The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

How To Teach the Butterfly Breath Timing

Your student has the butterfly kick. Your student understands the recovery action of the butterfly arms. Your student’s body action and undulation is even looking good! So what is often holding your student’s butterfly skill mastery back? THE BREATH TIMING!

One of the most frustrating parts of teaching butterfly is getting our students to put it all the parts together and perform the butterfly the way it really should look. The majority of the time it is improper breath timing that is the culprit. The head position throughout the stroke is paramount, whether it’s during the entry, the pull, or the recovery of the arms.

In this short video clip, I’d like to share with you a drill that I like to use and have found it to be very helpful to my students when it comes to understanding the timing of the breath. Because the butterfly is complex skill, it still requires a lot of trial and error. In other words, it’s not a magical drill. However, at the very least, this drill will help your students understand what they are striving for each and every time you review it before your students attempt to practice it.

Would you be interested in a complete, detailed course on HOW TO TEACH THE BUTTERFLY?  Check out Swim Lessons University’s Butterfly video course.


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 was the first American to win the award in 10 years.

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March 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm Comments (0)