How to Kick When Swimming Freestyle - Top Tips In 2023

Kicking is an essential part of any swimming stroke. The proper kicking technique secures balance and stability, good body position, and propulsion in the water.

In this article, you'll learn:

1. How to Improve your kicking?

2. Best kicking drills.

3. And more.
    If you want to learn how to swim with a proper technique, this article will deliver top-notch tips that will 100% improve your swimming. My name is Dan. I'm an all-American swimmer and the owner of NYC based swim school.

    Let's make some splashes.
      Danila Novikov
      I am an All-American swimmer . My expert tips, techniques, and drills will propel you to new heights, whether you are trying to learn something new or improve your skills.
      flutter kick swimming

      What is Flutter Kick? Pro Swimmer Explained

      The flutter kick is the most popular and straightforward way to use your legs while swimming, commonly used in freestyle and backstroke. It can also be incorporated into some breaststroke techniques.
        how to flutter kick
        Before we learn how to produce a strong flutter kick, let's understand why the proper kicking technique is so important. Don't get me wrong; propulsion is essential, but there are more critical functions flutter kicking can give you.

          Flutter Leg Kicks: Why Is It Important?

          Flutter kicking helps you to maintain the proper body position, balance, and stability inside the water. The proper kicking technique helps your legs to stay closer to the surface on the same level as the rest of your body. The closer your body stays to the surface, the smaller the drag and the more effortful swimming becomes.
            how to freestyle kick

            How To Perform Flutter Kick

            Positioning yourself the proper way in the water is crucial. Start by floating and maintaining a face-down position while kicking. Keep your body streamlined while trying to propel forward. This position is called prone floating. If you want to learn how to float in the water in 6 easy steps, check out this article.

            The flutter kicks are produced with both legs moving up and down one at a time. As you kick one leg up, you kick another down, and vice versa. Your hips are the driving force and help you to initiate the kicks. Your ankles work like propellers and create propulsion in the water.

            Your flutter kick consists of 2 phases. There is an upward kick and the downward kick. Both phases are initiated with the hips and get the whole leg involved. Make sure to create propulsion while performing both the upward and the downward beats.

            The downward phase of the kick is produced with the help of your quads and hip flexors. As your foot makes contact with the water during the downbeat, your ankle and foot will naturally extend, propelling you forward with each kick.
              freestyle kick technique
              When it comes to the upward beat, it's all about those glutes and hamstrings! These muscles team up to give your kick the boost to power through the water. The goal is to drive your legs up until your heels and toes come close to the surface or break the skin of the water. Consider getting your hills and toes out of the water to create more propulsion.

                Drills That Will Improve Your Flutter Kick (Proven).

                Want to swim with an efficient and powerful kick? Here is a set of freestyle kick drills that will teach you how to kick faster with less effort.

                  Drill 1. Standing.

                  Turn towards the wall with your side and grab it with one hand. While standing on one leg, move your entire leg back and forth while keeping your knee and ankle joints relaxed.

                  This drill should help you get your entire leg involved in kicking.
                    freestyle kicking drill

                    Drill 2. Stomach on the wall.

                    Position your stomach against the wall, allowing your hips and legs to remain in the water. Maintain a steady kicking rhythm and strive to keep your legs as loose as possible.

                    This drill improves your motion and rhythm while also keeping your legs relaxed.
                      freestyle kicking drill

                      Drill 3. Wall bracket.

                      Hold the gutter with one hand and bend your elbow slightly. Use your other hand to press down on the pool wall below the water line. Keep your fingers pointed down and your elbow straight. Perform the relaxed rhythmic kicks.

                      This drill helps you to maintain and stimulate the proper position in the water without the need to float. It can be done with your face submerged or above the surface.
                        freestyle kicking drill

                        Drill 4. Wall face in the water

                        Hold the gutter with both hands and maintain your face in the water. Maintain consistent kicks while keeping your knees and ankles relaxed. Get your head out of the water and breathe when you have to.

                        This exercise will help you to practice kicking while floating and having support at the same time.
                          freestyle kicking drill

                          Drill 5. Altering the rhythm.

                          Alter your kicking rhythm. Do 8-12 kicks with slower and more relaxed rhythms 1-2, 1-2. Pick up your rhythm and go faster 1-2-3-4,1-2-3-4.

                          This drill can enhance your kicking efficiency and assist in identifying the optimal rhythm.

                          It's important to note that continuous fast kicking is not mandatory, as it requires more energy and can affect your swimming ability for longer distances.
                            freestyle kicking drills

                            Drill 6. Vertical kick.

                            Get to the deeper side of the pool. Inhale and position yourself vertically in the water. Your entire body should stay in the water. Keep your whole body aligned. Drive your kicks from your hips and allow your ankles to create propulsion that will cause your body to stay on the same level.

                            This drill helps create propulsion for the flutter kick's up and down phases.
                              freestyle kicking drills

                              Drill 7. Kick on the side.

                              Grab a kickboard and put one arm on top of it. Rotate your entire body to a 90-degree angle so it looks like you are gliding on your side. Keep your head in the water, including your ear and cheek, allowing your nose and mouth to stay out. Move the water with your whole leg back and forth while keeping your knees and ankles relaxed.

                              This drill helps you to get a different perspective on flutter kicking and allows you to build a good platform for freestyle breathing.
                                front crawl kick videos

                                Drill 8. Kicking and rotating.

                                Keep your face in the water and look down while changing the direction you move your legs. Drive your rotation and kicks from your hips while keeping your joints relaxed.

                                Using this technique, you can determine the propulsion in the water by flutter-kicking on your side and learn to rotate your hips which is crucial for freestyle.
                                  freestyle kicking drills

                                  BONUS: Tips that will improve your kick and give it more power.

                                  Kicking is a crucial part of any swimming strokes. Here are some tips that math help you to bring your kicking skills to the whole new level.

                                    Tip 1. Keep your kicks narrow.

                                    Keep your kicks shallow instead of attempting too deeply under the water. The deeper you kick, the greater the resistance you'll encounter, requiring more effort

                                      Tip 2. Relax your legs!

                                      For maximum propulsion during both the up and down beats, keeping your knee and ankle joints as relaxed as possible is crucial for better mobility. When you let those joints do their job without restrictions, you can cover more distance with every single kick
                                        swim tips for kick

                                        Tip 3. Track your rhythm.

                                        Count your kicks to ensure you kick with the same rhythm to create a consistent, steady motion inside the water. 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4...

                                          Tip 4. Pay attention to the sound.

                                          Pay attention to the sound of your kicks. It can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of your kick without an experienced coach. However, you can rely on the sound they produce in the water. The correct technique has a boiling sound, while an incorrect one sounds more like banging.

                                            Tip 5. Keep it slow.

                                            Slow down your kicks. Sometimes less is more. Even though slower kicks create less propulsion, it helps you to preserve more energy and go longer.
                                              swimmers kick tips


                                              Now I want to hear from you!

                                              What is your biggest struggle in mastering flutter kick?

                                              What swimming drill are going to try first?

                                              Let me know in the comments below!