a Mastering the Butterfly Stroke

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Mastering the Butterfly Stroke

04/08/2024 | Written by in Swimming Lesson Tips
Mastering the Butterfly Stroke

  Do you like difficult tasks in your life? Do you find it attractive and fulfilling to excel under difficult conditions? Most of all, do you love to swim? Then the butterfly stroke is for you.



Understanding the butterfly stroke

There's no doubt that the butterfly stroke is the most difficult stroke to master. That's why it's so popular with swimmers who want to push their limits. While it's possible for anyone, regardless of their swimming ability, to start learning it, experience shows that it's the more competent swimmers who prefer to take their swimming to the next level.

Before delving into the specifics of the butterfly stroke, it's important to understand its unique characteristics. Unlike other strokes, the butterfly is known for its simultaneous arm movement, undulating leg kick and rhythmic breathing pattern. It requires coordination, strength and proper body positioning to perform effectively.


Butterfly Stroke Arm Movement

The arm movement in the butterfly stroke is dynamic and powerful, propelling you through the water with each stroke. There are four parts to the butterfly stroke as far as arm movement is concerned:

  • Entry: Begin with your arms extended forward, shoulder width apart, and your hands entering the water at the same time
  • Pull: Pull your arms down towards your hips in a circular motion, keeping your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing outwards
  • Push: When your hands reach your hips, push them back up towards the surface in a sweeping motion to create propulsion
  • Recover: Recover your arms by bringing them out of the water in a streamlined position, ready to begin the next stroke

It's important to maintain a steady rhythm and smooth movement throughout the arm cycle to maximise efficiency and power.

Butterfly Stroke Leg Movement

The butterfly kick is characterised by an undulating movement, similar to the movement of a dolphin's tail. You must first raise your shoulders and then lower them. At the same time, the feet should be pressed together to prevent loss of water pressure.
To perform the butterfly kick, you would need to take the following steps:

  • Position: Keep your legs together and your feet pointed with your toes slightly flexed
  • Kick: Initiate the kick from your hips, moving them up and down in a wave-like motion
  • Timing: Coordinate your leg kick with your arm thrust to maintain momentum and forward propulsion
  • Rhythm: Aim for a consistent and rhythmic kick, focusing on generating power from your core and lower body
  • Remember that the butterfly kick takes a lot of practice to get the right coordination. So be patient and follow your swimming instructor's guidelines for refining your technique.


Butterfly Technique Breathing

Breathing is a crucial aspect of the butterfly stroke, requiring precise timing and coordination with your arm and leg movements. Here's how to breathe effectively during the butterfly stroke:

  • Breath timing: As your arms pull down towards your hips, lift your head slightly out of the water to take a quick breath
  • Exhalation: Exhale steadily as your arms recover and return to the starting position, keeping your head underwater until it's time to inhale again
  • Rhythm: Coordinate your breathing with your stroke rhythm to maintain a smooth and efficient technique
  • Practice: Practice bilateral breathing (breathing on both sides) to improve your lung capacity and overall swimming efficiency

Developing your breathing technique in the butterfly is essential to improving your endurance, allowing you to swim longer distances with greater ease and confidence.


How to Improve Butterfly Stroke

Improving your butterfly stroke requires dedication, practice and a willingness to push your limits. Here are some tips to help you improve your technique:

  • Drills: Incorporate butterfly-specific drills into your training routine to focus on specific aspects of your stroke technique, such as timing, position and propulsion
  • Strength training: Build strength in your core, shoulders and legs with targeted exercises to improve your power and endurance in the water
  • Video analysis: Record yourself swimming the butterfly and analyse your technique to identify areas for improvement and refinement
  • Consistent practice: Like any skill, mastering the butterfly stroke takes time and repetition, so practice regularly and be patient with yourself


Patience and Persistence are your “Friends”

The above tips provide a comprehensive methodology for mastering the butterfly. In all cases, you should always remember that good things come to those who persevere. Although the butterfly stroke is the most difficult of all swimming strokes, it is possible for all swimmers to learn. If we draw a parallel between swimming strokes and choreography, we could say that the butterfly stroke is like ballet: While they are both very attractive to watch, they require great dedication and commitment to perform correctly. In both cases, however, the fruitful results they produce are magnificent and priceless!

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