The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Learn to Swim Progression for Infants and Toddlers, Stage One »« Swim Equipment for Teaching Toddlers in Swim Lessons

How to Teach the Butterfly

Once your students have a hang of the “general idea” of the butterfly stroke, then it is time to start refining some of the details. In this video clip, you can see 6-year old McKinley is figuring out the opportune time to get the head beneath the surface. On her first two strokes, she drops her head prematurely which throws off the timing and interferes with the recovery. When the head goes down too early, so do the shoulders, which prevent an nice, smooth recovery of the arms (you recover after each pull). While she still has plenty to work on (what 6 year old doesn’t?), she does a fabulous job putting figuring out the necessary head position relative to the recovery and entry!

***Note McKinley is also wearing a pair of Finis Zoomers. I like the Zoomers because the blade is short, keeping the kick action more similar to their kick than would long blade flippers. At the same time, the short blade Zoomers still provide additional propulsion which helps young learners get higher in the water and gives them a better chance to make technique improvements. For more detailed video instruction on how to teach the butterfly, check out Swim Lessons University for Swim Instructor DVDs, as well as Online Swim Instructor Certification opportunities.


The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

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September 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm
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