By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, November 1, 2015
Matt Kredich, University of Tennessee head coach and four time Ivy League Coach of the Year, runs through a drill for the butterfly that isolates arms individually to create a more complete stroke. By whipping the arm forward, swimmers will be able to propel themselves through the water faster.
One Arm Butterfly
Drill Summary: Swimmers swim the length of the pool using a one-arm butterfly technique. The arm that isn’t in use should remain extended out directly in front of the swimmer. Focus on the recovery and look for a ballistic movement (arm accelerating forward to pull the body forward). Make sure to avoid downward entry on the stroke and keep arms straight to generate more momentum. Also, minimizing up and down movement will allow the swimmer to go faster and use less effort in the water.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2015
North Carolina State head coach, Braden Holloway, uses the Surf Drill Series as one of his main methods to teach timing for the butterfly. Without proper timing, swimmers can lose valuable speed and power and be forced to work much harder than they would with an efficient stroke.
Surf Drill Series
Drill Summary: To begin this drill, the swimmer sets their stroke up by doing two sculls, one big kick, a second kick, then glides on the surface as far as they can before recovering and doing it all over again. Swimmers’ bodies should stay on the line and avoid going up or down too much. The focus is on the catch out front and keeping hands close to the body underneath. Once swimmers have grasped the “thrust forward, not up” method, add fins and small paddles and continue to work on gliding. Get just high enough out of the water to breathe.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Dolphin kicking is an essential skill that all swimmers should be able to execute with good balance in the water. Coley Stickels, 14-time NCAA All-American with the University of Arizona, uses the “Quad 4 Drill” to get swimmers comfortable dolphin kicking and help determine their dominant side.
Quad 4 Drill
Drill Summary: This drill can be executed with or without fins. The swimmer pushes off from the wall and executes four dolphin kicks on their stomach, then transitions into four dolphin kicks on their right side, does four more dolphin kicks on their stomach and finishes with four dolphin kicks on their left side. The kicks in this drill are meant to be rapid, and swimmers should try to be nearly all the way on their sides when they shift away from the stomach. For most swimmers, all 16 kicks should get them far enough for the entire length of the pool.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2015
Braden Holloway, North Carolina State head coach, helps his swimmers generate power in their butterfly stroke with this drill and progression. By using tennis balls and swim socks, swimmers learn to use the surface area of their bodies to charge through the water at high speeds.
Butterfly with Freestyle Kick
Drill Summary: Before executing this drill, swimmers need to put on swimming socks and get two tennis balls. Swimmers push off the wall with a tennis ball in each hand and flutter kick while doing 5-6 butterfly strokes. For the next progression, take the tennis balls away so swimmers can get a better feel for using their hands to propel themselves.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Friday, May 1, 2015
University of North Carolina head coach Rich DeSelm uses the “Combination Drill” to promote staying low and gliding through the water. This exercises gives athletes a drill that will help them improve their stroke, without the extra fatigue of doing continuous reps of the full stroke.
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off the wall and scull four times. After that, they take two butterfly strokes (being sure to breathe on one or both strokes). Do this drill twice in a row on the way down the pool, then turn around and do it twice on the way back.