You may have seen people swimming butterfly in videos, on TV, or even in person, and ask yourself HOW? Butterfly can look pretty daunting and difficult to do. Well, for your child, it too can be a tricky stroke for them to get their head around. It is a stroke that can take a lot of strength and coordination in order to get the hang of.

Butterfly gets implemented into Swim School classes early on, however, that is usually just in the form of the butterfly kick. This is often called butterfly bumps or dolphin kick. Once the kick is mastered, then the arms can be brought in. The full butterfly stroke can seem extremely difficult, and to some, even impossible. However, if your child remembers these tips when they’re are at their lessons, it may just help them get the hang of it a little quicker.

  1. Kick from your hips, not just your knees. We want to keep a strong kick that is initiated from the hips, and flows through to your feet. Using your hips will help you create rhythm within the stroke. Kicking from your knees will restrict the flow.
  1. Don’t forget that it is two kicks per stroke. In butterfly, we are able to have two kicks for every one stroke in order to keep a rhythm, but also to initiate the next stroke. Kick on hand entry, kick on hand exit.
  1. When you go to take a breath, make sure your chin is on the surface of the water, and that you get your head back down before your arms are back in front. Your front should rise naturally with the undulation of your body. This will keep the flow of your stroke, and will make it easier to swim!
  1. Arms straight and around the surface of the water in the recovery of the stroke. This will make it easier to get your arms back to the correct position to start the next stroke. Your arms should get to about shoulder-width apart before your arms begin to enter the water. It is important to not fall into the trap of trying to create freestyle arms in butterfly.
  1. Try not to let your hips drop down when you are taking a breath. This will act like brakes and bring you to a stop, making it very difficult to initiate the next stroke. Like all strokes, the more streamlined you are, the more efficient you will be. Not only this, but since butterfly is a stroke that needs rhythm, keeping the hips up will make the stroke a lot easier.
  1. Timing. Butterfly is all about the timing and connection between your arms and legs to create a rhythm. The first kick occurs when the arms are forward, and the second kick when they have pulled back. Once you get the hang of the timing, the stroke will feel ten times easier!

Once your child is applying these tips to their swimming lessons, hopefully it will make learning butterfly a little less daunting, and hopefully soon your child will be a butterfly master!

If there are any technique tips you’d like us to tackle, let us know by emailing [email protected]

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Jacob is the Assistant Swim School Manager and Private Swim Coach at AUT Millennium. Jacob has been with AUT Millennium since 2015 where he became a qualified learn-to-swim instructor. He now assists in managing the Swim School as well as working with learn-to-swim students, both adults and children. As well as competitive swimmers and open-water swimmers who are trying to refine their technique in 1-on-1 sessions. His background in swimming involves representing both his club at National events, as well as New Zealand at International events.