Teaching Butterfly to 8 to 11 year olds 

These are 45 minute morning or early evening sessions. These swimmers are part of the club’s swim academy and the group are just the second group up from our starters class. Swimmers join us at age 7 or 8 able to swim a length of front crawl (FC) and backcrawl (BC). They may have an issue with breaststroke (BR) and are unlikely to have butterfly (Fly). They are unlikely to be able to dive. All of this should be addressed over a term or two in what we call JA2.

I treat the warm up as part of the set progressions over the term and will include two or three strokes and some kicking, for example: 2 FC, 2BC; 2 FC, 1BC, 1BR building to 4FC, 2BC, 2BR for fullstrokes with kicking on front and back, starting off with a float, but progressing to ‘Kick on Back’ (KOB) and ‘Kick on Front’ (KOF) in the streamlined position. Part of their progression is stamina so being able to swim 200m and then 300m continually is eventually a requirement.

I may spend the first week of FLY working on the legs only knowing that introducing the arms, part of full, too early, is counterproductive.

I may have the swimmers on the side of the pull to get the message over that their legs need to be together, all of the time, for the next ten minutes or so – even for the rest of the session. I help them visualise climbing into a fishtail, or putting both feet down the same trouser leg. To make this tail work they must use their stomach and bum muscles, pushing back and forth. (In one pool this is facilitated by having short fins. Additional drills are possible with short fins).

Back in the water we play ‘dolphin’ where swimmers have their hands at their side, using them as dorsal fins, and can flap and wriggle their way down the pool as fish-like as possible – down to the bottom, lifting their chin to breathe, then down to the bottom. After a length of this I put them on their backs. Ideally they will be in a tight streamlined position, the body flat on the surface, the fly kick propelling them through the water. It is easy for those who kick from the hips and remain tight, not at all easy for those who kick from the knees and drop their hands in the the ‘surrender position’ – what I want to achieve is kicking from the hip.

On their fronts again they each have a Noddle held at the ends at ‘10 O’Clock and 2 O’Clock’ in a letter ‘Y’. This mimics the fly stroke. They fly-kick down the pool, head down, raising the head to breathe and trying to maintain the kick when they lift the head.

We may continue with variations on the above, kicking on the back with the Noodle, or ‘dolphin’ on the front.  With a group of swimmers it is tricky to fast track some and leave others behind, this is how our system tries to move swimmers along who are of a similar ability.

To add the FLY arms I have the swimmers on the side of the pool and I go to great lengths to demonstrate and talk through what is required for ‘Single Armed Butterfly’, not just talking them through the actions, but having them do it as well. There are two elements to establish: straight arm recovery and timing, so ‘kick the hand in and kick the hand out’. I hate ever to demonstrate how not to do a thing, but in this instance I will do the arm recovery and have the swimmers shout out ‘Straight!’ or ‘Bent!’. I will endeavour to do ‘straight 4 times out of 5. Once they start the exercise the intention is to do one 25m length with one arm, and then the second length with the other. Some swimmers get it straight away, others struggle. Where most are struggling, or where I know it will help, I will have them swim in pairs up the lane with the swimmers facing each other pulling with the inside arm (right and left arms). 

If we have time we can progress to lengths of 2+2+2 (two single arms to the left, two single arms to the right and then two full strokes) and ‘4 kicks, one arm pull’. It really depends entirely on how the group is progressing as sometimes more than a few get stuck with the arm stroke, the timing or still kick from the knees or do a breaststroke kick.

We might do ‘old english backstroke’ with a fly kick, to get the butterfly stroke working (if only on the back). We may also spend some time on the transition – multiple underwater fly kicks in the streamlined position. The session is likely to end on starts: dives from the side (sitting or standing) and even jumps of the starting block (to build confidence): a distance jump, star jump or ‘standing leap’ as far into the pool as possible as a contest – sometimes followed by a ‘dive and glide competition’.

Masters Monday 15 Jan 2018 MASTERS COMPETITIVE A1 COACH & POOLSIDE COPY

From this session plan for A1 Competitive three other sessions plans are worked up to cover a six lane Pool: A2 (Competitive), B Fitness and C Fitness. These are printed off in 24pt for the poolside, excluding Distance, Duration and Total.

Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: Dur: Total
W/U 3 x 200m  as:

1 x 200m FC as 1 x 50m Kick,  1 x 150m Swim (rest after 200m)

15” after each 200m 600 12 12
MAIN 4 x 75 @ FC 80% Effort 1:15 300

/900

5 17
REST 1 18
4 x 75m @ BC 80% Effort 1:30 300

/1200

6 24
2 x 100m as:

1 x 100m FC ‘Zip it Up’ Drill

1 x 100m BC ‘Slomo’ Drill

2:15 200

/1400

5 29
4 x 75m @ BR 80% Effort 1:45 300

/1700

7 36
REST 1 37
4 x 75m @ FLY ‘Single Arm Drill’ 70% Effort 1:45 300

/2000

7 44
2 x 100m as:

1 x 100m BR ‘3 kicks, 1 Pull’ 3K1P

1 x 100m FC ‘Catch Up’ Drill

2:30 200

/2200

5 49
8 x 25 CH Sprint 0:30 200

/2400

4 53
S/D 300m + (‘til end) CH Easy, long, smooth, silent swimming 4:00 300

/2700

6 59+

For the A1 Competitive swimmers the splits were:

4 x 75m FC 1:07/1:08 giving them 7/8 seconds rest. Increase the TRT next time to 1:20 ?

4 x 75m BC 1:12/1:10 giving them 18/20 second rest. More than enough. So reduce?

4 x 75m BR 1:19/1:22 giving them 23/26 seconds rest. Reduce this or about enough?

4 x 75m Fly ‘Single Arm’ 1:22 giving them 23 seconds rest.

In both cases the 2 x 200m was rolled into a 400m without a rest. Necessary as they were getting behind on this session after 25 mins.

For a 2600m swim this came in at exactly 60 mins.

They did a 200m, not a 300m Swim Down.

 

 

Masters Monday 20  NOV  2017 MASTERS FITNESS B COACH COPY

 

Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: RunT Dur: Total
W/U 3 x 100m  as:
1 x 100m BC, 1 x 100m FC, 1 x 100m IM 2:30 300 300 8 8
Long strong counts per length. Think long push and glide in tight streamline on every turn.
MAIN 6 x 75 @ 400m FC pace over 75m = 80% Effort (?)

Check targets and monitor pace through set.

2:00 450 750 12 20
Recovery 200m Reverse IM Emphasis on Distance achieved Per Stroke taken (DPS) 5:00 200 950 5 25
6 x 100m IM (working on U/W skills) as:
2 x 100m as 50m Fly followed by 50m BC 2:45 200 1150 5:30 31
2 x 100m as 50m BC followed by 50m BR 2:45 200 1350 5:30 37
2 x 100m as 50m BR followed by 50m FC 2:45 200 1550 5:30 42
Recovery 200m FC as:
x2 (1 x 25m FC kick on side, 50m breathe every 5th, 25m FC any high elbow drill such as ‘Zip it Up/Fingers Trailing’). 5:00 200 1750 5 47
8 x 25 CH Sprint 1:00 200 1950 8 55
S/D 200m CH Easy, long, smooth, silent swimming 5:00 200 2150 5 60+

As a fitness group they prefer a choice CH of strokes, less FLY and IM and potentially longer rest. They worked their way through this but were short by some 200m so only 4 x 25 sprints and the Swim Down was compromised to 100m. Next time aim to keep the total distance below 2000m.

“Pull, Breathe, Arms-over, Dive (Shoulders), Kick, Long”

Introduction to Butterfly

Some teachers say ‘forget the legs’, others ‘forget the arms.’ It depends rather on how advanced they are. For beginning emphasis on the kick and flude, snaking movement through the water. Then add the arms.

Once they are swimming fly and have the arm stroke telling them to ‘forget the legs’ can improve the timing of the kick.

On the Side of the Pool

Fig. 1 Dolphin Kick from ‘The Swimming Drill Book’  Ruben Guzman part 22

Take swimmers through the dolphin kick: from the hips.

Fig. 2 Dolphin Kick from ‘The Swimming Drill Book’  Ruben Guzman part 22

Demonstrate the kick action from the hips, then have them do the same in the water.

  • Hips back and forwards to kick like a dolphin or merman.

Beth Ross’s Fly Arms sequence

Lie on the side of the pool head over the edge.

  • Hands at side.
    • 1. Flick wrist
    • 2. Raise arm
    • 3. Bring arm over.
    • 4. Repeat

Dolphin resting on lane rope. Legs pointing straight down … as they have done poolside.

Kicking

  • Kick with Woggle: with arms out.
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Front (KOF)
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Back (KOB
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Front (KOF)
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Side (KOS)

Drills

  • Single arm fly.
  • 1+1+1 one right, one left, fullstroke.

G4 did a dive into fly with four kicks to the pull, counting out 4 kicks with 5th the arms in, and 6th the arm pull.

Dead swimmer (From ‘The Swim Drill Book’)

Then from the streamlined position then dolphin kick into FC shallow end and deep, on the ‘T’ or under the flags.

Part: Arms

  • Single Arm 6 kicks to one pull

Watch the straight arm as it comes over

“Kick the hand in, Kick the hand out”

Focus points : Timing of breathing/Rhythm

Whole: Full Stroke

  • From a dive.

Focus points : Hand entry position/Body movement and undulation

Turns : Transition into stroke.

Focus point : No breathing first stroke

Fun Activities

  • Bounce from a pencil jump
  • ‘Sea Otter’
  • Handstands
  • Somersaults
  • Mushroom float
  • Sitting/Lying on the bottom of the pool

A programme of club swim teaching

The programme I’ll be following for the next three months. A simple check sheet for the groups I teach each week. I see between 60 and 80 kids a week, most of these in our teaching groups. Typically age 9-12, a few a little younger. We have groups 1 to 8. Grous 1-3 can swim … they can do a 25m length. These are our beginner groups. Typically I take from Grade 4 upwards, including some who have gone through to our ‘training groups’ – these are club members who want to keep swimming, but haven’t made the grade to join a competitive squad.

Teaching lessons are 30 minutes for groups 1-3, 45 minutes for groups 4-8 and an hour for training groups.

April 13th-July 20th 2015

 

Date wc

Stroke/Activity

Contrasting Activity

Notes

Mon 13th April

Frontcrawl FC Turns
Mon 20th April Backcrawl BC Turns Stroke Count to flags.

All B/C finishes remain on back

Mon 27th  April

Breaststroke BR Transition

Start/Turn

Mon 4th May Starts & Turns

(Prepare  for Dev galas)

Comp Start sheets

Mon 11th May

Butterfly Diving Dev gala 1

Tues 12th Grades 1-4

Sat 16th Grades 5-8

Mon 18th  May

Breast-stroke BRS Transition
Mon 25th  May Butterfly Fly Turns

Mon 1st June

Backstroke B/C Turns
Mon 8th June Frontcrawl Starts

Mon 15th June

Individual Medley IM turns/finishes

Mon 22nd June

Assessments Intro/use of pace clock
Mon 29th  June Starts & Turns Prep for Dev gala
Mon 6th July Breast-stroke BRS Transition Dev gala 2

Tues 7th Grades 1-4

Sat 11th Grades 5-8

Mon 13th July Revision/Teachers choice
Mon 20th July Relays

Introduction to Butterfly. Our Grades 4-6 (NPTS 6-10)

“Pull, Breathe, Arms-over, Dive (Shoulders), Kick, Long”

On the Side of the Pool

Fig. 1 Dolphin Kick from ‘The Swimming Drill Book’  Ruben Guzman part 22

Take swimmers through the dolphin kick: from the hips.

Fig. 2 Dolphin Kick from ‘The Swimming Drill Book’  Ruben Guzman part 22

Demonstrate the kick action from the hips, then have them do the same.

  • Hips back and forwards to kick like a dolphin or merman.

Beth Ross’s Fly Arms sequence

Lie on the side of the pool head over the edge.

Hands at side.

1. Flick wrist

2. Raise arm

3. Bring arm over.

4. Repeat

Dolphin resting on lane rope. Legs pointing straight down … as they have done poolside.

Part I: Kicking

  • Kick with Woggle: with arms out.
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Front (KOF)
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Back (KOB
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Front (KOF)
  • 1 x 25m Kick on Side (KOS)

Drills

  • Single arm fly.
  • 1+1+1 one right, one left, fullstroke.

G4 did a dive into fly with four kicks to the pull, counting out 4 kicks with 5th the arms in, and 6th the arm pull.

Dead swimmer (From ‘The Swim Drill Book’)  into streamlined position then dolphin kick into FC shallow end and deep, on the ‘T’ or under the flags.

Part: Arms

  • Single Arm 6 kicks to one pull

Watch the straight arm as it comes over

“Kick the hand in, Kick the hand out”

Focus points : Timing of breathing/Rhythm

Whole: Full Stroke

From a dive.

Focus points : Hand entry position/Body movement and undulation

Turns : Transition into stroke.

Focus point : No breathing first stroke

Fun Activities

Bounce from a pencil jump

‘Sea Otter’

Handstands

Somersaults

Mushroom float

Sitting/Lying on the bottom of the pool

Butterfly for 8-11 year olds G4, G5 (with some G8 adjustments)

From Swimming

Fig.1. Make like a dolphin

My old mentor and senior coach, Beth, had some magic ways of teaching swimming. With butterfly it is all in the legs – get those right first before adding anything else. We’d then have, where space permitted, part of the lesson on mats around the side of the pool in order to demonstrate, run through and correct the arm stroke which swimmers new to butterfly invariably get wrong. For this session, for me, the emphasis is on the legs and the kick coming from the hips while introducing arms through skills, particularly single arm.

At this level, in fact through all teaching grades, we have two goals: develop skills so that technique is perfected, try to improve stamina and strength, although this can only really be achieved by swimmers attending two or even three lessons a week. Tough clubs will have kids spending a good deal of time kicking up and down the pool on the basis that getting leg strength first delivers body position later; this is a recipe surely for putting kids off? It’s all I remember from the first couple of years when I went to a swim school, kicking back and forth across widths: whilst it did the trick with me when I was five or six, it put many off swimming.

Today I started with streamlining against the side of the pool – before they got wet.

I ran through streamlined position, and then the way in which the fly kick starts by pushing the hips back and forth. Some feel awkward, some have a laugh. Repeat this once in the water where they should feel less self-conscious. It is such an easy thing for the kids to get right: pushing off and gliding in a streamlined position even at Grade 4; it is also a pleasure to see several of them getting into this habit early and still doing it years later. It pays dividends for all strokes with body position, with dives and turns.  It also ties directly into drills and exercises moving a competitive dive and at higher grades improving the dive and all important transition.

After this rough programme for our Grades 4 and 5 swimmers (ages 9-11, one or two years swimming) I make suggestions for a group of G8 swimmers, typically our more advances 12-13 year olds.

(I’d love to be able to show the swimmers a six second clip of a dolphin ‘in flight’. The above is my photo; I shot some video too. The trick and worry is bringing an iPad to the pool. I recently dropped my iPhone into a puddle of water in the bottom of a RIB while out on safety duties with the sailing club … and scrambled it. A very expensive morning volunteering … )

(Sense says a laminated print out. I am happy to show black and white images on a Kindle, especially my old Kindle. Not waterproof, but not too great a loss if it ended up in the pool.

One day will we have smart screens by the side of the pool?)

PRE-POOL
Steamlined positionStanding dolphin: bum back, bum forwardArm action for Butterfly (separate session)

I am guided, as always, by Rubin Guzman’s brilliant ‘Swim Drills Book’.

WARM UP

With emphasis on the dolphin kick pushing off the wall in both strokes

FC x 50m or 100m depending on the grade.

BC (as above)

The less they splash, the smoother they swim; the smoother they swim, the more control they have. I use words like ‘smooth, slinky, silent swimming.

MAIN SET

Dolphin kick up and down the pool

Dolphin resting on lane rope.

With fins is best, but still works to have three at a time rest arms on the lane rope in the deep end, feet pointing down then doing a dolphin kick. (Only three at a time resting their arms on the lane rope or you risk annoying the lifeguard especially if swimmers decide to climb onto the rope)

Kick with Woggle: with arms out, this is OK on the back.

With G8 fly kick on your side, change arm every 25m. This worked very well at identifying how most still kick from the knees rather than through the entire body. I only did this with Grade 8 today, but on reflection would have done it with the other grades too as it is the clearest way to see that swimmers are still kicking from the knee, or not. I may even get a swimmer or two out of the water to walk the length of the pool checking out those who are getting it right and swimming like an eel, or a crocodile compared to those kicking only from the knee.

Sea Otter

A fun one ‘collecting mussels from the bottom of the pool’ – with a fly kick.

Single arm fly:

Still oo tricky at this level, but getting a straight arm recovery is so important.

Watch the straight arm as it comes over

Kick that hand in, Kick the hand out

IDEALLY you find a swimmer from a top group who can demonstrate this, occasionally a swimmer does it beautifully so you can show the others.

DIVING

Dive and glide

Add a dolphin kick

END

Depending on the time left I will use the last minute or 30 seconds with a handstand, aiming at the streamlined position – again. So long legs and pointy toes.

 G8

These swimmers are reaching the stage when they will move to a training group (a non-competitive teenage squad) with the younger stars at this level going into a competitive squad. They’ve typically been with the club for three years or so and should have all the skills in place. Despite this none can swim butterfly which suggests we’re still struggling to teach this. I don’t think how we teach it has everything to do with it, it’s more that case that the serious junior swimmer will be in the pool for lessons at least twice, sometimes three times a week.

The changes to the above set were on the distances swam and the kinds of drills given.

The warm up was 100m swims, the kick sets 2 x 50m.

The drills had an element of endurance:

And longer working on single arm drills which then became

8 kicks 1 pull: count 8 kicks with 9 the arms go in and 10 the arms recover.

4 kicks 1 pull: count 4 kicks with 5 the arms go in and 6 they arms recover

As well as combinations of the single arm drill:

1+1+2 = single arm, other single arm, both together

2+2+2 = two single arm on one side, two single arm on the other side, then both arms together

Fly Kick on the side swapping arm after 25m worked very well.

In the space of six 25m lengths of this, walking along the side of the pool, I could spot immediately the problem and fix across the board. Pushing the bum forward and the bum back is just the start of this, then its a case of getting them to instigate the kick from the head or even the arms.

Finally, putting the whole stroke together at the end I was delighted that one of them just about cracked butterfly, while all showed improvement. All they need is a second lesson this week on butterfly before they move onto a different stroke next week.

Masters IM

I haven’t trained in ten years and when I was doing so it was distance swims for Triathlon Relays and charity swims. I haven’t trained with a club for over thirty years. My return t club swimming, with the Masters at Mid-Sussex Marlins SC has been a gentle affair unitl now, not helped by a three week break I join today and have to do a sessions that takes in all strokes, including kciking for fly, back, breast and front. I give it my best shot and struggle.

As a swimming teacher and coach I hear my own voice trying to get the technique right; I also have informed instruction from the coach which feels as if I am being bent double, insome parts my stroke has been doing the wring thing for decades: raising the arms too high during front crawl, failing to bring the feet together in breaststroke and bending my arm ahead of the entry in backstroke. It iis therefore with surorise and delight when I recieve praise for my butterfly, a stroke I have not attempted in decades. Once agai I hear the instructions I give to 7 to 11 year olds aout kciking fromthe hip and turning the hand upwards on the recovering, enter the hand at shoulder width and accelerate back to the ‘pockets’ with a flick. It works. Though in my very unfit state I don’t even manage a length, 20m at a time in four bursts is all that I do.

Exhausted, my heart racing (I check) and out if breath I finish early. I need to be in the water during the week too, possiblly three swims a week to crack it.

Fly

Robert Guzman’s ‘Swim Drills’ is my guide. Poolside I just need the image for the drill. Perhaps a single training tip at a time could be offered. I hadn’t time to load images into GoMo so used screen grabs on the iPhone which were very adequate, just need to have them in chronological order.

The age range 7-11, boys and girls. I am familiar with Long Term Athlete Development and know children well enough to understand that constant praise, an element of play and competitiveness is required.

POOLSIDE

Hips back and forwards to kick like a dolphin or merman.
Arms action: enter wide, hour-glass sweeping back (have they seen one of these? What alternarive metaphor could I use?)

IN THE WATER

Warm up
2x50m FC ‘smooth, slinking, sliding slowly through the water’

MAIN
FLY KICK
Standing in water
Dolphin
Fly kick resting arms on the lane ropes
Fly kick on the back
More dolphin
Fly kick with Noodle (arms out wide)

FUN
Otter
Streamlined bounce
sea-horse race on the noodle
Cat and mouse

MAIN
Single arm fly
Race pace Fly with transition
Race pace FC with transition

SWIM DOWN
Handstands
somersaults
Mushroom float
Sitting on the bottom of the pool
Lying on the bottom of the pool