When I learnt to swim, I learnt how to do freestyle and backstroke before I learnt how to do breaststroke and WAY before even thinking about learning how to do butterfly!
The kick in butterfly is used for all 4 strokes. You may want to go and correct me there and say no actually it isn’t used in Breaststroke but the undulation in dolphin kick is used in breaststroke.
The movement in breaststroke and butterfly is exactly the same. When you take off and dive into the water for breaststroke you do a dolphin kick right before you do a pull out. Then as you are moving through the water your hips go up and down with the pull and the kick.
The link below shows the change in rules with the breaststroke pullout.
So why is it that we have not taught our kids dolphin kick right from the start?
A lot of swim schools in New Zealand are now are changing the way they teach and have started to bring in the dolphin kick a lot earlier than previously.
I think that dolphin kick is a fundamental kick and a separate stroke in its own right.
I believe it is critical that we ensure all our young swimmers are learning how to dolphin, mermaid or merman kick right from as soon as they are past the gliding stage.
As a parent when your kids go to the pools get them to have competitions to see who can get to the other side being a mermaid. Who can dive down to the bottom and pick up the sinkers like a mermaid. Who can swim through the hoop like a mermaid?
The kids will love it! Give it a go get them moving their bottom up and down and keep their legs together! Have fun.
There has recently been a bit of controversy in New Zealand with the use of Mermaid tails. The kids see them and think what a cool idea and ask mum and dad for one. The only thing is that they are quite dangerous.
They do not allow you to stand up and often children can end up in trouble if there is not a parent closely keeping an eye on them.
Once your child has the basics of the dolphin kick they can then move onto learning the arms.
Break it up for them so that it is easy. Walking along arms in streamline position then down to the hips, out behind them, thumbs down up over and out of the water back to the top.
- Learn how to do dolphin kick – play games, have competitions, have fun!
- Arms by themselves stationary and then walking.
- Arms and legs together no breathing – one arm drills
- Stand on the side and do kick and arms before getting into the pool to ensure the correct timing.
- Put it together. arms breathing with two kicks – one kick to move you through the water and the other to encourage the arms out of the water.
Butterfly is not a hard stroke if the timing is correct. Make sure your kids are doing dolphin kick from an early age which will make it much easier once they start learning the full stroke.