Last night at training during a set of 4x25m of butterfly at max effort, I was called aside by my coach. He’d noticed that my ‘sprint’ butterfly looked more a 400m butterfly. Why, I wondered? I was trying my hardest (or so i thought). I was aiming for minimum splash and maximum power. I was also feeling efficient and fast in the water. What could it possibly be that my sprint butterfly was missing?
His answer: Kick.
My kick had a very noticable pause inbetween each stroke. Rather than keeping a continuous kicking motion, my feet were waiting at the surface of the water before I took each stroke. How I didn’t notice this myself is a mystery, but it usually takes someone else to pick up the flaws in anyones stroke.
I’ve never been a great butterflier. Any kind of sprinting would see me at the back of the field, but anything which required long and relaxed butterfly would suit me well (A 400 IM for example!).
So, was this the solution to my slow butterfly?
On the next 25m sprint, I kept a continuous kick where I really worked the up-kick hard. My kick was more fluid and provided me with a lot more power. I felt much quicker and my coach had told me that I was sitting up much higher in the water (this is a good thing). This may be the advice I need for a faster butterfly swim.
Is your butterfly sprint missing a continuous kick? Would you benefit from a consistent dolphin kick with a powerful up-kick?
At your next practice session why not experiment with a harder, more continuous butterfly kick and see if you can reduce your butterfly sprint times. It worked for me and it’s something I’ll be working on over the next few months.