect!

If you have any questions about this drill don’t hesitate to comment on this post 🙂


“Swimming fast and smooth does not have to be hard and difficult!”

Hi there!

I would like to congratulate you for taking the time out of your day to look for new ways to improve your swimming. When I was 16 years old I had a hunger for swimming knowledge. I wanted to know what it took to swim fast and beat the others, and I had a ferocious curiosity for any tips which would help me get ahead.

Smooth freestyle

Smooth freestyle

Have you ever scoured the internet for hours on end looking for the once peice of advice that would make the difference in your swimming?

I’ve spent countless hours reading books, watching DVD’s and searching the internet and talking to top level coaches and swimmers in search for new ways to help others improve their swimming. Right now you’re probably wondering who I am, right?

My name is Brenton and I’ve had swimming in my genes for longer than I can remember. My grandfather was a swimming coach for most of his life and ran an outdoor 50 meter pool in the Gippsland area. You couldn’t walk past a person in the town who didn’t know who he was. His dark sun-worn skin and thick Austrian accent couldn’t be mistaken.

I grew up around pools, with my dad being a dedicated swimming coach and my mum teaching children to learn to swim. Now my parents own a learn to swim business and continue to coach at the local swimming club which has had huge success for a country club.

In my own swimming, I’ve made national finals and competed at a national level for 8 years. Two years ago I found my passion for coaching. I love helping other people completely change their swimming, and the look on their face once they finally ‘get it’ is invaluable. Sounds corny? Maybe, but I can tell you that the dozens of swimmers I’ve helped over the past 2 years has been incredibly satisfying and the results they’ve got have been outstanding. So, what does all this have to do with your thinking?

Effortless Swimming was created so that you could receive all the latest updates about swimming technique, skills, practice programs and everything else swimming related. If your only starting out or if you have 20 years experience makes no difference. With the right knowledge and the right skills, anyone can acheive the level of success they desire in the pool. I’ve seen it happen no matter what age, body shape , body type, height or sex you might be. If you really want to swim like the top 5% who do it well and leave the 95% behind, it can be done.

Once again, congratulations on taking the first step on your journey of learning to swim like a champion! I look forward to working with you for years and years to come.

To your swimming,

Brenton Ford

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