The knee must be straight from moment of heel contact until the
support leg is in the vertical position (see figure below.) The
knee is flexed in the recovery swing, since short pendulums swing
faster. The point at which the rear leg starts to bend varies
between individuals. The optimum point for it to bend depends upon
structure, flexibility and strength of the athlete.
WATCH FOR: The lead knee swinging through high. This is
often due to a habit carried over from running (see figure below).
This wastes energy and may lead to legality problems.
WATCH FOR: Bent knee on heel contact. This is illegal.
Causes are over striding in front of the body, inadequate
quadriceps strength and tight or weak hamstrings.
WATCH FOR: The lead knee bending before the leg is
vertically upright. This is illegal. For reasons as stated above.
In addition, it may be caused by the athlete trying to walk at
speeds faster than their fitness level can sustain.
heel strikes the ground first with the toes elevated, not flat
footed. Once the foot has made contact, it rolls forward, keeping
the toes off the ground until the leg is supporting the body’s
weight. How long the toes are kept off the ground is directly
related to the strength of the shin.
There is a push off with the calf causing the foot to roll to
vertical, before leaving the ground. The foot of the swing leg is
brought forward close to but not brushing the ground.
WATCH FOR: Landing flat footed or with the foot slapping
too soon. This has a braking effect which wastes energy, shortens
the stride, and may cause the knee to bend early. This may be
caused by a lack of shin strength or lack of flexibility an/or
mobility in the hips.