The following outline of essential drills and technique tips in developing the butterfly stroke was presented and demonstrated in a pool session at the 2003 ASCA World Coaches’ Clinic in San Diego by Coach Dick Hannula.

A. Essentials

1. KICK! In order to swim great butterfly, you must develop a great kick.

2. Streamlined torpedo position. Emphasize the torpedo position with the hands placed one over the other, the arms squeezed in tight behind the ears, and stretch the arms forward with elbows extended.

B. Kick drills (Finis Shooter, short fins, no fins)

1. Torpedo kick underwater on front, side, and back.

2. Torpedo kick on surface on front, side, and back. (back most important)

3. Rotation torpedo kick underwater, example 7 kicks on front, 5 on side, 5 on back, 5 on the other side.

4. Arms crossed, underwater and surface kicking

5. Arms at side, underwater and surface kicking.

6. Kickboard kicking.

7. Kicking with hands behind back with locked thumbs, head up.

C. Technique tips – kicking.

1. The back of the head and spine are lined up in a “platform” position in the torpedo streamlined kicking position.

2. To increase the speed from the kick, increase the frequency of the kick and decrease the size of the kick. The result should be a narrow fast kick.

3. The power kick is from the hips through the legs. The upper body has a dolphin movement to provide the rhythm but that movement is minimal when compared to the hips through the feet.

4. The dolphin kick should be a continuous action.

D. Technique tips – butterfly.

1. Build the stroke from the aligned landing zone.

2. The body remains aligned with the head in a hinged position to the spine (aligned).

3. The arms enter on two narrow planes just inside the shoulder line.

4. Arms are thrown long to the other end of the pool.

5. Head down on entry, arms and head land simultaneously.

6. Platform position on entry.

7. Breathe late and every other stroke (learning ). Side breathing drills aid the timing of late breathing.

8. The breath is taken at the end of the stroke and start of the recovery.

9. The head should remain hinged on breathing. The eyes should look forward slightly at the water surface. This is a leaning position towards the water to avoid a high head and increased resistance to the stroke.

10. The arms come into the midline underwater.

11. Anchor the elbows with finger tips down and slide past the hands.

12. Hands away, or karate exit to enable a front end butterfly.

13. Front end butterfly. (A strong and long front end to the stroke with the stroke finish short of full backwards extension)

E. Basic learning steps – butterfly stroking.

1. Underwater torpedo position.

2. Underwater torpedo position plus one stroke and a quiet re-entry of the arms to the torpedo position.

3. Underwater torpedo position plus two (and subsequently three, four, etc.) two quiet re-entry strokes to the torpedo position.

4. Standing, and walking drills through the arm stroke.

F. Progression Drills and sets

1. Multiple kick butterfly swims. (4, or 5, etc. kicks to each arm stroke)

2. One arm butterfly with one arm extended. Multiple variations: 3 left arm, 3 right arm, 3 full stroke. Build 1 -1-1, 1-1-2, 1-1-3 etc.

3. Four kick fly – 25, back dolphin kick on the surface – 25 4 kick b’fly..

4. Kick 15 meters underwater then 3 to 5 fast strokes then one arm butterfly to complete the 50 meters.

5. Pull 25 butterfly, then pull 25 breast stroke.

6. 25 torpedo kick underwater 25 torpedo kick with 2 strokes, then torpedo kick again 25 torpedo kick with 3 strokes, then torpedo kick again 25 torpedo kick with 4 strokes, then torpedo kick again

7. 25 torpedo kick underwater 25 torpedo back kick on the surface 25 arms folded kick underwater 25 torpedo back kick on the surface

8. 25 3 right arm strokes (breath right), 3 left arm strokes (breath left) with one arm forward, and then 4 or 5 full strokes breathing forward. 25 in the same manner but with the non stroking arm at the side.

9. 25’s underwater torpedo kick, 7 kicks on front, 5 on side, 5 on back, 5 on side, then return to the front.

10. 50’s: 15 meters underwater torpedo kick, 20 meters one arm drills with one arm forward, 15 meters sprint butterfly with no breath.

11. 25 Biondi drill (full stroke throwing the arms away but recover underwater); 25 alternate a Biondi stroke and a full stroke, 25 alternating 4 kicks underwater plus one Biondi stroke and 2 full strokes, 25 alternating one Biondi stroke and one then two then three, etc. full strokes.

12. 25 free with fins and a butterfly kick, 25 butterfly with fins.

13. Use Han’s Paddles on any of the drills and the full stroke.


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