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.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Bill Dorenkott, Ohio State head women’s swimming coach, uses the “Forward Start with Butterfly Breakout Half Cycle Glide for Distance” drill to make sure his swimmers are being as efficient as possible on every butterfly start. This drill will increase explosiveness and allow swimmers to achieve maximum speed with minimum effort.
Forward Start with Butterfly Breakout Half Cycle Glide for Distance
Drill Summary: For this drill, the swimmer takes their mark and begins by executing a forward start. On their breakout, the swimmer focuses on maintaining momentum from their start in their first cycle. Once their first cycle is completed, the swimmer glides for as long as they can. The next progression of this drill is to increase to three cycles. When doing three cycles, it’s still important to allow the momentum of the start to carry the swimmer through their first cycle and a half so they can conserve energy for later in the race.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, March 1, 2015
Australian Olympic and National Team head coach Ian Pope presents some of his favorite butterfly drills. These drills improve swimmers’ arm movement, rhythm, timing and much more.
Full Stroke Drills for Butterfly
Drill Summary: For the alternating arm strokes drill, swimmers can do a number of different combinations of moves with regular butterfly kicks. Coach Pope recommends alternating strokes with two left, two right and two both. For the catch position pull-up drill, the swimmer finds a spot on the wall and places both hands flat on the side of the pool. With their hands on the side, the swimmer fully immerses under water before lifting their body out of the pool until their elbows are straight, focusing on keeping their hands close to their body. This promotes the correct elbow position needed in a good butterfly stroke.