An effective butterfly kick is often compared to that of a dolphin's tail as it powerfully flicks up and down, causing it to accelerate through the water with ease and grace.
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Strictly speaking, the leg kick for butterfly is an extension of the undulating body movement which, if we are going to be technical, begins with movement of the head.
A small movement of the head moves through the whole body, getting bigger as it goes and ending with an accelerating explosive down kick of the legs that causes the body to flow like a wave through the water.
1. The legs kick simultaneously in an action that is similar to that of front crawl but with a greater and more pronounced knee bend.
2. The upbeat of the kick should come from the hips as they undulate.
3. The ankles should be relaxed with toes pointed.
4. The legs move upwards during the undulating body movement, as the head and shoulders dive downwards.
5. Knees bend and then straighten on the downbeat to provide propulsion. The legs should accelerate to provide power on the downbeat.
1. A breaststroke type leg kick can sometimes be performed by mistake, due to the simultaneous nature of the kick itself.
Most swimmers that are able to perform breaststroke fairly well will naturally kick their legs in a small circle when attempting butterfly leg kick for the first time.
2. Another common mistake is to place an emphasis on the arm pull for butterfly and therefore lose all power from the leg kick.
The legs just go through the motions when in fact they are needed to assist the body to rise out of the water so that the arm pull and recovery can be completed with minimum effort.
1. Performing the kick whilst holding a float or kickboard out in front with straight arms will help develop the technique and power required for this movement.
2. The kick can also be practised in a supine (face up) position with the legs kicking upwards towards the water surface. This is also a great for strengthening the abdominal and deep core muscles, which are especially needed in this stroke more so than in any of the other basic swimming strokes.
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