SANTA CLARA, California, February 27. THIS week's Dryland Tip from Dr. G. John Mullen is designed to focus on a swimmer's kick.
Purpose: Soccer kicks enhance long axis kicking, essential for elite swimming. Many swimmers lack the motor control to create a whip like kicking motion starting from their hip, moving through the knee, then generating force through their ankle. The soccer kick promotes all the functions of a strong kick out of the water, a great place to start with an amateur swimmers or elite swimmers having difficulty connecting the whole movement in the water.
Directions: Place a soccer ball or dodge ball in a kick back, and then instruct the athlete to forcefully kick the ball forward. Ensure the athlete does not arch their back, but brings their leg back with slight hip extension and knee flexion while pointing their toes. On the kick, the swimmer should rapidly flex their hip, extend their knee, and point their toes (make sure the swimmer does not kick with their toes) to rapidly kick the ball. Perform this exercise in small volumes to maximize force production.
Dr. G. John Mullen is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. At USC, he was a clinical research assistant at USC performing research on adolescent diabetes, lung adaptations to swimming, and swimming biomechanics. G. John has been featured in Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, and the International Society of Swim Coaches Journal. He is currently the strength and conditioning coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, owner of the Center of Optimal Restoration and creator of Swimming Science.