Butterfly Drills

Make your stroke awesome...

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Looking for some basic butterfly drills?  Need to know what mistakes you might be making?  

Check out these tried and tested drills that are guaranteed to improve your swimming technique.  

Being able to practice each individual stroke part makes learning the stroke as a whole so much easier.  It allows you to learn each aspect of butterfly stroke one step at at time and really focus in on the finer details of the technique. 

Drill 1:  Body Position

Push and Glide

Butterfly drill for perfecting body position

Aim: to practise and develop an undulating action whilst moving. 

The swimmer pushes from the poolside into a glide and then begins the undulating action from head to toe. This allows the swimmer to experience the required undulating action whilst moving through the water.

Key Actions

  • Make the top of your head lead first
  • Keep your shoulders level
  • Keep your hips level
  • Make your body into a long wave
  • Pretend you are a dolphin swimming

Technical Focus

  • Head remains central
  • Shoulders and hips should be level
  • Body is horizontal with an undulating movement
  • Wave-like movement from head to toe
  • Legs remain together

Common Faults

  • Body remains too stiff and rigid
  • Shoulders and hips are not remaining level 
  • Leading with the head looking forwards

Drill 2: Leg Kick

Holding a float in both hands

Butterfly swimming drills to improve leg kick

Aim: to develop the leg kick using a float for support. 

This drill allows the advanced swimmer to develop leg kick strength and stamina as the float isolates the legs.

Key Actions

  • Kick with both legs at the same time
  • Kick downwards powerfully
  • Keep your legs together
  • Create a wave-like action through your body
  • Kick like a mermaid

Technical Focus

  • Simultaneous legs action
  • Knees bend and kick in downbeat to provide propulsion
  • Legs accelerate on downbeat
  • Toes are pointed
  • Hips initiate undulating movement

Common Faults

  • Leg kick is not simultaneous
  • Toes are not pointed
  • Overall action is too stiff and rigid
  • Kick is not deep or powerful enough

Drill 3:  Arm Pull

Push and glide adding arms

Butterfly drill for arm pull technique

Aim: to practise the arm action whilst moving through the water. 

Correct body position is established from the push and glide and the swimmer can then use the arm action to maintain momentum through the water. A limited number of arm pulls can be achieved with this practice.

Key Actions

  • Move both arms at the same time
  • Thumbs enter water first
  • Pull hard through the water
  • Pull past your thighs
  • Throw your arms over the water

Technical Focus

  • Arms move simultaneously
  • Fingers closed together
  • Thumbs enter the water first
  • Hands enter the water in line with the shoulders
  • Hands push past the thigh
  • Hands clear water surface on recovery

Common Faults

  • Arms are too straight
  • Arms are not pulling back to the thighs 
  • Hands fail to clear the water

Need some more Butterfly Drills?

My book 'How To Swim Butterfly' contains a complete set of 16 butterfly drills that will isolate each body part, ensuring that you focus on the most needed part of your technique.  

Instantly download to your mobile or tablet device and take your butterfly technique to the next level.  

Click below to download your copy, or click here for more details. 

The easy to follow guide to how to swim butterfly stroke
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