Butterfly kick should be taught without a board first, unlike the other strokes. After this has been achieved learning to kick with and without a board is most beneficial. Using a kickboard will stabilize the upper body and help promote the correct movement for the young butterfly swimmer.
Butterfly kicck is perhaps the one stroke that swimmers learn kicking easily and most do it naturally with minimal instruction. However, the timing of the arms, breathing and kick can cause learning difficulties. Teaching the arms and breathing over short distances initially is more important than teaching the kick at this stage.
Side lateral dolphin kick
This drill teaches kicking both ways – ie in both directions, up and down.
Torpedo underwater dolphin kick
This can also be done with hands by side. Butterfly kick using lateral head on ear position, the prone ‘Mermaid’ underwater kick and kicking on the back, with both hands by sides, are best for beginners. These positions help teach the two-way action of feet and the hip movement. This skill can be varied – either streamlined or hands by side – but it is better to practice both, thus ensuring optimal but efficient knee bend. The use of excessively long fins will inhibit rather than promote the development of a quality dolphin kick.
EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) Kickboard
1st picture: Side lateral dolphin kick – the swimmer needs to focus on a rhythmic kick working in both directions.
2nd picture: Torpedo underwater dolphin kick – an even, rhythmic kick is crucial.
Crossover dolphin kick (back only)
Arms are extended behind ears, with one hand on top of the other on the top of the back. Fingers can be intertwined for extra stability, until the position is learnt. This drill ensures a high hip position while allowing the coach to check the swimmer’s mobility in the upper and lower body.
Vertical dolphin kick
The emphasis is on developing a strong, even, balanced kick in both directions.
With all the kicking drills it is important that the swimmer be skilled with and without fins. A greater emphasis must be placed on instructing the swimmer to practice dolphin kick with speed and continuity.
When working on dolphin kick using fins, the swimmer must point the toes to the bottom of the pool at the completion of the backwards and downward kick and to the roof at the completion of the up-kick.
Dolphin kick is performed for butterfly, backstroke and freestyle events. The swimmer must consistently practice this skill in all positions, both below and above the water over short distance. The emphasis should be on correct technique and speed.
Tip: Kicking is an important skill in swimming. However, the commercial reality is that parents do not pay to see kids kick up and down a pool for an hour! Coaches should teach correct kicking skills and then have swimmers incorporate their kicking skils into swimming and drills works throughout the session. As most drills are performed at kicking speed (ie the kick provides the propulsion in most stroke drills), drill sets can be used as additional kicking practice sets.