Tips for beginners of all ages (kids, adults) - (Overcoming my fear of water)

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Jan 6, 2006

Tips for beginners of all ages (kids, adults) - (Overcoming my fear of water)

Swimming is a sport that is not natural to everyone. Walking, running, biking, all of these are quite easy to master, however, it takes some coordination and stamina to learn how to swim and to top it all off, before we improve our swim technique, we all have a different swimming style based on our physical ability which makes it that much more challenging. The good news is that everyone can learn how to swim if given the right instructions. Here are a few novice tips that will help you conquer the world of water.

Before getting in the water, let's think about a few things. First, swimming is done in a horizontal position which is not natural for many people. Most beginner swimmers feel disoriented when laying on the water, they sometimes feel as if they will fall down or that they do not have control over their bodies. However, this feeling should be overcome as it is not the case. Try to think of it more as laying down into a nice soft bed. Second, let's stay with the bed analogy. When you lay down to sleep, your body is relaxed, all muscles are loosend up. This is very similar how you should feel when floating in the water. Believe it or not, but the more relaxed you are the easier it is to stay afloat. So listen to Frankie and RELAX. Third, do not use any floating equipment. True, it is easier to kick with a kickboard or rely on some sort of a belt around your waist, however, most folks start getting dependent on the floating equipment and then it is hard to learn to swim the right way. Fourth, BREATHE. Do not hold your breath. Every time you take a breath and put your face into the water, start slowly exhaling bubbles. This will relax you and will let you enjoy your swimming exercise that much more. If you are having trouble breathing, perhaps this drown proofing advice will help. Fifth, do not be afraid, water is your friend. Many have mastered swimming before you, so why shouldn't you :)...

Now let's get to the good stuff. You are probably asking, so what do I do in the pool? How do I start? Well, let's see:

1.) If you are afraid of the water, you should start by standing up in the shallow end of the pool holding the wall and try to squat, so you get your chin close to the water. Breath easily. Once you are comfortable, try to go deeper under water while holding your breath. Now, don't just go up and down quickly, relax and use nice smooth motion to get up and down. If that is ok, try to stay with your head submerged for longer. If you have your goggles, open your eyes, look around you and explore the beauty of the water. Try not to wear any floating devices that would help you with floating. Learning to float on your own is the way to go, so right from the beginning you exercise the correct muscles and body positions. If you really need to have some sense of security, you can try the SafeSwimme safety product

Blowing bubbles by Darkumber
2. Now that we have mastered this, it is time for bubbles. Squat down holding the wall, so your mouth is submerged and start blowing bubbles through your mouth. You are still nice and relaxed and going up, taking a breath, and down, blowing bubbles for a few seconds. Try to increase the time you are under the water blowing bubbles. The exhaling with bubbles helps you relax by not keeping you too uptight while holding your breath.

3. It is time you learn how to stand back up from horizontal swimming position. You are standing up, your arms are at your side, slowly lay on the water facing down while extending your arms above your head. So you end up laying on the water as a tree log stretching your arms as far forward as possible with your palms down. Hold your breath (keep your mouth shut :)) and relax. Your body should be flat, the surface of the water should be hitting you on the back of your hair on top of your head, so get that chin toward your chest. Don't be afraid to even get your head under the water a little. Whenever you are ready to stand up, slowly bring your knees to your chest while keeping your arms extended forward and head under the water. You will notice your body is changing positions from horizontal to vertical. when you butt starts to sink start slowly moving your straight arms (palms facing down) from the front above your head, down toward your hips keeping your arms straight. So, they will make nice half a circle. Then when you are vertical, your face is still in the water, just extend your legs down to the bottom of the pool and rotate your head out of the water (backwards). Voila! Now, try it with exhaling (blowing bubbles) when your head is underwater. This will help you relax more.

If you can master all the swimming skills I discussed above, you should be fairly comfortable being in the water. If not, keep practicing, until you handle 1,2,3 with ease. Good luck and remember, water is not evil. Don't think too much about it, we all have instincts to survive. :)

Update: After you have handled the above with ease, feel free to move on to the next post where I show you how to start your first motion in the H20 or just dive straight into some swim lessons posts.

Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.

105 comments:

Tarvok said...

What do you do when your density is such that you literally do not float.

I remember being taught something called the "dead man's float" at camp one year. For me, it was more of a "dead man's sink." I would fill my lungs with air, relax every muscle in my body, and a few seconds later, I'd feel my toes brushing the bottom of the lake. Raising my head to take a breath was not an option.

I've aged since them, put on some more body fat, and now, I float just fine. I can even control what depth I float at by deciding how much air to keep in my lungs. But not everybody floats. I didn't, when I was a kid.

Click here to learn to walk on water said...

Thanks so much for this post. I am teaching my 8 year old and 6 year old to swim right now and this is very helpful.

Cool blog!

Maddy said...

Beautiful site! I LOVE
floating on water and it
was the first thing I taught
my son, Noah!

Shaun said...

Great tips!

Shaun
ohpunk.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

As an adult trying to learn how to swim ... this was a nice read

mynewsbot.com

Bangalore City News said...

I enjoyed Reading this Blog. One of the Best One.

Nabeel said...

great post man ..

actually i didn't know how to swim .. but long time ago i tried that relaxed approach and I did stay afloat ..

I know how to swim now .. but i don't very often .. i should though.

Life Ruiner's Anonymous said...

I've taught swimming for ten years up until this year (finished nursing school... no indoor pool at my nursing post). I found that it was best to teach people to start with the breathing part - if they can't be comfortable with their face in, they won't be able to relax... so lots of "bobs", blowing bubbles from the nose/mouth, and mastering the center of gravity... we should trade ideas.

Life Ruiner's Anonymous said...

also spending lots and lots of time at the pool... and joining a competitive club - you learn a lot more technique wise that way than you do from generic swimming lessons...

Bangalore City News said...

I enjoyed Reading your Blog. This one was one of the Best I read today. Thank you
I just added your blog to my book marks and will be checking back often.

Bangalore

Screamer said...

Reading this make me think that I should probably learn how to swim. After all, anything can happen and it could save my life.

Squire said...

Thanks for the article... It was nice.. would love to swim ..

Mike H said...

Hi, how do you stay afloat with metal plates in your head?

AD's said...

great tips !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James said...

Great site. I've come to love the beauty of swimming and how good it makes me feel. I just started re-learning (Total Immersion) after years of lessons as a kid just thrashing about in the pool trying not to drown. Still, I get water up my nose -- am I a geek if I wear nose plugs? Maybe it's my technique. But I'm considering the nose plugs.

Mike said...

Nice read. Well done.

Anonymous said...

i'm quite a weak swimmer myself. these tips do help but they sound a lot easier than they actually are. i think i'd need an instructor like you to help, lol

libor said...

Nose plugs are not for geeks. Trust me. Even the fastest swimmers wear nose plugs when they swim backstroke. If they are underwater with a nose plug, no air escapes and they can pop up easier with less effort. Anyway, that was a bit advanced.

If you get water in your nose, try to pucker up your upper lip, so it enclouses your holes, that helps for most (unless you have a beard :). And don't worry about using a noseplug. If it makes your swimming comfortable, then why not. After you get more used to water, you will be able to do it without. Keep it up.

Swimming is not hard, just takes a lot of time, practice and self-dedication to master. Yes, swimming classes can be helpful, however, you can learn on your own as well. Patience is the key. Also, if something doesn't work one way, try it another (one thing will work). Just remember, "The more muscles you relax the more energy you can put into it, the faster you will swim".

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, excellent tips! I am an adult learning swimming and it is very helpful to me.

Anonymous said...

ill try these tips as i, as an adult, am learning to swim for the first time .. thnx for tips :)

Anonymous said...

i don't go to an indoor swimming pool,so i have to wait for the community pool to open in summer and i feel like i start learning from the begining every year, i didn't show any progress.

Anil said...

This is really nice explaination. Is there any site that has a video demonstration for how to swim?

libor said...

to anil:

Try searching on http://www.youtube.com for some swimming related words and you might find some good videos.

Anonymous said...

hii

thank you very much for this, i always afraid by water, now i will follow your tips, and i think it will me sure thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hello there. I would need any advice on how to keep floating on the water. In fact i have never learned how to float. Believe or not, i know how to swim by different styles but i do not know how to float. I am always afraid staying in the deep end of the pool

swimator said...

Hi, floating is no science. You can do it, just don't be afraid. Start by floating on your back, take a deep breath and hold it. The air in your lungs is enough to keep you afloat. Make sure your head is tilted back and watch the ceiling, this will help with bringing your legs up a little. This might help http://blog.swimator.com/2006/01/tips-for-beginners-of-all-ages-kids_22.html . Good luck

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice explanation .

Gud Dhani
http://gud-dhani.blogspot.com

dubai said...

nice to read this beginners lesson...
thank you.. i tried to start my friendship with water only just a day before... i will try this lesson next time when i go to beach...

dubai said...

thanks for this beginners lesson... i will try it next time on beach...

dubai said...

nice lesson... will try it next time on beach...

Katherine said...

I have been an instructor for 20 years! Your advice is right on. But I want you guys to know that everyone can float NO MATTER WHAT< you just have to know where your bouy is. Meaning if you press your lungs down when your laying on your back in the water your leggs will come up. It never works the first time but the more you try the easier it becomes. Its a survival tequnique we ar all born with if we can get past panic. I learned it from the total emersion videos.

swimator said...

Katherine, thanks for the comments. You are correct. We just know how to do this somewhere down deep. So, all you guys out there, don't be frustrated, just keep trying and relax while you do it. You will eventually get it.

JfK said...

My Daughters are learning how to swim so I think it's time I started ? Hope i'll be able to swim soon

Anonymous said...

i have just started swimming but its really hard for me to stand up after floating.Everytime i try to stand up inside water without support i tend to fall. how to maintain balance?plz help..

swimator said...

to anonymous: standing up after floating is another skill that usually needs to be first explained before you get the aha moment. Next time, you are floating on your stomach, instead of moving your legs and arms at the same time to try to stand up, do the following.
1) float on your stomach
2) slowly bring your knees to your chest, so they are tucked in
3) assuming your arms are above your head pointing in the direction you are floating, make sure your palms are facing down, and move your straight arms towards your hips
4) since you were in a ball with legs tucked in, the arm movement toward your hips will rotate you into a vertical position, so the only thing that is left is to extend your legs to the bottom

tip: do not try to lift yourself out of the water, keep shoulders and butt in the water at all times.

kynce said...

I would really want to know how to swim since I was 6 years old, now im 18 I still cannot swim properly.. thanks for the information.. I will take all the tips thanks again

Anonymous said...

nice one....i will do it today...the tips are real

Anonymous said...

We Just Got A Pool and I am A Little Fearful About Going Under While Learning To Swim any Tips Help Would Be Appreciated Thanks

Ramesh said...

i like swimming and please use these tips if you are beginners

Ramesh said...

Thanks so much for this post. i am trying to swim but i am not able to do but after reading these tip i am become a very good swimmer

Pools said...

Nice tips. When I was little my dad threw me on a 10ft deep pool and I learned how to float. Definitely not advisable as it may give trauma to some kids :)

libor said...

thanks for the great comments. I am glad the tips are helping.

@Pools: that is very unfortunate that you were taught by getting thrown into the water. This is not very good. If you are teaching your children, they need to trust you, so if you say you will catch them or you will not move from one spot, do exactly as you said. Otherwise, you are fighting an uphill battle. Psychology plays a big role in teaching children how to swim.

Anonymous said...

Some people are way too tense and are unable to relax their muscles. Consequently, they are unable to float on water and will never eventually get the hand on how to swim at all!

I tend to be one of those so-called people. I've been trying for all my life to get pass the tense part., I cannot even float on my back neither on my stomach and I've practicing regularly and I have followed swimming courses. I suppose not all humans are made to swim. So, If you are one of those, sorry to disappoint I think it might just be genetic...

libor said...

@ Anonymous: thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'd have to disagree with you. If your problem is being tense, you probably just did not find the right instruction on how to relax. If your problem is not floating due to too much muscle mass and low fat volume, you can still learn how to swim, it will just be a bit more challenging, but it can be done. Anyone can learn how to swim, it is just a matter of finding the right learning path for you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Swimmator...
I am 26 and i always wanted to swim...but i think i m scared of water. I just joined a swimming club, the coach is not very supportive, but my swim mates are nice, they help me...But all of them say that I dont relax my body..please tell me what to do to relax my body..I really wnat to b a gud swimmer.

libor said...

@anonymous: thanks for your comment. Your teammates are correct. Relaxation in the water is the first thing one should learn. One of the way to relax your body is to achieve calm, rhythmic and controlled breathing cycles while you swim. I'll write a post discussing some of the issues of relaxation in water, so stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

really it is a very special tip for the beginners

Saurabh said...

best swimming tips website till date...

Swimming workouts for beginners said...

The dead man's float is great for teaching newbies the correct body position for swimming and also helps with your balance in the water. It is hard to get in the beginning, but you just have to stick with it and eventually you will find the most efficient position for your body.

You can see more about this and other useful tips and techniques at swimming workouts for beginners.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I just started my first swimming lesson yesterday. Very disappointed with myself. I can't bring my hips and legs straight up in water in horizontal position. i try my best to float but I can't. Will I learn swimming.

swimator said...

@anonymous: congrats on getting your feet wet:) and taking the next step. Keep practicing, swimming does not come naturally to us, so it takes time. Perhaps this will help to get your hips up.

Jealsa said...

I am 28 and learning to swim. I am afraid of deep water, but my primary discomfort is the compression I feel when my chest is submerged under water. It just feels more difficult to breathe and I often find myself standing on my toes (when in 3 feet or so) to get my chest out of water so breathing is easier. I am 5'1".

akiee said...

awesome .....

i always scared from water but when i read it you kill my fear n now i join swimming club and i really floating in two days ........... wallah behtareen tip.

I wanna know that if i drawning down in the deep area what should i do.

thanks

swimator said...

to akiee: thanks for sharing your experience. I am glad my suggestions are helping. Your question is justified. What if you are in a deep area and you loose control? Let me just give you a quick pointers, but I'll work on putting something together for a new post.
1) if you are not comfortable in shallow area - DO NOT go to deep area :)
2) your fear should not be about drowning. if you are going to have a fear, you should fear not sticking to what you learned and panicing. As panic is the worst.
3) if you do happen to feel like you are going to sink and you are in the pool where the depth is 3-5m, then don't panic and just sink down to the bottom and push off to get a breath in.

Try reading this article about what to do when you feel like you are drowning

to Jealsa: thanks for sharing your fear. The compression of your chest is a common issue for many beginners. I'd say that the pressure on your chest is actually not as big as you think it is. What you feel as a huge pressure is escalated by your fear. In reality, it is not that big of a difference in pressure right at the surface of the water. To help with this, you should start in a shallower water and most importantly in a very warm water, so you are comfortable and eliminate any other discomforts. And slowly submerge up to your belly button first and see if you breathing is ok, then keep going by very slow increments to get deeper and deeper and always stop when you feel discomfort and hold the position until you are comfortable. You can also try to close your eyes and focus on something to relax you like laying on a sunny beach etc.

Anonymous said...

I joined swimming class last week ,4 classes are over..I strtd floating in water followed by leg stroke..I know how to do well,but at times i feel so scared that i use floaters to practice.I understood that once i start floating ,I feel like I am going to sink and stops.Please help me,I am feeling depressed.will I be able to study.

akiee said...

thanks swimator ...... now i m perfect floater not swimmer :P

libor said...

to anonymous: congrats on learning to float. You wrote one important thing: "I strtd floating.... I know how to do well". If this is trully how you feel that you can float well, then you should not be scared to be in the water. Get rid off those floating devices and improve your floating skills on your own. Just stay in the shallower end of the pool or lake and you can always stand up. If you really need the emotional floater support, why not try the swim safety device. You can use it only when you need to, so you still get the right muscles stronger.

Anonymous said...

I strtd studying swimming reacently...I close my eyes while swimming and i lose my confidence if i open my eyes...is there any problem?

swimator said...

to anonymous: congrats on getting yourself into the water. More power to you. You should work on being able to open your eyes in the water and feel comfortable doing so. Closing your eyes could keep you tense. So, get into the shallow end of the pool, duck under water, open your eyes and observe what people are doing below the water. It is fun :). You should probably invest into some swimming goggles, so you can see under water and to protect your eyes if the water you swim in is not clear.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou swimator..this blog is wonderful especially for beginners!!!.

Adventure Swim said...

You make some good points in these posts! Anything that increases awareness of swimming safety and proper technique is good in our book. That being said, having a coach can help correct bad habits before they begin. Primal learning is what you will resort to in times of stress, and you want to make sure you've learned right!

Libor J said...

to AdventureSwim: thanks much for your kind words and for sharing your insights. You are 100% correct, for most of us it is pertinent that we do seek professional help at some point of the learn to swim process. Ideally right at the beginning.

Theen said...

Thank you very much for the informative post. I am an adult learning to swim, and attended the first swimming session till now. I realize that I have difficulty in being comfortable in water mainly because I am very fearful when my ears go under water. Can sound strange, but that is it. I panic whenever my ears goes under water. I tried wearing ear plugs, still not comfortable, may be because it is not custom made (?). How can I overcome this problem? Thanks again...

libor said...

@Theen: you are welcome. I am glad it is helping. In regards to the ear issue, I am not 100% positive what to recommend as behind every fear there is usually some story which helps to uncover why the person thinks they way they do. What I would recommend though would be not to use ear plugs if you don't have to, unless you really feel this is your last resort. It is much more natural to not use them.

Getting water in your ears is just a feeling you can get used to after a lot of practice. You can just practice getting your head under the water while standing or kneeling on the pool bottom and each time try to stay under water for longer. Perhaps try to listen to any sounds you may hear under the water and that could keep your mind occupied and not worrying about how your ears feel.

Theen said...

Thank you so much for the suggestion !! For the past two days I tried not to use the ear plugs and I am more comfortable now !! Also tried slowly going underwater and immerse the head completely. I am glad that slowly I am getting used to it. Thanks again for the encouragement and wish you a happy new year!!

libor said...

@Theen: glad it helped. I am sure it will only get better if you prevail. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

wonderful post..
jst keep on giving this sort of amazing tips for beginners.

Pradip said...

I am 57 year old I am learning swimming yesterday I tried to float ,even though I had gadget for swimming tied?
to my back I went underwater and almost drowned, Suddenly I remembered instruction given to fellow swimmer , i.e to breathe in to come up.So I breathed in and came on surface. Is it right method ? or some other way ! Suppose water had been 15 meter deep would I have come up by breathing in or drowned

Libor J said...

@Pradip: congratulations on getting out there and getting wet. Sounds like you need to stay in shallow water, so if something like this happens in the past, you can just stand up.

Breathing in is very important part of floating. Your lungs serve as balloon, so if you fill up the balloon (your lungs) with air, they will keep your body floating on the surface. Taking a nice long deep breath will bring more air into your lungs. Check out this post about "how to relax in the water" which goes through some sinking exercises.

Pradip said...

Thanks for your advice, but I want to know if one falls in deep water accidently where he canot stand up or touch his feet to bottom with head above water ,can he breath in, inflate chest to come on surface and call for help?

Libor J said...

@Pradip: no problem. To answer your question, if you have enough time to take a deep breath before falling into the deep water, then it should work in the same way as I described with the balloon analogy. Your body should float back to the surface. However, note that you shouldn't thrash around, just stay calm and wait for your body to surface. After you surface, you could try this technique to stay afloat by taking a few breaths.

Pradip said...

Thank you very much for your advice. You wrote, "if you have enough time to take breath then you will surface",however my query is otherwise that is, in case of accidental fall or one is knocked down in water and one goes underwater when deep breath is not taken ,can one take deep breath underwater to surface or any other techinique?

Libor J said...

@Pradip: Hmm, doubt that is even physically possible. What would you take a breath of? If you take a breath under water, you will inhale water, not air, so you will start choking. If you do not take a breath above water, I am afraid you better know how to swim.

Pradip said...

Thanks for advice .Let me know how long can swimmer hold his breath without injury to brain or lungs?

2)How many minutes novice can float in horizontal as well as verticle position?

Libor J said...

@Pradip:

1)I am not sure how long can swimmer hold his breath without injury to brain, but there are people able to hold their breath for 10 minutes.

2)That is a difficult question and there is no answer to it. A person can float in horizontal/vertical position for a very very long time. If someone would feed you, you could float forever :) (assuming you keep taking breaths). Your body's buoyancy does not drastically change for you to sink. However, a novice swimmer/floater might be too rigid and not relaxed enough to be able to do this, so perhaps a few minutes.
if you struggle with floating, the following post can help you with learning how to float.

Swimming Pool said...

These are great tips! It is important to learn how to swim and to know water safety. Swimming lessons are great to start at a young age to get the kids use to the water early.

Anonymous said...

I've had several lessons which I have got better. However I still can't get used to submerging. :( I can go underwater without any aid but I do fear it and hate the sensation so I avoid it. Really don't know what to do :(((

Kenny Montgomery said...

Once you are over your fear of water, you will realize how fun a swimming pool is. It comes with many benefits and has the ability to get you back in shape!

Pradip said...

I am 57 years old and learning to swim ,now I have overcome fear of drowning with help of your tips,but problem is I immediately get tired after swimming few feets and need to stop and stand in water.

I wish I could float on my belly or front float for few minutes ,say 5-7 minutes ,recover my breath and start swimming again .Is it possible for me? because I need to swim 25 meters which is essential condition of my swimming pool to certify that one is swimmer. Kindly advice

Libor J said...

@Pradip: thanks for sharing your experience. I am happy for you.

If you want to float for 5-7 minutes, you should do it on your back as that is much easier to breathe.

The reason you get tired could be that your body is tense and you more than likely kick in a hectic manner which burns oxygen. Try to relax more :).

To float on your stomach for 5-7 minutes while also taking breaths, you'll need to learn the sculling technique.

Shelissa said...

Yesterday was my third day in the pool, I'm 15 and have just joined swimming classes. And even now, I'm not able to float well, I mean when I''m holding on to the edges, I can float without panicking and actually enjoy myself that way, but the coach gets really angry with me and forces me to do it without holding on to anything, I tried it like 3 times and each time I ended up panicking and I kind of drowned, when I sarted floating without holding anything, I panicked so much and started to feel that I'm going to drown and I lost control, started to push the water and finally managed to get myself up and now I'm so scared I would not even try again. :( Would I be able to learn swimming? :(

Pradip said...

Do not worry you can certainly learn to swim. I am 57 years old and gradullay improving my swimming style with help of this site.

Take my advice first stand in shallow water which is not deeper than your chest.Hold floater/kickborad on your hand but do not tie anything on your back, take deep breath hold it and lie on water in relaxed manner when you feel you are going down bring both legs forward to your chest together while holding floater by both hands ,raise your head and put your both legs and hand down.

This way you can stand in water which will build your confidence.

Libor J said...

@Shelissa: as Pradip says, you will be able to learn how to swim. Just keep practicing. However, the statement you made about your coach getting angry at you makes me wonder whether you need to switch to a different teacher. It is good top push the limits to try always more and more, otherwise you will not learn, but anger is not the way to teach. Everyone progresses on their own pace, so patience is a key for both teacher and the student. Good luck, I am sure you will do fine.

Hassan Abbas said...

good post
2swim.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

i am learning swimming since past 10 days...initially i learned floating very nicely, but now since 3-4 days i have lost confidence and afraid of floating...i loose my balance midway and get panic as i not able to hold my foot down..when my feet touches the floor, i slip and get into a drowning position which is very ambarassing...also my floating speed is not enough to make me reach the destination wall..kindly help me with my fears

Anonymous said...

i HAVE JUST TURNED 40 AND NEVER BEEN ABLE TO SWIM AS I PANIC! I HAVE HAD 2 LESSONS IN A GROUP AND I HAVE BEEN LEFT TO PRACTICE BLOWING BUBBLES AND PUSHING MYSELF FROM THE SIDE WITH MY HEAD DOWN. ALL OF THE OTHERS IN THE GROUP HAVE GONE ON TO DO SO MUCH MORE? I FEEL VERY SELF CONCIOUS OF MY INABILITY TO PROGRESS. I HAVE ANOTHER 10 LESSONS TO GO BUT REALLY FEEL LIKE GIVING UP. I HAVE A LESSON THIS EVEING AND I AM DREADING IT AS I KNOW I WILL BE LEFT IN THE SHALLOW END DOING THE SAME THING.

Libor J said...

@Anonymous: thanks for sharing your experience. Don't let the slow progress discourage you. If you stick with it and take baby steps forward, it will all be worth it in the long run. It is much better to learn the basics very very well before moving on. Otherwise you will have hard time improving if your basic skills like bubbles etc. are not comfortable. Keep it up :).

Anonymous said...

I left a post on 3/10/12 saying I am a 40yr old taking swimming lessons and dreading my next lesson. Well I am delighted to announce I had a fantastic time. I swam for the first time in my life. I had my head in the water swimming accross the pool doing the breast stroke blowing bubbles under water! I I was doing the back stroke and picking items up from the bottom of the pool. I know I still have a long way to go but I know I will have good days and fantastic days in the pool. The important thing is to keep going. Reading the comments and posts on this site has given me a huge amount of strength. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE X

Libor J said...

@Anonymous: thanks for the great comment and congratulations on your right step forward. Keep it up and you will enjoy swimming in no time :)

Anonymous said...

I took six 30 min lessons and practiced nearly 3 hrs and am just able to front float i think. I tried backfloating with the floatation dumbell device and could not get back standing My legs kept coming so far up and out and i had no strength to push it down like my instructor taught. What am i doing wrong? I seem to have not,learned much with the sesions unlike others who had no trouble. I almost panicked last time in 3 ft of water trying to get back up , felt so dumb as i could've front floated and stood up.
Thanksto your encouraging words, i am not giving up yet!

Libor J said...

@Anonymous: thanks for sharing your experience. Standing up in the water from back floating could be a challenge. Try keeping your face looking upwards towards the ceiling, relax your body and push your butt down towards the bottom and behind you while bending your knees to your chest. See if that helps. Glad you are not giving up yet. You will get it if you prevail. I'll try to put a post together regarding standing up in water. In the meantime, these tips could help you with floating.

delhudg said...

I taught my wife to swim when she was 30 she had tried a number of times with different instructors without success. My approach was simply to make her comfortable in the water.

Firstly I got her to float on her back with my hand under her head, then to lower her arms to point down with palms facing her feet, then to swing her arms forwards and upwards, which automatically swung her feet to the ground. After a few repetitions we reversed the process so that she could go from standing to the floating position. We then did the with her floating on her front.

The next step was with her floating on her front, with one arm forward and the other pointing down. taught her how to rotate onto her back
40mins later she could do all of the exercises without my help and after a couple of extra sessions I did not need to be close to her.

The rest was easy

Libor J said...

@delhudg: thanks for sharing your experience and well done. This is a perfect example of what trust in instructor, patience and individual approach can do :).

Julia said...

Fabulously simple tips for anyone wanting to teach themselves to swim at any age. It is totally doable with the right advice it's just getting over the initial fear first :) Julia

ogeh akpevwe said...

Nice blog I hope this helps, I just started learning how to swim yesterday,.

Derrick Sly said...

I've dealt with a lot of kids who don't know how to swim. It's wonderful to watch their confidence rise as they learn to perform basic strokes. There really is no better teacher than experience! I just wish a higher percentage of adults knew how to swim.
http://www.jerseywahoos.org

Anonymous said...

I am a adult. Just finished two swimming class. The first day was fine. But the second day, I am depressed. I can float by holding the wall but as soon as I leave and float I feel my body losing balance and panic. When I am holding on I can bring both my legs down together but the minute I feel that there is no one I panic. I am worried if I will ever learn. All students have gone ahead but I am stuck. I love to learn to swim but my fear is making me depressed. Will I ever be able to swim.

Libor J said...

@anonymous: thank you for sharing your experience. This is a very common problem, so do not worry, you are not the only one. Here are a few things to to try: 1) what about trying your exercises in a kids (waist deep pool), so you are less likely to panic, 2) how about you bring along some water proof mp3 player and play a mellow relaxing tune you like to get your mind off the panic and then perform the movements very slowly and relaxed with the music, 3) as a second step away from the wall, how about someone else holding you by your hands while you do the floats (or hold a kickboard) and then when it is better, hold only with one hand. Give it a go and see how you get on. Don't give up, you already made the biggest first step signing up for swimming lessons, so stick with it and it will pay off.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I am trying. Today tried to do it again but still I panic. I need to hold on to the wall on an persons hand. The pool is crowded and hence, I am actually in five feet water. I feel embarrassed as all have gone nearly three or four stages ahead while I am stuck unable to float without grasping. I tried to go earlier for the class so that I could try in less deep water but we are allowed in the pool only during class time. Of course then it is almost packed with one bumping into another. I hope that I will learn to swim before the classes end. Anther 10 days to go.

Simon Cook said...

Good stuff but just reading this article made me stressed and my heart rate increased. Thinking about getting in the water and doing those things is terrifying.

Merlina said...

I learnt to swim when i was 22. I was fearless at that time and decided to prove that everything can be done as long as I have the will. I did learn it quite quickly, not the right posture though, because it was self taught. Now, 3 years after, I still struggle swimming in the open water. I feel like I always run out of energy, then I start panicking, blow a lot of bubbles which makes me swallow water. Even though I try to stay calm, it's the thought about running out of energy that freaks me out. I will use these tips to practice on my breathing so that I use less energy while swimming

Libor J said...

Hi Merlina, thank you for sharing your swim experience. Perhaps you just need a tool to give you a bit more confidence in the open water. What about this: http://swimsafetydevice.com/ You can rest on it when you are tired, so your mind will be at ease.

NeoKeanu said...

Thank you so much for hosting this site! I've just started my first swim class as an adult. The class is a mix of levels and I think I am at the lowest level in the class. Your suggestions for getting comfortable in the water are very helpful. It is also so encouraging to read the experiences of all the other people who comment.I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my fear and also glad to know that others before me have been able to conquer their fear.

Bolanle said...

Thank you for the this great blog
Help!I can't seem to immerse my head in water, once I get to my ear level can't go further. My problem isn't holding my breath (or a fear of the water)because if i stand and then bend my head with my face into the water it's fine but when my head is vertical, i just can't seem to get in past my upper lip/the bottom of my ears. How do I overcome this.. i really wanna learn. I'm 34.

Libor J said...

Hi Bolanle,thank you for sharing your obstacle. So, it seems you are keen on keeping your ears dry :). (for whatever reason). I'd suggest trying it in a shower or a bath tub to remove the feeling of being in the pool. If that works well, bring it to the swimming pool in a shallow end. Try jumping slowly up and down and with each time try to get a bit more head into the water. Perhaps this will help a little. Let me know how it goes. If I may suggest, this is something I'd urge you to consult with a private hands on swim instructor who would be able to fully isolate the issue for you and help you with it. This would be the best way to move on and enjoy being in the water fully submerged. PS: you could also try wearing ear plugs, perhaps that could help.