What do you need to know to learn to swim?
The first thing to know when looking into swimming lessons is "What does it mean to be able to swim?" Take a moment and get a mental picture of what you would like to be able to do in the water. Now ask yourself how would you FEEL while doing those activities if you were a swimmer. Your picture may have been of you doing laps in a fashion of Olympic swimmers, or it may have been you jumping off the back of a boat paddling around a bit then coming back in. Your visions may range from very athletic to easy-going bopping along. Either way, the FEEL of doing these activities likely involves words such as comfortable, easy, relaxed, fun and safe.
The second part (how the swimming feels) is what swimming actually is. At Orca Swim School we define swimming as being able to move in water from here to there with comfort and ease, getting air and rest when you want. There are many different physical ways to move in the water, but swimming has to do with the feeling of being at ease, safe, confident, comfortable and working with the water. If you have had swimming lessons that focused on making your body DO a picture of swimming, instead of teaching you the FEEL of swimming and safety, they got it backwards and, thus, it may not have worked. Instruction that starts with the doing will only work for people who are not afraid, who already have a feel of the water and know how it works, or who can figure out swimming on their own within the context of the "Doing" lessons. Learning to swim needs to start at the beginning. The beginning is feeling and being safe, having comfort and ease, learning by curiosity, understanding how water works, and how your body and water work together.
Here are several articles (or titles of articles to be posted soon) you can read for free to gain some new understanding of how learning to swim works. These articles are put together based on the questions, misconceptions and long held beliefs that beginning students often have.
Beliefs About Yourself in Water
Facts and Myths of Floating
Should Learning to Swim be Tiring
Learn to Float
About Equipment Needed to Learn
Finding A Place to Swim
Foundation Skills for Swimming
How I Learned to Swim
Messages We Give Ourselves
How We Learn
To Practice Skill or Comfort
Time to Get Wet or Not
Learn To Trust Yourself