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6 Year old learning Butterfly at swimming lessons


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#1 woodelf

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:40 AM

Yesterday my 6 year old DS1 was being taught Butterfly in his swimming lesson.  He has not yet mastered Freestyle and backstroke.  He had no concept on what he was trying to be taught - having never seen anyone actually do Butterfly.

I dont think that he will be an Olympic Champion in swimming.

I guess there is method to their madness, however I think that Butterly is only a stroke that should be learnt if you are into squad etc.

What do others think?  Should I approach the teacher and tell them not to teach him that?  Afterall, I am the one paying for the lessons.

#2 galba

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:43 AM


All my kids are swimmers and they have been taught the butterfly kick from an early age.  I wouldn't be going up and demanding that he not be taught something - just ask them for clarification.



#3 Nofliesonme

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:45 AM

Sounds very odd, they have to be a level 5 swimmer in qld before that stroke is taught. My 6yr old is a level 4 swimmer and just learnt breastroke. I think if he hasn't mastered stroke correction properly on freestyle and backstroke it's an odd thing to be learning...... Cause even at level 4 stroke correction is big for the 2 main strokes.....I'd be having a word and just asking why?

#4 Julie3Girls

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:47 AM

Depends on what level he is at, in whatever swim scheme they have. Generally, they have a list of things the kids need to know before going up to the next level, so the instructors have to teach to that.

My older two both learned "dolphin kick", which is the legs for butterfly. That was in the "eel" level of classes, where the classes are longer and they pretty much are swimming laps of the pool.
My DD3 is the level below that at the moment - doing freestyle, backstroke, and learning breast-stroke.

As for asking him to not be taught .. as I said, depends on the swimming scheme. Removing it might prevent from officially moving up to the next level.
You might be able be able to skip it for the moment if he is in a private class. But if he is in a group class, I doubt they will change it just for you.

#5 libbylu

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

I also recall DS age 6 learning the kick, but certainly not the arms or the whole 'butterfly stroke' - which is really difficult - I can't do it and I am quite coordinated!  Can't hurt to have a chat about it and find out what their reasons are.

ETA the reasons could be many....perhaps they are desperately in need of some butterfly swimmers for their junior squad and are giving the kids a quick trial to see if anyone shows a natural talent at it to be recruited in.

Edited by libbylu, 07 November 2012 - 11:57 AM.


#6 Mumsyto2

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:00 PM

Is it butterfly in total or butterfly prep he is being taught?

Ours do prep with the kick and so on from a certain level not age which would be around 6yo for most of the kids. They then go on to do the actual stroke at a higher level. So they do components of butterfly for 2 levels before they actually put it all together and do the actual stroke as a whole in the next level. For most kids a level is a year, so whilst concentrating on freestyle and backstroke they introduce the components of butterfly and then they learn it as a full stroke about 2 years on and then refine it after passing that level if that makes sense. I think that approach is pretty standard across most swim schools.

If you don't understand something just ask.  as for them modifying the program, that would only work if you are paying for a 1 on 1 private lesson not a group lesson.

#7 mumto3princesses

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:12 PM

I think actual butterfly should be a squad level thing once all the other strokes are mastered.

DD3 (nearly 9yrs) did butterfly kick along with all sorts of other things like 1 arm and 1 shoulder backstroke etc that they do in squad levels. She was in the lesson before squad which is longer and like a stroke correction and laps of the pool class which they call a mini squad. Now she is in squad and learning butterfly but hasn't got it yet.

DD2 (DD3's twin) is in the class below the mini squad at the moment which is the one they learn breaststroke. She already has the hang of freestyle with bi-lateral breathing and backstroke and also breaststroke now but no way would I want her trying to learn butterfly yet. Get the rest right first I think.

#8 woodelf

Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:05 PM

There is only 3 in the class.  Its an ongoing class - they slot swimmers in around the level that they are at at the time.  DS would be the stronger swimmer of the 3.  The lesson goes for 20 mins.

I know DS wants to join the swim club that operates at his school pool next year and they need to be able to swim 12 - 25 metres freestyle with correct breathing technique.  So I would really like him to be able to do that.

One of the other parents with a child in the class doesn't really like butterfly being taught either.  

QUOTE
Is it butterfly in total or butterfly prep he is being taught?
- Arms and legs

QUOTE
Get the rest right first I think.
- Me too.

Will wait and see if/when they decide to do it again and go from there.

#9 #tootired

Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:10 PM

Sounds a bit odd to me.

My DS has been swimming for 4 years and is now aged 9 and is just learning the dolphin kick and full body dolphin movement....no arms.

He is proficient at free and back stroke and has nearly mastered breaststroke.
Butterfly is definitely last on the learning list at our swim school.

See what transpires in the next class.

Edited by #tootired, 07 November 2012 - 03:11 PM.


#10 bluedragon

Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:25 PM

I was a swim instructor and often introduced things that were slightly further on in the planned curriculum if I felt the aptitude and/or interest in doing so was there.

At the stage your DS is is at it is definitely appropriate to introduce butterfly kick. Less convinced about the arms but if it was only just once or twice to do something a bit different then I can't see a problem.

If you're concerned have a quick chat with the instructor. Say that he wants to do the school club and what he needs to be able to do by then.

#11 MrsLexiK

Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

I am wondering if it was a case of bord with the same stroke? or a case of lets see how he goes with this one and whether I can work out why he hasn't mastered freestyle yet.

#12 Futhermore

Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:52 PM

Both my kids learn butterfly.  Both started learning it well before they mastered the other strokes. For my daughter it is easier to master than breast stroke.  

Why would it be a problem for him to learn?  Surely a proffesional swim instructor would have a better idea of how a child should progress through lessons than the average parent?  I have always just assumed it's about body awareness, learning to move the body in different ways, co-ordination and strengthening different muscle groups.  Not unlike teaching a child to jump when they are still mastering the art of running.

Edited by ~maryanne~, 07 November 2012 - 04:52 PM.


#13 mumto3princesses

Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:59 PM

QUOTE (woodelf @ 07/11/2012, 03:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know DS wants to join the swim club that operates at his school pool next year and they need to be able to swim 12 - 25 metres freestyle with correct breathing technique.  So I would really like him to be able to do that.


So, he can't quite swim 12m freestyle yet with correct breathing?

I don't even think he is ready for butterfly kick yet.

My DD2 is probably ready for the mini squad and could handle learning butterfly kick now but not actual butterfly and she currently swims 25m laps of freestyle, breastroke and backstroke up and back pretty much the whole 30min lesson. (DD3's is 45mins to 1hour and lap after lap. Usually 6 x 25m laps without stopping at a time with tumble turns.)




#14 Futhermore

Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:04 PM

mumto3princesses, what are you basing your ideas on of when it should be learnt?  Is there a developmental level or something or is it just your oppinion?  Not having a go, just interested as it seems to be very much the norm to introduce butterfly kick quite early, and to learn several strokes at once.  Surely not all those swim schools and instructors have it wrong?

#15 happygurl06

Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:21 PM

You can always speak to the on deck supervisor about anything your child is doing in swim class.  If they don't have one (someone who walks around the pool, sometimes in the office but they should be on deck more than not) they should. Each component of each lesson should be able to be justified by the instructor as to how it fits into the requirements of the level your child is on.  The supervisor will check with the instructor and let you know unless the swim school has set lesson plans then they can tell you straight away.

In my swim school there is no way we could slip in an extra stroke if it wasn't in the lesson plan or part of the level competences.  If we think the child is ready for a new level they are assessed for 1-2 minutes by the supervisor during class.  Sometimes it is done in class other times the child is taken to the side and asked to do things.  However each swim school does things differently.

#16 mumto3princesses

Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

I guess I like the way our swim school does things. They have different things they want done right before they can move up a level. Which then means everyone in the class is at a similar level of swimming.

So, the first level after the nursery/baby class they want them able to do 5 freestyle arms no breathing and torpedo out to the teacher and back before they move up. Obviously starting with paddling etc.

Next one they learn breathing on one side and backstroke and they have to be able to swim 25m of both before moving up.

Next level they learn bi-lateral breathing and must be able to do 25m of freestyle and backstroke  before moving up.

Then the next one they learn breastroke and tumble turns and must be able to swim 50m of freestyle, backstroke and breastroke and have a basic idea of how to do a tumble turn before moving up.

Then mini squad and squads.

Edited by mumto3princesses, 07 November 2012 - 05:36 PM.


#17 ~TSC~

Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:08 PM

DD2 is 6.5 and have started doing butterfly.  I don't have a problem with it, they only do it for a few minutes.  I see it as a balanced set of skills.  It's certainly not something they really get the hang of until much later, but it's what goes on under water that's really important, not what you see on top.

#18 crazyone2989

Posted 07 November 2012 - 07:40 PM

Learning the kick from quite early on (as in when they start learning freestyle) is quite common, as it is the kick that they really need to master in order to add the arms and not sink.


Where is he at with his other strokes? How far can he swim freestyle and backstroke? Can he do breaststroke arms and legs? Every swim school does it differently but if he is still struggling with freestyle and backstroke it does sound a bit soon. Best just to ask!

#19 remisch

Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:18 PM

My 6 year old DS also had butterfly introduced at his swimming lesson this week - arms and legs.  They'd been doing the dolphin kick on and off for a while.  He sounds like he's at a similar level to your DS, OP.  Our swim school has set lesson plans, so it was definitely planned.

I wondered if they were at the same place, but our lesson times and class sizes are different.

#20 ~shannon~

Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:14 AM

QUOTE (thunda @ 07/11/2012, 11:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sounds very odd, they have to be a level 5 swimmer in qld before that stroke is taught. My 6yr old is a level 4 swimmer and just learnt breastroke. I think if he hasn't mastered stroke correction properly on freestyle and backstroke it's an odd thing to be learning...... Cause even at level 4 stroke correction is big for the 2 main strokes.....I'd be having a word and just asking why?

I'm in Queensland and have never heard of your rules. I don't think it's odd at all to learn all four strokes.

It's certainly commonplace at the two swim schools we have been involved with (one in Far North Queensland and the other in Central Queensland). My daughter (now aged 6) started learning dolphin kick from very early on (around age 4) and added arms later. It takes a long time to master any of the four strokes, so why not give them the option of learning them all, and seeing where their strengths lie?

Since my DD learnt all four from an early age, she is now swimming 25m lengths in the four strokes at her swimming club. Her squad training then works on technique and they take notes at club nights to see where each child needs help.

I have seen children in the same club who swing their arms backwards instead of forwards in the butterfly because they haven't had enough lessons to understand what to do, but they really want to swim, so they give it a go anyway. I honestly don't see the harm in teaching them new techniques.


#21 woodelf

Posted 14 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

An update:

Ds1 had his lesson yesterday arvo.  During his freestyle practice he was actually trying to do a mixture of freestyle and butterfly instead.  He was definately confused  ohmy.gif

I phoned the swim school this morning and they said that they introduce them to butterfly to build their 'core strenght'.  Well it obviously worked after one week - cause he nailed it when he did it yesterday!!  (wish my abs would tighten so quickly - maybe I should try butterfly)

Anyhow they will monitor his freestyle to make sure he stays on track.

Thanks everyone for their input.  It makes confronting these issues easier when you have heard other aspects and sides of it.  biggrin.gif

#22 annodam

Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:52 PM

My daughter is 11yo & she's been doing Butterfly for 2 years now.
They were teaching dolphin kick from aged 7yo I think...

Our swim school focuses on correct stroke techniques before moving to the next level.

#23 brazen

Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:52 PM

depending on their swimming ability they start learning around that age at our swim school - can't see the problem myself




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