Your kick is the rhythm dancing around the beat of your arms.

  • The number of kicks is measured in a 2-arm stroke cycle.
  • Kick Tempo varies according to distance being swim and the individuality of each swimmer – someone with a very low stroke rate will have difficulty with a 2-beat kick as their stroke may slow down too much. A good stroke rate is desirable for an effective 2 Beat kick.
  • Distance swimmers favour a 2-beat kick as it is less tiring and conserves energy. A 6-beat kick can usually only be maintained for short distances.
  • Kick drive is initiated from hips. In a 2-beat kick the drive achieved from hip rotation is important in establishing propulsion and rhythm.
  • 4-beat kick is the most common kick. It can sometimes be uneven such as 1 strong kick, followed by 3 small. It works in partnership balancing stroke and breathing.
  • Often swimmers e.g., Katie Ledecky, will vary kick speed in a race, going from a 4-beat, to 2-beat and then 6-beat.


Kick Set ideas

  • What kick beat?
    Place paddle on 1 hand, 1 fin on opposite foot. As the hand enters, swimmer develop awareness of kick beat.
  • When is the kick occurring?
    The most effective timing is the kick is initiated at start of catch. Use the paddle, fin drill here.
  • Developing 2-beat kick:
    • Freestyle with slight Fly undulation. Every time hand enters, Fly kick.
    • Freestyle with slight Fly undulation, part feet to a slight scissor – moving towards flutter kick. * Effective drill to fix foot cross over.
  • Developing 6-beat kick for Sprinting:
    • 10m Kick Sets – explosive quick kicks
    • 10m Freestyle Sprints explosive kick
    • Increase to 25m.
  • Changing Kick Tempo:
    Swim 100m changing kick each 25m from 2-beat, 4-beat, 6-beat and back to 2-beat.


Anne Smyth
MSNSW Branch Coaching Director