I am not going to waste your time defining what an eggbeater kick is or how and why it is used. If you found this page based on the above headline, then it's likely you've already been trying to learn how to do the eggbeater kick- and probably finding it difficult to understand why you are doing all the "right things" according to the theories of eggbeater, but still not getting it right. You're probably thinking "I give up! to hell with the eggbeater kick, at least I can tread water using the flutter kick or web kick".
While it can be frustrating, the joy of finally treading water effectively using the eggbeater kick makes the whole journey of learning it worthwhile.
Use driving for an instance. Learning to drive a manual car for the first time- having to engage the clutch, change the gears, watch your mirrors, turn your steering, calculate your movements and still look out for road signs or cyclists all at the same time, can make you decide immediately that you won't be able to manage it. Yet, a few months later, you are driving and chatting with a friend!
The same learning process applies with learning to tread water.
Here are some of the most common reasons for not achieving an effective eggbeater kick:
1. You are focusing on achieving the circular motion. Wrong!
I know you already know that your kicks alternate with the left leg going clockwise and the right going counter-clockwise and making circles in the process, but that's not the point. Your eggbeater kick is basically breaststroke kicks but one at a time. If you lie down on the floor and attempt to do the breaststroke kick one at a time, you'll discover that your left leg goes to the left as you push water backwards in order to move forward. Your right leg also move to the right.
It is this same pushing water backwards with the breaststroke kick in order to move forward that applies in the eggbeater. The difference is that you are doing it one leg at a time.
Try not to focus on achieving a circular motion, instead think of using the breaststroke kick one at a time. The circular motion will come naturally.
2. You are trying to stay afloat. Wrong!
A common mistake beginners make while learning to tread water generally is trying to stay afloat. I usually tell people; "don't try to float, just float!".
As stupid as this may sound, the trouble with trying to stay on top of the water is that you make your muscles stiff and your body heavy as you try hard to float on the water.
People who are still learning the eggbeater usually kick so hard and fast because they think the strength they apply will keep them on top. The thing to do instead is to relax your muscles and press your relaxed body weight on the water. Remember the water is pushing you back as you press your weight on it. This is an experience you only notice when you are completely relaxed.
3. You can't scull water properly.
I know the eggbeater kick allows you to tread water without your hands. However, for the beginner, you must start with both your legs and your hands.
Sculling water is something a lot of people believe they can do, but in reality cannot do it well. One way to find out if your sculling is good enough is to keep your leg still while treading in deep water and scull water with only your hands.
A good sculling technique enables you to learn the eggbeater kick faster.
4. Your legs not wide enough.
Your legs should be spread wide enough as you attempt the eggbeater kicks. This should not cause you any discomfort however. Generally, your legs should be spread a little wider than shoulder width. A well spread legs and a relaxed body will give you a feeling that you are very light in the water as you tread.
5. The sole - the power!
Most beginners fail to realize that most of the magic in the eggbeater kick is coming from the sole. Yes, the bottom of your foot!
If you swim using the breaststroke, then you will understand this better. You must feel the water on the bottom of your foot being pushed away. One good way to develop this is to use a kick board and swim with only your legs.