Swimfit Training Camp: From shy to super-fly
With its dramatic double arm pull and the undulating motion of the body, butterfly can be a daunting prospect to newcomers to the stroke.
But while you may not want to practise it in a busy pool – it can be a bit ‘splashy’ – the stroke uses a huge range of muscles and provides a thorough workout.
So we asked Commonwealth medallist and Loughborough University coach Matt Bowe for three handy technique hints to help every butterfly wannabe on their way.
KEEP YOUR ELBOWS HIGH
- One of the simplest tweaks to improving your butterfly technique is remembering to keep your form throughout the pull.
- During the pull stage, there is a tendency to drop your elbows and pull your hands through lower in the water.
- Try not to do this. Keeping your elbows high throughout the pull is a more efficient and effective technique.
UNDULATE YOUR BODY
- While elite swimmers tend to swim fairly flat butterfly, it is easier and safer to learn the stroke by undulating your body.
- At elite level a flat stroke means momentum is always aimed at propelling the body forward rather than up and down.
- Instead, exaggerate the natural undulations of the stroke as much as possible. Feel the undulation through your hips and chest and use them to encourage motion.
KICK... THEN KICK AGAIN!
- While it may seem easier to put in one large kick every arm cycle, it’s more beneficial to kick twice per cycle.
- Try to kick once when your hands enter the water and once when they exit.
- One large kick is more likely to flatten your stroke. Think of two smaller kicks as part of the undulation through your body, carrying on your momentum.