Thursday, November 4, 2010

Butterfly Stroke Tips

There are several different elements to swimming with a proper butterfly stroke technique. Pay close attention to your body position and get your technique right before you work on your speed. Swimmers with good technique can swim faster and longer than more athletic swimmers with poor technique.

These basic tips can help you refine your butterfly stroke:
  • Your head will vary slightly, but should primarily stay in-line with spine
  • When not breathing, look at bottom of pool. When breathing, look down and forward
  • Your shoulders and chest should tip up and down/forward. Your chest lays forward and presses down as your hands enter the water
  • Your arms should be a mirror of each other. Arm speed controls rhythm, with generally steady to decreasing/slowing rhythm through the course of a race unless you are really well-conditioned
  • During your forearm and hand pull, your arms should remain shoulder width apart, flex at elbows with line from fingertips through elbow moving towards pointing down an slightly inward, then sweep inwards to outwards they press on the water, with the fingertip through elbow line moving from pointing inwards and down to slightly outwards and down
  • During your forearm and hand recovery, you should have straight arms, relaxed hands, with a wide and low arm swing, your thumbs should be down, pinky up, and the back of your hand towards thumb should lead
  • During your forearm and hand entry, you should have straight, extended arms, extended, thumb to fingertip first, shoulder width apart
  • Keep your hips relatively high in the water, acting as moving-forward pivot point
  • You should generally have two kicks per cycle, but one per cycle is also acceptable. Your kick timing is based on your arm timing, with your kick balancing your arm and trunk motion. There is generally a kick as your pull begins and a second kick just prior to hand exit. Your kick action and your chest position must work together or you will be moving your body up and down instead of forward. If you attempt to kick with too much effort you will tend to tire sooner than if you allow your kick to work with your arms and body
  • Your feet must remain in the same plane through the entire kick. They may be in slightly different planes, but that difference must not change. Your feet should be extended with a relaxed ankle on the down-beat, and a flexed ankle on the upbeat. Your kick amplitude should not be exaggerated
  • Keep your body as low and flat/forward as possible, your head should tip up enough for your face top clear water, inhale before your head lays down prior to your arm-recovery reaching a "T" from the shoulders out to the fingertips


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