Here’s a different take on a drill we did about 3 years ago. This shows there are many ways to do the same drill. While many people think you should breathe to the front on single-arm fly, that’s not going to get you the whole story.
Why do it:
Single-arm fly is a great way to build a technically solid butterfly, because you don’t get so fatigued that your stroke falls apart. Most of us can swim butterfly for only a short distance before everything goes wrong, so single-arm fly gives many opportunities to improve.
How to Do It:
1. Push off and initiate your normal dolphin kicks.
2. Choose either arm and initiate a single arm stroke.
3. Keep the lead arm out front and extended. While you can also keep the non-working arm at your side, that can cause you to dive too deep. For this drill, it’s important that you stay shallow in the front of the stroke, so keep the non-working arm out front.
4. While you stay stable and shallow out front, think about your HIPS. Allow your hips to rise above the surface, and then allow the feet to follow. In order to allow the hips to make a larger up and down move, it’ll be easier to breathe to the side.
5. Use one arm for a few strokes, then switch to the other arm.
6. Finally, after a few strokes with the other arm, swim a few strokes of whole-stroke butterfly without breathing. Get your air on the single arm, and then try to extend forward and stay shallow on the full stroke.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Draw your feet forward. Don’t allow them to DROP, or PLOP, or SLAM into the water. Feel them slide forward, following your hips, thighs, knees, and shins forward into the flow of the body. This drill not only teaches you how to stay shallow in front while using your hips and body movement, but also encourages you to LENGTHEN your bodyline. Enjoy.