Edit I didn't realise YouTube links would naturally inline. I've inlined them all now, for easy ref.
I had a look at the instruction video mentioned by Matthew Brings -
& also at
which is Bonham himself playing Moby Dick.
Fleshing out from my earlier comment, it looks like Bonham may have played the way I do, mainly heel up rather than heel down. There's too much knee-movement on the live video to be heel-down, though it's still a guess, I never actually spotted his right foot clearly. Left foot is heel-up, though, which gives more credence to the opinion.
I find heel-up requires much less actual ankle movement, & gives my shin muscles a much easier time of it.
The technique video may be close to how Bonham had his pedal set up & how he actually played it [we may never really know] however, for me personally, that beater is set way too far back, too long, too heavy & there's nowhere near enough spring tension on it.
That said, I have never specifically tried to copy how someone else did it, merely get my own foot as fast & accurate as possible.
I've found I can get a more even & more powerful strike with a light, modern beater, short swing & tight spring then relying on the variable spring tension of a longer swing - of course there's twice as much tension when the pedal's on it's way back & you want to turn it around to have another go, so you end up fighting that natural period half the time.
If the beater's already returned & stopped, you get the same feel every time.
The combination of beater weight, spring tension & shaft length will change the natural period of the beater's swing, so you can 'cheat' by setting it up to match your most common 'difficult bits'. For easy bits, it really doesn't matter - & I wouldn't worry about it too much in everyday use.
I used to have some fairly tricky stuff when I was replacing a drum machine for live work in the 90s/early 2ks - no-one ever gave it a thought that one day someone might actually have to play all those tricksy kick patterns.
One that springs to mind is
not really because it's all that that difficult to play, but it can get a bit relentless when a) the band always want to play it too fast & b) it's their end of show, 20 minute disco-dance-dub-party-12"-remix version & they have a tendency to wander off for 5 mins in the middle leaving you & the bassist hanging in there til they deign to wander back.
I used to time my beater's natural swing period to that track, just so I wasn't constantly fighting the second of those relentless doubles every time.
Conversely, trying to do
I used to sneak my left foot onto the pedal too & drop the hats down to almost closed;-)
Note from those tracks they're fairly evenly-weighted, where a drummer would naturally give them more light & shade - which don't work at all on that stuff;)
Having said all that… listening to Good Times Bad Times, I'd definitely say he's heel-toeing, as Basstickler said.
I can achieve, with heel-up only, the fast doubles shown in the instruction video - going to triples, I'd have to go toe-heel-toe [the guy doing the video should have done too, at about 19:30 ;) - something I'm not particularly good at but can just about get away with if it's not too continuous.
After comments - It is possible [I'm guessing really] that heel-down could be a 'jazz' thing & heel up a 'rock' thing.
I found this video of Buddy Rich. You never see his foot but based on watching his knees, I'd guess he mainly plays heel-down, only going heel-up when he's really going for it. It's by no means a great piece of video but there's enough detail to just about make it out, especially towards the end…. & Buddy's always worth watching.
I found some footage of Tony Royster - he has 2 kicks, but there's some nice cutaway to his foot proving he really can do it with one foot. This is impressive footwork, for sure…