The butterfly stroke has a reputation for being hard to learn. Although it can be difficult, with the right butterfly stroke technique and dedication, it can be mastered. Plus once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun. Check out the steps below to learn the correct way to swim the butterfly!
1. Practice the Correct Arm Movement
The arm movement while performing the butterfly stroke includes three parts: the pull, push, and recovery.
First, extend your arms above your head shoulder width apart. Pull your hands towards your body in a semicircular motion with the palms facing outwards and the elbows higher than your hands.
Next, in a quick motion push your palms backwards through the water along your sides past your hips. This will give you the momentum to move forward in the water.
For the recovery, position your hands on your thighs to finish the stroke. Then, sweep your arms forward into the starting position to begin the stroke again. Make sure the distance between your arms is no more than shoulder width apart in order to glide through the water more efficiently.
2. Practice the Dolphin KickMastering the dolphin kick is essential to perfecting the butterfly stroke. To do this, think of how a dolphin kicks its tail underwater and pretend your legs are fused together like a mermaid.
During this kick, both legs move simultaneously and are pressed together. Kick twice for each stroke, one small kick and one big kick.
The small kick should be performed during the pull-push phase of the stroke, and the big kick is performed during the recovery phase of the stroke when your arms come out of the water. This will keep your body moving forward.
3. Practice Moving Your Whole BodyEnvision you’re a mermaid or a dolphin.
These creatures use their whole body to swim in a wave-like fashion, which is exactly what you need to do during the butterfly stroke. Your body should form an S-like shape as you swim.
When your chest rises, the hips should be at the lowest position. When your chest falls, the hips should be at the highest position.
4. Practice When to BreatheBreathing gets a little tricky with the butterfly stroke because it needs to be perfectly timed. Breathe once your arms are coming out of the water at the beginning of the recovery phase.
Keep your head straight, lift your chin just above the water and take a breath. Do not move your head to the left or right.
Bring your head back into the water and tuck your chin into your chest. This helps with the arm movements. Try to take a breath every other stroke to avoid slowing down.
The butterfly stroke is all about timing and matching up your breathing, body movement, and arm and leg movements. Once you get the hang of these four steps and put them all together, you’re well on your way to mastering the butterfly stroke.
When it comes to swimming, practice makes perfect. What better way to learn the proper butterfly stroke than by listening to an awesome playlist on your waterproof iPod? Check it out here.
Have you tried the butterfly stroke? Share your experience in the comments below!