The challenge in teaching adults is that they can say no when asked to do something they are uncomfortable performing. Many instructors teach adults the same way they teach children. However, adults have advantages over children because they understand abstract concepts and have well developed motor skills. Remove the hesitation and they will learn faster. Swimming is similar to dancing. It is all about knowing the correct moves. You need attitude and moves to enjoy what you are doing. Learn the swimming moves and develop a positive attitude before attending class. Below are helpful steps for learning how to swim with the right moves and building a positive attitude. Best of all, most can be done out of the water or in a bath or hot tub.

  • Buy good goggles that will not leak. Nothing ruins a swim faster than water in the eyes. Get goggles that fit over your eyes. Never get ones that cover the nose and mouth. Stand in the shower or sit in shallow water and try them out. It usually takes a few strap and placement adjustments to stop leaks.
  • Practice putting your face in the water with goggles on. Blow bubbles out of your mouth and nose. Most of the exhale and all of the inhale will be through the mouth. Learn how to inhale with your mouth close to the water surface. This takes time and faith. Exhale through your nose just enough to keep water from going up. Water up the nose is like inhaling horseradish. Buy a nose clip if you have trouble. Over time learn to count to ten with face under water and slowly blow bubbles out of the mouth. The exhale must be while your mouth is underwater.
  • Relax while lifting your mouth out of the water to breathe and having the face in the water. It is not a near death experience. You may even discover you will not die if you get some water in your mouth. Just spit it out. We, along with dolphins have a device in our throats to keep water from getting into our lungs.
  • Learn to stay on the water surface. It is important to relax when swimming. Proper breathing, body position and stroke mechanics make relaxing easy.
  • Learn to spread body weight over the maximum surface area so the water lets you float like a boat. Start on a bed and pretend to be in the water. Think of your body as a seesaw. You can do this because your centre of buoyancy, the point in your body that wants to float and the centre of gravity, the point in your body that wants to sink are close together. Centre of buoyancy is near the chest because of the air in the lungs. The centre of gravity is at the hips which makes the feet the point when trying to float.To balance the swimming seesaw look down at the bottom, stretch arms out in front like Superman flying and kick. All but two swimming strokes always have at least one arm extended in front of the face to keep proper body position. To sink like a rock lift your head, stop kicking and exhale. Gravity wins.

These simple and easy tips will help you on your way to learning how to swim without any of the first class “jitters”.

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