Inspiring The Kicktastic

Today in Part 3 of our Swim Type series we take a look at the Kicktastic Swim Type. These guys and girls are famed for over-kicking but why do they do that and how should we go about improving their swimming?


Swim Type Profile 3: The Kicktastic

The Kicktastic is more often than not female and normally has a swimming background as a child, although they may have stopped swimming as an adolescent before taking it up again in adulthood.

Competent swimmers normally in the speed range 1:35 to 1:55 /100m, Kicktastics feel they only have one pace when they swim and always dislike swimming with a pull-buoy.

As you'd expect, Kicktastics have an ever present continuous leg kick at the rear of the stroke:



This can be very powerful over short distances but over longer distances in tends to settle down into a continuous rhythm. So regular is the kicking that you can often hear a kicktastic coming before you see them, with the continuous splish-splash-splosh rhythm of their kick!

Kicktastics lack arm propulsion and try and make up for that by kicking harder. Although kick strength varies from swimmer to swimmer, the key thing to appreciate is that the kick is fundamentally driving the stroke along.

The problem with their catch and pull through is two fold. Firstly, Kicktastics tend to drop the elbow and show the palm forwards at the front of the stroke:



Overgliders do this too but notice in the video of Julie above how this position isn't held - there is no pause-and-glide timing to it. At this point in the stroke, Julie should be in this position:



Secondly, Kicktastics tend to pull through with a straight arm under the body. Often they pull through wide too as we see Julie doing:



A straight arm pull creates little propulsion but places a lot of load on the shoulder muscles. The resultant fatigue often gives Kicktastics the feeling they are not strong enough in the upper body. That's not the case however, bend the elbow as we see Rebecca Adlington doing here and we'll be using the much stronger muscles of the chest, lats and back, making the pull through feel much easier:



The front angle underwater always provides a revealing view of a Kicktastic's stroke:



Notice the lack of propulsion in the arm stroke and how the legs at the rear are constantly driving things along.


Wetsuits And Pull Buoys

It's probably obvious why Kicktastics dislike pull-buoys as stopping the leg kick removes their main source of propulsion. But why do our overkickers dislike a wetsuit? - Because they already have fantastic body position in the water, the wetsuit actually lifts them too high at the rear of the stroke so that they start to kick into thin air.

Being too high at the back can also leave Kicktastics feeling unbalanced and unstable. The solution is two-fold, firstly invest in a lower buoyancy wetsuit such as the HUUB Aura: เกมยิงปลา HappyFishingwww.swimsmooth.com/huub-wetsuits.html#aura

Secondly, look a little further ahead when you swim. Julie above does this naturally in her stroke:




But many Kicktastics have been told to look straight down, which is terrible advice for them as it brings their rear too high:



Quick Kicktastic Facts

Typical speed range: 6:30 to 8:00 for 400m. Stronger over longer distances but feels they can't sprint.

Typical stroke rate: 60 to 70 SPM

Likes: Variety! Kicktastic can get bored easily so they enjoy mixed sessions with a mix of stimuli.
Loves: Long races - they tend to make excellent Ironman triathletes, in fact many female pros are Kicktastic.
Dislikes: Long sets (e.g. Red Mist sessions) as they find them boring.
Hates: Too much attention from the coach!

Learning Style: Normally very intelligent but Kicktastics can take a little while to absorb new information. Highly reflective.

From the left field: Often earthy people - we've noticed they commonly have ankle bracelets or foot/lower leg tattoos!


Next Steps - Inspiring The Kicktastic

As we work with Kicktastics to improve their swimming, the goal is to create more arm propulsion by improving the biomechanics of the catch and pull-through using key drills and visualisations.

As arm propulsion is increased, the tendency to over-kick will automatically fall away. We're not looking to kill your kick, just moderate it so that it is less energy sapping. Kicktastics are always best served by staying with a continuous flutter 6-beat kick, a slower 2-beat kick simply does not suit them.

Developing effective arm propulsion is will make swimming feel much easier (and faster!) overall - and give you that change of pace over shorter distances. We call this process 'Inspiring The Kicktastic' and you can follow it by subscribing to the Swim Smooth Coaching System:


Or by using the Kicktastic Swim Type Guide download:



About Swim Types

The Swim Type system is a way of understanding how the faults in a swimmer's stroke tend to cluster together in classic ways.

It gives you insight into the 'nuts and bolts' making up any swimmer and a highly developed step-by-step stroke correction process for each type to follow.


We've made the Swim Type system memorable and easy to understand by using a little humour and some cartoon characters. But don't by fooled, the insight behind each type is the result of a huge amount of empirical study involved thousands of individual swimmers over the last 10 years:



Find out more about the system on our dedicated microsite: www.swimtypes.com


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Boosting The Bambino!

In part 2 of our 6 part series we take a look at the Bambino Swim Type and the characteristics of their stroke. If you recognise yourself as a Bambino, use the profile to understand what's holding you back in the water and move forwards using some great Swim Smooth coaching!

Swim Type Profile 2: The Bambino


The Bambino is relatively new to swimming and finds freestyle a real struggle, especially at first.

They lack confidence in the water and think of themselves as 'slow' or 'not very good' swimmers. But like any swimmer with the right approach they can improve both their competence and speed in the water.

The over-riding characteristic of their stroke is that it is quite slow and gentle:



If we compare that to a strong swimmer such as Kat below, you can really see the difference. Kat swims with a lot of rhythm and purpose to the stroke:



Bambinos respond badly to traditional swim coaching which asks swimmers to slow down their turnover to try to lengthen out the stroke. In most cases they don't have the strength or build to do this and become slower as a result and lose even more confidence.

Perhaps counter-intuitively for someone without a swimming background, the key to improving a Bambino's swimming is to focus on the rhythm of the stroke and developing more 'oomph'. You might think swimming with a faster rhythm would be harder but as long as you don't go too crazy, increasing rhythm and purpose actually makes things easier for Bambinos, not harder.

One of the best ways to achieve a higher stroke rate is to use a Tempo Trainer Pro in Stroke Rate mode. Try lifting your stroke rate by 3-5 strokes per minute (SPM), you will be amazed how much better it feels! This is the opposite approach we recommended for The Arnie last week, who we recommended dropping stroke rate by 3-5 SPM.

All smiles: Clare loving using a Tempo Trainer with Coach Lucy

Collapsing Arm Whilst Breathing

A classic fault which nearly all Bambinos have in their stroke is that when they go to breathe, their lead arm collapses downwards in the water underneath the body:




The arm should actually be out in front supporting them at this point in the stroke, as we see Jono Van Hazel doing here:




This collapse only happens on a breathing stroke, not on a normal stroke. It leaves you very unsupported at the front of the strokes such that the mouth starts to sink beneath the surface. For this reason many Bambinos have learned to over-rotate their head, twisting the neck to look up to the sky to try and find clear air:




This twisting action commonly leads to soreness in the muscles on the back of the neck.

Once we have stopped the lead arm collapsing you will feel greater support and we can work on keeping the head lower, using the bow-wave to breathe across the pool:



Quick Bambino Facts

Typical speed range: 9:00 to 16:00 for 400m. May have to stop each length to catch their breath.

Typical stroke rate: 45 to 55SPM

Likes: The support of a friendly coach.
Loves: The achievement of improving their swimming - even small steps forward give them a major lift.
Dislikes: Complicated drills or training sets.
Hates: May be very afraid of swimming in open water.

Learning Style: Bambinos like to know how something should be done and enjoy a bit of research away from the pool.

Classic professions: Graphic/Fashion Designer, Psychologist, Doctor, Scientist


Next Steps

Bambinos require an alternative approach to developing their swimming focusing on timing, rhythm and feel for the water - areas of the stroke technique that traditional swim coaching would only introduce with advanced swimmers. Don't worry - we make this very easy to follow!

At Swim Smooth we call this process 'Boosting The Bambino' and you can follow it by subscribing to the Swim Smooth Coaching System:

app.swimsmooth.com/sequence/FX/boosting-the-bambino/

Or by using the Bambino Swim Type Guide download:



About Swim Types

The Swim Type system is a way of understanding how the faults in a swimmer's stroke tend to cluster together in classic ways.

It gives you insight into the 'nuts and bolts' making up any swimmer and a highly developed step-by-step stroke correction process for each type to follow.


We've made the Swim Type system memorable and easy to understand by using a little humour and some cartoon characters. But don't by fooled, the insight behind each type is the result of a huge amount of empirical study involved thousands of individual swimmers over the last 10 years:




Find out more about the system on our dedicated microsite: www.swimtypes.com


Swim Smooth!
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