How to Kick When Swimming


Swimming kicks help propel your movement through the water. Without proper technique and execution of kicking, your career as a competitive swimmer will be short. The flutter kick used in freestyle and backstroke, the dolphin kick performed when swimming butterfly and the breaststroke kick, also know as frog kick, must be learned, practiced and interwoven with the rest of your swim stroke for you to become an accomplished swimmer.

Flutter Kick


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Position yourself 1 foot from the wall of the pool. Grasp the wall with both hands while allowing your body to float to the surface.

Extend your legs behind you with your toes pointed.

Kick with your legs straight and knees relaxed. Keep the strokes short and fast with your legs just barely under the surface of the water. According to Swim Magazine, you should flex your feet forward as much as possible as you kick the water so that your propulsion will be more pronounced.

Move away from the wall and begin your freestyle stroke. Concentrate on an even kicking rhythm that is roughly twice as fast as your arm strokes.

Rotate your body slightly from side to side as you use your upper legs to keep your kick going.

Practice your flutter kick lying on your back. Your backstroke kick should be almost the same as your freestyle kick with the difference being you are propelling yourself backward through the water as opposed to forward.

Dolphin Kick


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Grasp the wall of the pool and let your body float to the surface behind you.

Bring your legs together completely from your thighs to your feet. Point your toes.

Use your hips to begin kicking with your legs held together acting as a fin to push the water.

Undulate your body in an up and down motion as you continue to kick forcibly. PopSci Magazine advises you to imagine that you are cracking a whip as you move your body and kick with the "crack" beginning in the chest and moving completely through the toes.

Continue to practice dolphin kick using a kickboard until you are ready to put your kick together with the other butterfly components.

Perform butterfly by propelling yourself via your dolphin kick as your arms perform the “key hole” motion and your body undulates through the water. While the dolphin kick is simple in itself, you must learn correct rhythm of matching it to the rest of your body as you swim butterfly.

Breaststroke Kick


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Grasp the side of the pool with your hands and allow your body to float to the surface.

Position your legs straight out behind you and have them touching from your thighs to your feet with your toes pointed.

Bend your knees as if you are going to kick your bottom with your heel, allowing your feet to flex.

Kick your legs outward toward the opposite sides of the pool.

Bring your legs back into position straight behind you. Have your legs touching from your thighs to your feet with your toes pointed.

Continue practicing this kick on the wall until you are ready to incorporate it with the rest of your breast stroke.

Perform the breaststroke with a strong kick, remembering to pull with your arms, frog kick with your legs, and then glide with each stroke.


Practice kicking drills with a kickboard to strengthen your legs and perfect your technique.


Don’t kick from your knees when doing the flutter kick. Swim Magazine notes that this will create enough drag in the water to hinder your forward momentum.