Let me tell you an insider secret, a butterfly stroke, also referred to as dolphin, is not a harder or more exhausting stroke than any other swimming style. Where butterfly meets its negative reputation is in its technical aspects. Since majority of swimmers (young and old) have not mastered the butterfly basics, they feel that swimming butterfly is very difficult and look very ungratefully upon this daunting effort. And rightfully so, without the proper technique and timing, butterfly definitely is the hardest and most exhaustive stroke out there. However, once you as a swimmer grasp the concept of the butterfly rhythm, timing and focus on the important parts of the stroke, you will realize that people are wrong about butterfly and don’t give it its rightful justice. With proper butterfly technique and rhythm butterfly is a smooth stroke with which you can swim longer distances with no problem, so turn that frown upside down and get cracking on breaking down the stroke to the basics before you attempt another butterfly stroke. Here are a few key pointers which will help you focus on the right technique:
1) Do not think of butterfly in terms of breaststroke - Many coaches compare butterfly to breaststroke, but it is not fully so. The coach who tells you this, usually means it in a good way in terms of the undulation and timing, however, what coaches often fail to consider is the other aspects of the stroke. The biggest problem is that a swimmer does not move his/hers head to breath in butterfly. As opposed to breaststroke where your head and spine are connected (immobile) and move as a whole with your body. While swimming butterfly, if you keep your neck and spine stiff and move them together when you go for a breath, you will have to exert so much more energy to get your body and mouth of out of the water which causes you to get tired. Instead, why not get your neck moving when taking a breath. Leave your body in the water and focus on extending your chin on top of the water to get that needed breath. Imagine the following: If you had no hands, your nose/forehead would need to be the first part of your body to touch the wall in the finish. Forcing your chin forward (skimming the surface of the water) is much easier than lifting your body out of the water and it requires almost no hard physical effort, just a mental one.
|badly bent arms by rgtmum|
drag. If you bend your knees a lot during the kick, you will end up in almost a vertical position with your chest sticking out of the water and your hips driving forward. This is no good :). To help you with the knee bend, I’ve covered the shinfin™ leg fins in the my previous post. These are great to help you with getting your kick to start in your hip and not in your knees.
So next time you swim butterfly, think of some of these pointers above. Are you making it harder for yourself than it actually is? Stay tuned for more tips to come.