Tips and Suggestions to Master the Butterfly Swimming Technique

Butterfly Swimming Technique
Here is information about the butterfly swimming technique, which has been explained by the means of drills and description of the right body position. Have a look...
SportsAspire Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
The butterfly stroke involves the movement of both hands simultaneously, and also in a symmetrical manner. This technique is also known as 'fly'. The 'butterfly kick' associated with this technique is named the 'dolphin kick'.

Start-up Tips
The correct position and movement of the head, arms, chest, shoulders, etc., are explained by means of the content presented below.
  • Head: The position of the head should be such that it is in-line with the length of the spinal cord.
  • Arms: Movement of the arms need to be synchronous with each other. The arms should be moved in a steady rhythm.
  • Chest and Shoulders: The movement of the chest and shoulders involve an upward and downward motion, alternately. As the arms enter the water, the chest is pressed downward and forward on the surface.
  • Eyes: The eyes need to be focused on the bottom of the pool when the head is immersed in the water. While breathing, i.e., when the head is raised above, one should set the gaze straight forward.
  • Hips: The hips are maintained at a higher level in relation to the surface of the water. Propelling the body forward becomes easier with this position.
  • Legs: The legs need to work in tandem with the arms, so as to move the body forward. Timing is thus, an important aspect of leg movement. It is not necessary to kick forcefully; such an action would only make one feel tired.
  • Feet: During the entire kicking motion of the legs, the feet should remain in the same plane. Slight change in the plane is however, permitted at the upbeats and downbeats. In the upbeat motion, the feet are flexed a bit at the ankle joints, while they get relaxed at the time of downbeat motion.
How to Perform a Butterfly Stroke

To perform the butterfly stroke, initially, the arms and legs need to be fully extended.
  • The arms should be held above the level of the head.
  • First movement should be that of the legs; the legs need to be whipped, and the force required for whipping should originate right from the hips.
  • Along with the whipping action of the legs, arm movements should be performed simultaneously. The arms should be brought upwards from underneath the water in a symmetrical manner.
  • Kicking action and arm movement together helps in propelling the body out of water. While the head is above the water surface, one should draw in maximum amount of air for breathing.
  • As the head is lifted above, the arms are simultaneously drawn out of the water. This completes a single cycle of the butterfly stroke.
  • When the head once again enters the water, the next cycle begins.
Useful Drills

These drills help improve breathing, getting the perfect timing, and also in propelling the body with the required amount of acceleration.

Breathing: The drills associated with breathing are performed to increase stamina. It is indirectly helpful in keeping the body flatter. This is because, greater the breathing capacity, longer is the time that one can spend inside the water. To increase breathing capacity, one should lift the head above after every three kicks.

Acceleration: To get the maximum acceleration for a butterfly stroke, the body should be in a streamlined position, and the arms quickly recovered from water. There are two types of drills that can be performed for maximum acceleration. In the first drill, one should perform the butterfly stroke with the fingers closed together in a fist. Hand movement happens more quickly in this manner. Another drill which can be tried is the use of the flutter kick instead of the standard whipping movement.

Timing: To achieve the proper timing while swimming, one should be looking to eliminate problems like the 'two-wiggle butterfly'. In the 'two-wiggle butterfly' problem, arm and hip movement occurs incorrectly. This is because, the hips move up and down two times; first, at the time when the arms are sideways, and second, when they are in the forward position. Such an action can lead to injury in the long term. Thus, to correct the 'two-wiggle butterfly' action, one should go in for the 'four kicks-one pull' drill.

Four Kicks-One Pull: In this drill, one has to kick four times, and then pull the body upward for the forward movement of the arms. After the body is raised above, it should be propelled forward and downward. This movement helps in bringing the hips in a correct position to carry out arm recovery.

The key point to be remember is keeping the body as flat to the water surface as possible. It is helpful in reducing the pull of gravity, and thereby saves energy.