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How to Improve Butterfly


Dear Sir, I have a son who’s age at 9 now.

He swim butterfly for a year with no significant improve on time. His personal best for butterfly (50M) is 68 sec and free (50M) is 47 sec.

Can you advice me the workout that I need to focus on to improve his performance. I do see his pull is getting power and improved lately. (he swim 2 to 3 time in a week)

Thanks in advance.

Best regards AT


Dear AT,  I have a very particular order that I teach butterfly to young swimmers that has worked really well for many years. I have briefly summarised it below.

Initially, I teach swimmers to do dolphin kick on the surface on their front and back, then under the surface so they can feel the upward and downward kicks, and on then on their side.  I continue to teach them fly kick in the different positions as it helps them to build an awareness of where their legs are and what they are doing.

With the armstrokes, I teach swimmers to push off the wall and do 4 arms of butterfly with no breath, then stop and stand up.  They do this over and over and over again until they can swim the 4 arm strokes with good technique and are moving forward through the water on each stroke.  I then ensure that when they push off they do 4 to 6 dolphin kicks under water and then complete the 4 strokes with two downward fly kicks for each stroke, completed at the right time.

Once the swimmer can push off correctly, complete the under water kicks and the 4 strokes with good arm action and coordination of the kick, I then (and only then) introduce breathing.

On the 4th stroke, the swimmer is allowed to push their chin forward and slightly upward to take a breath as the hands are pulling under the body, so that the face is breathing when the hands are extended at the back of the stroke. They then do another 2 strokes, then stop and stand up.  So they are doing 6 strokes now with one breath on the 4th stroke and two kicks per stroke.

My experience is that children who follow this pattern learn the arm action, kick action, breathing and timing very quickly and very soon they are able to breath every 2 strokes with good technique and timing.

Your son would benefit greatly by going through this process.



The Swimming Expert

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