Friday, 22 June 2012

Butterfly Head Position

Welcome once again intermediate swimmers! Today we're going to be talking about arguably the most physically demanding stroke - butterfly. One of the most important aspects of the butterfly stroke, head position, is what we'll be covering.

Making sure your head positioning is correct in butterfly is like making sure your feet are touching the ground while you walk - it is absolutely essential, unless you want to put a giant extra workload on your shoulders. If you follow these pieces of advice your butterfly will feel a lot smoother, more controlled, and more relaxed. It will take a lot less effort to complete the strokes - the good thing is, head positioning is an easy thing to fix!

First we'll take a look at the breath. Notice how in the picture above, the swimmer is looking straight forward or even a little bit down. The swimmer also has her chin right on the surface of the water. This is vital - if your head is up too high, your feet will sink down lower and cause drag. Make sure that you are looking forward with your chin along the surface of the water when you breathe.

Secondly, in butterfly, you can keep your face in the water instead of breathing. This is considered to be faster in all cases except for one swimmer - Michael Phelps. Until we get to his level, however, we'll stick to saying that this is faster, because it is for everyone except for him due to his disproportionate body. All you have to do is simply take your stroke normally, except have your face in the water, looking down at the bottom of the pool. This eliminates the time it takes for you to lift your head up during each stroke. You can choose when you want to do this and the specific breathing pattern you want to use - much like freestyle.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is a special rule in butterfly. Your head should always enter the water before your hands. The most common mistake that people make in butterfly is entering their hands in the water first, and then having their head follow. If you do this this, your hands will cross over into each other, you'll throw the rhythm of the stroke off, you'll get a shorter pull, and you won't get a good dive and reach into the water off of each stroke. Always remember - your head enters the water first, then your arms follow.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this lesson, be sure to stay tuned for more!

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