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5 simple ways to make butterfly that little bit easier for yourself!

Date: 19 February 2015

For any average lap swimmer butterfly may be one of the more difficult strokes you attempt; trying to get the arms over while still kicking and fitting in a breath at some stage before your lungs explode.

Here are 3 simple tips to make butterfly a whole lot easier.

1. Body Roll is Key

The easiest way to do this is by pressing your chin and chest down. As this happens your hips should pop up. From here let this downward-press continue through your whole body from your chest to your hips. From here on try and carry a nice flow through your entire body. The key is to move as smooth as possible; just like a dolphin would.

2. Small quick powerful kicks.

Do not over kick! There is no need to over bend the knees and make a giant splash. Making a tsunami wave behind you is not as efficiant as a small constant wave training behind you. The more movement through your knees the less movement you will have though your hips. This will not work in your favour.
In order to kick efficiently ensure that your feet are touching and your knees are slightly bent. From here press your feet down in a quick flicking motion. If your feet stay together the movement will be more powerful.

3. Butterflys need wings (arms)

There  are 4 steps to focus on to make getting those arms over that little bit easier.

- Clear Hand Entry
When doing butterfly arms the finger tips should be the first part of the body to enter the water with the thumb leading the way into the water. Fingers should be in the middle with the palms facing outwards. Your arms should be stretched out in front of you, in line with your shoulders and with a slight bend in the elbow.

-Catch and Down Sweep
in the catch phase the hands should change to an almost vertival position where the fingertips face towards the bottom of the pool.The palms should stay facing the direction of travel throughout the underwater movement. From here whilst pulling the elbows should bend to almost a 90 degree angle. This provides the extra power needed to propell yourself out of the water when breathing. Your hands should sweep in a circular movement that similar to the breastroke movement. 

-The Upsweep
After the catch and downsweep has been completed the upsweep takes place. The pitch of your hand will change so that your palms face upwards towards the water surface. The elbows will then extend fully, stretching the arms down towards the thighs.

-Time to recover
The recovery in butterfly is when the arms are out of the water. At this stage, hands and arms must clear the water. When exiting the water the little finger should lead thus facing upwards. Ensure that the palms remain facing outwards so that when it comes to entry the thumb is leading.

If you follow and practice these 3 steps butterfly should be much easier and fingers crossed will improve your performance.

Caption Demonstration of butterfly!
Newcastle City Council