Great your legs are straight, but you’re not moving… andddd you sunk down.
You have to stay in movement in order to fight against the gravity pulling you down. The water may support you, but it isn’t going to carry you for the most part.
Why + Philosophy:
This is often a B-side step that I talk to my lessons about actually early on. “Don’t Stop kicking!” “keep kicking” “kick! kick!”, etc. However I don’t tend to mention it as a “Three Step of Swimming” thing until later on. Just simply make sure the person knows to keep kicking straight.
By doing this they focus more on keeping the legs straight, and how that plays into the face, arms, and breathing down the line.
Only if they are really struggling, or if I think they are going to progress quickly, then do I mention the B-side. Sometimes by adding more steps it motivates a person because they see the path of actions they need to learn.
How + Physics:
When you bend your knees you actually push the water up, and essentially push yourself down. There is just purely momentum going up, but that all changes when you straighten the legs. My understanding is that the legs spread out the resistance over the surface area of the whole legs. Rather than just the calves, like you would solely be using when doggy paddling.
When you kick straight it allows you to use all of your leg muscles, and it is almost similar to walking. Something you’ve likely been doing all your life, and so your strength is being used in a way akin to what you normally do.
That strength is then applied to your kicks properly, and when you stop kicking it’ll take a second but you’ll fall down. Meaning the biggest thing after, is just making sure you don’t stop. Even going slowly is better than stopping.
What + Psychology:
I think I mentioned this in the Legs A-side newsletter post, but a lot of adults have a hard time learning the kick if they haven’t done it before. Even some that have still struggle. That honestly isn’t that big of a deal, even though it feels really frustrating for the person.
The reason why it isn’t a big deal, is purely because that you just need to practice. It is a physical movement, which means the more you do it; the more your brain will strengthen the signal to the muscles to repeat that action.
Train the muscle memory, and you won’t have to remember to kick consistently. At least 95% of the time, as I still have to remind myself from time to time even.
By kicking straight you keep yourself up, by kicking consistently you keep yourself up and move faster, by putting your face down it keeps your legs aligned. It all comes together when you do it, and that is what I hope you can learn from this.
I know reading about swimming is not the same as doing it, so I always want to encourage people to go try these things. However just remember to do the steps IN ORDER!
This is advice for people to level up their swimming, or perhaps get started in the first place. While you swim you should make sure you are doing so in a public facility with a lifeguard on duty for safety.