Dolphin kicking truly is the '5th stroke' of swimming in today's environment, with swimmers capitalizing on dive and wall speed to get an extra edge. Speed off the wall is free money and who doesn't want free money?
Here are some tips and cues to think about the next time you push off the wall. Remember, incorporating dolphin kicking into your Masters swimming is done in baby steps...you may be slower before you get faster while you work out your individual amplitude, distance and efficiencies.
A couple of years ago I read how to think about moving the water BEHIND YOU with every kick - for me, visualizing that was a game-changer. I concentrated on where I was feeling the pressure of the water and driving that behind me rather than the concept of 'up and down'. This applies to flutter kicking as well, but with dolphin kicking you want to feel as though you're kicking a soccer ball with both legs at the same time.
Other key points:
- Like everything with swimming, dolphin kicking drives a fine line between propulsion and drag. You want your kicks to start and finish in front of you, but you don't want the kicks so big that your drag outweighs the benefit. Think of your body like a whip, keeping the amplitude on the smaller side.
- Kicks should be speedy. Keep your feet moving! The kick is a two-directional kick and should be of equal amplitude.
- Use your core and hips! Suck in your belly button to the small of your spine to keep your core tight and engaged. Your whole body should be one long whip.