View Full Version : Instruction Advice

July 11th, 2003, 04:16 PM
I took my first swim lesson the other day (at age 33) so that I can learn if I would like to incorporate swimming into my regular exercise regimen. I am not entirely sure how to assess my initial lesson in terms of instruction received and I was wondering if anyone had any advice. She had me swim one lap to take a look at where I am today. She commented very quickly that my hips sink and they don't rotate. I can't breathe properly, which leaves me very gassed by the end, so she had me breath every other stroke to my 'favored' side in an effort to keep me from thinking about breathing and to get me to think about my hips. She had me do 2 laps swimming, 2 laps kicking with a kickboard, 2 laps with a pull buoy, 2 laps of side kicks, 2 laps of backstroke, one lap of 'alligators' (head out of water looking straight ahead and forcing the hips up as much as I could). The only thing she commented on during this first lesson was that my hips sink and do not rotate, and so with each exercise, that is what she wanted me to focus on - including the backstroke, where she thought it would be helpful for me to get a feeling of floating and getting my head down, with very easy access to air to breathe. Luckily, I won't be getting another lesson for a week and a half or so, which will give me some time to go through a workout she wrote up for me (pretty similar to the above) and try to gain some comfort with the water. At any rate my question has a couple of parts. I liked my teacher, but I do not know really how to assess what we did. Was that sort of workout the general type of early lesson stuff people do? Is getting my hips up a good early thing to focus on? Are there specific drills I should think about, or are the drills she did with me good. Will getting my head down push my hips up, or do I have to 'will' my hips up by flexing the muscles in my midsection (front and back). I realize this message is lacking in a good point, or a good specific core question, but I think that sort of describes my whole ability at this point! At any rate, I thought I'd share that to see if anyone had any advice as to how I might best prepare myself for my next lesson, and how I can judge whether this is a good instructor for me (She is a nice person, and we get along, so that part is in the bag). Thanks.

July 11th, 2003, 10:16 PM
I think it sounds pretty good. It all depends on where you are starting. But focusing on one primary aspect of your stroke (ie your hips) is good. It's hard to comment further without seeing you swim, but my guess is she's giving you good advice. Does she have a competitive swimming/coaching background? Seems you like her too, so it sounds like a good program for you - good luck! :)

July 11th, 2003, 10:28 PM
Yeah, I sort of figured it would be tough for anyone to have good insight without seeing me swim. Suffice it to say that at this point I'm fairly awful. I just wondered if there was a good way to get advice on how to assess the instruction. I am not sure that swimming is for me - still checking it out - and I want to be careful not to get turned off for the wrong reason. Sometimes people get turned off of new things for the wrong reasons and I just wanted to see if I should be arming myself with some insight. Its probably best for me to ask this type of question with a bit more experience under my belt.

July 11th, 2003, 11:13 PM
You're young and swimming is a sport you can do forever. I'd say stick with it...the great thing is with some good instruction, you can make huge progress over the course of a class, or several months if you are swimming a couple times a week - and learning proper technique. If you stick with it, someday you'll be so comfortable in the water that you'll feel like you can swim forever...literally! Let us know how it goes!:)

July 11th, 2003, 11:46 PM
Yes, when you raise your head (or your head is up) your hips will go down... causing you to be less streamlined in the water.

July 13th, 2003, 08:50 PM
It seems like you have a very good instructor. The problem you are having (hips sinking) is very common. It sounds like she gave you some good tips. Try floating face down with your head high. Then try it with your head looking down. You can see for yourself how much your head position effects the rest of your body in the water. It also helps to relax in the water. Try to slow down your arms. Make sure your stroke is long and effective. Another thing that will help your hip level is making sure that your legs don't separate too much vertically when you kick. You want your kick to be fast, "narrow" and close to the surface of the water. Hope this makes sense and helps. SWIMMING IS THE BEST SPORT!!!! Don't give up. You will be amazed at how fast you improve!