Butterfly - Head-Up Dolphin Kick
Finding "fun" and challenging ways to keep practice intriguing for swimmers is partly what drills are all about. It's even better when these drills tax the swimmers' bodies so that physical conditioning takes also place.
Why Do It:
This drill overloads not just the legs (because you're using fins) but also the abs (because of the position of the body and the finishing action of the feet). The additional benefit is that it develops a strong UPBEAT in the kick. When you flip this over, it becomes the downbeat for butterfly...or for the breaststroke underwater pullout.
How to Do It:
1. Put on your favorite pair of fins.
2. Push off on your back and with your hands down at your sides. You also need to lift your head and look back toward your feet. Start kicking dolphin kick, with the goal of throwing water UP toward the ceiling with your fins. Make as big a splash...or bubble...as you can. Lifting the head lets you check to see if you're doing the drill correctly. And if you do it properly, the body position will tax your abdominal muscles.
3. During each kick UP with the legs, the feet (actually, your fins) should break the surface and create a splash UP. If there's little or no splash, you're not working the abs and legs quite hard enough.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
When done correctly, this is an intense drill, so you might want to alternate a length of the drill...followed by a length of recovery freestyle. Then do a length of streamline dolphin to stretch out the abs. This can also be pretty intense.
You'll also notice some sculling with the hands. Although sculling is not preferred, don't worry too much about it. Good swimmers instinctively look for leverage anywhere they can get it. As long as you're moving forward, keeping the head up, and splashing the water out...all is good. Thanks to Barbara's masters team at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center for demonstrating our drill.