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Bobinator
March 19th, 2015, 11:53 AM
Since teaching non-swimming adults how to swim is the public service initiative of the USMS I think it would be fun to have a thread to discuss war stories, tricks that work, and just the overall good feeling it gives you when you teach someone a skill that you love to do so much!
I just graduated 2 wonderful ladies Monday night. Both ladies have joined facilities with lap swimming available and have started their exercise/fitness programs! I am in awe of their dedication and motivation to over-come their fear of the deep water and work hard enough to make fitness through swimming a reality! The next time I'm not in the mood to go to a workout I'll try to draw from their exuberance and get myself to the pool.
If your team doesn't have a SSL program my advice is to start one. I guarantee you'll have fun, plus there's no better way to contribute to the culture of swimming than to get others started!!

FindingMyInnerFish
March 19th, 2015, 01:50 PM
I haven't ever taught anyone how to swim but did get a wonderful perspective one day after a workout I'd finished. Frustrated that I couldn't seem to master the flip turn, I was beating myself up for that (not out loud, just in my mind). Then I overheard a couple women talking about their swimming lessons. One of them was saying how she was nervous about putting her face in the water. It suddenly occurred to me that I had a lot to be grateful for as a swimmer--I'd started as a kid, and so as an adult, I didn't have any issue with putting my face in the water. I was grateful not only for my ability to do that but for those who'd taught me back as a kid and helped me overcome my fear of deep water back then. (It took me a few years after I learned to swim before I ventured into deep water.)

Then I realized that many of the people to whom flip turns came naturally had been practicing them since childhood, and I had to be patient w/ my progress, not compare myself to someone else--and at the same time be able to empathize with those starting out.

I am as much in awe of the women I overheard--who had the courage to start lessons as adults--as of those who had flip turns nailed. Everyone has different goals, and that's cool.

flystorms
March 21st, 2015, 05:51 PM
Oh I'll definitely follow this thread. I tried to help someone learn a few years ago and really struggled with doing it. Had to go all the way back to teaching how to kick - I gave him a kickboard and he actually went backwards! I had no idea what to do with that one.

Jimbosback
March 21st, 2015, 09:39 PM
FYI: http://www.usms.org/alts/

I got certified and should start teaching soon. Should be fun.

Boomerang
March 22nd, 2015, 08:20 PM
In my experience, the adults who have come to me for lessons have the greatest obstacles of breathing and body position. I try to tackle both via the use of a snorkel. Obviously, this is after already having worked through getting the swimmer accustomed to putting his/her face in the water through various exercises; but the snorkel allows me to focus the swimmer on body position, even kicking/stroke, without having to worry about the breathing at the same time. Once their body position is better under control and the kick and stroke are at least at a beginner level, I then wean the swimmer off the snorkel and we'll do some drills to incorporate more rotation/breathing. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that someone feels more comfortable in the water, can at least swim to safety or accomplish competitive goals - whatever the case may be - just from a few lessons and commitment to practicing outside of those lessons.

DeniseMW
March 23rd, 2015, 08:37 AM
I'm one of those adults who started from ground zero, so I feel this is the only thread on which I can speak with authority :blah:. It's very tough for those of us who didn't grow up swimming, especially if we have to overcome fear of the water. Fortunately, I had an excellent, patient teacher who was used to dealing with us scaredy types, so I believe that patience is number one. People who've swum their entire lives have no idea how much courage and determination it takes for an adult to even get in the water. I've been swimming for a year and I still don't go into the deep end. As a child, my mother used to stand at the edge of the lake and scream "don't go over your head, you're going to drown." And the few times I did venture beyond my comfort zone, one of my cousins would try to pull me under. Which led to a phobia. I know it's an unreasonable fear. I can float and swim across the deep lane. I've done it. But phobias have no basis in reality. It's like a friend of mine who's terrified of driving over bridges. It's just there. I know I am not alone, because all of us phobic types are in the shallow lanes, swimming just fine, some even doing flip turns and moving pretty fast.

An adult who doesn't have a phobia is way ahead.

I took lessons about a year ago, I practiced almost every day. I even joined a Master's swim, and anyone who's read my posts here knows how that turned out. On my own, I was up to swimming a mile when this danged shoulder injury kicked in and sidelined me. I'm actually a pretty decent swimmer. But it's been a journey fueled by determination. I still won't go over my head.:afraid:

FindingMyInnerFish
March 25th, 2015, 06:31 AM
Denise, although I learned to swim as a kid, it took me several years to overcome my fear of deep water so I totally hear you! What finally helped: I had to tread water for a half hour as part of taking sailing lessons. I was terrified until someone suggested first going into deep water in a life preserver and stayed with me as I did so. Later, on my own, I tried going into deep water for just a few seconds and gradually extended the time. One day, some boys jumped in and tried to hold me under. I either got away or they let me go. I forget which. You would think that should have permanently spooked me but oddly it didn't. I had even more courage after that -- maybe b/c of having survived. (I did avoid swimming near those boys for a while but even that fear diminished w time.) Although I don't recommend having smart a$$ boys dunk you, ;) I think that incident brought me face to face w one of my biggest fears just when I was ready to overcome it -- and not before. I think the help I got going out in a life preserver made a big difference in getting me out of my comfort zone and only then could I gradually take more risks. Now I regularly take part in open water swims. It takes time and as you say patience. And someone to be there with you at first. But it does happen! Good luck!

DeniseMW
March 25th, 2015, 08:43 AM
Thank you, FindingMyInnerFish. Your story is very inspirational.:bow:

Bobinator
March 28th, 2015, 07:11 PM
In my experience, the adults who have come to me for lessons have the greatest obstacles of breathing and body position. I try to tackle both via the use of a snorkel. Obviously, this is after already having worked through getting the swimmer accustomed to putting his/her face in the water through various exercises; but the snorkel allows me to focus the swimmer on body position, even kicking/stroke, without having to worry about the breathing at the same time. Once their body position is better under control and the kick and stroke are at least at a beginner level, I then wean the swimmer off the snorkel and we'll do some drills to incorporate more rotation/breathing. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing that someone feels more comfortable in the water, can at least swim to safety or accomplish competitive goals - whatever the case may be - just from a few lessons and commitment to practicing outside of those lessons.

I totally agree with this Boomerang! One of my ladies has a lovely backstroke and breastroke, but she still has issues with breathing in freestyle. I believe her flutter kick is a bit too wide + her head too high and this puts her in a less than optimal body position. She is also obese. I'm not sure if this is a strength issue, or a water comfort issue. I told her to start her workout program with primarily breast and back, but still work in as much free as possible. I'm hoping she'll come back for more lessons after a couple months of self practice. I think if she were stronger and more hydro-adapted she could get it.

DeniseMW
March 29th, 2015, 09:49 AM
My first teacher told us to fill a basin of water and just stick our face in it and blow bubbles. Then she'd have us hang onto the edge of the pool and bubble and then start turning our heads side to side. Once were could do that comfortably, she'd have us stretch out and breath alternately. Then float a few feet and practice stroking and breathing. Then we'd do that for half the length of the pool. Eventually, we could go the whole length. That's how I learned. FYI, I loved using a snorkel and fins. I used to go snorkeling in a lake in Maine and thinking of it still makes me happy.

orca1946
March 29th, 2015, 01:42 PM
I have been teaching a Iraq - Iran war vet how to swim. He is limited by shrapnel in his back, a plate in his skull & shattered jaw all from a roadside bomb !! He could swim 5 strokes holding his breath and after us working together for 4 months, he can now swim 14 lengths of the pool with good side breathing and an ok stroke. He took me to his V F W meetings and dinner to brag about me changing his life with the new skills and confidence he has. It sure feels good to "pay it forward" to help the men & women that protect us at home in the U S A !!

Bobinator
March 29th, 2015, 07:18 PM
I have been teaching a Iraq - Iran war vet how to swim. He is limited by shrapnel in his back, a plate in his skull & shattered jaw all from a roadside bomb !! He could swim 5 strokes holding his breath and after us working together for 4 months, he can now swim 14 lengths of the pool with good side breathing and an ok stroke. He took me to his V F W meetings and dinner to brag about me changing his life with the new skills and confidence he has. It sure feels good to "pay it forward" to help the men & women that protect us at home in the U S A !!

This is amazing Orca1946! Hopefully your friend can find peace in the water. I wish I could do something significant for a vet.

Swimspire
March 29th, 2015, 10:32 PM
Orca, what a great story! It is wonderful that you are using your swimming skills to help a vet gain renewed strength and hope.


Bobinator, 22 Too Many is a community that seeks to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder among vets and honor those who have taken their own lives because of PTSD. They are mainly a community of runners, but partnered with Germantown Masters this December to branch out to the swimming community. Each of the swimmers at the meet had the opportunity to race in honor of a fallen hero. http://www.swimspire.com/2nd-annual-germantown-masters-solstice-meet-honoring-fallen-veterans/


I know they would love to have more swimmers racing for the veterans and thus bringing more attention to the devastating effects of PTSD, so if you want to help, you could contact them! http://www.22toomany.com/

Bobinator
March 31st, 2015, 11:48 AM
Orca, what a great story! It is wonderful that you are using your swimming skills to help a vet gain renewed strength and hope.


Bobinator, 22 Too Many is a community that seeks to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder among vets and honor those who have taken their own lives because of PTSD. They are mainly a community of runners, but partnered with Germantown Masters this December to branch out to the swimming community. Each of the swimmers at the meet had the opportunity to race in honor of a fallen hero. http://www.swimspire.com/2nd-annual-germantown-masters-solstice-meet-honoring-fallen-veterans/


I know they would love to have more swimmers racing for the veterans and thus bringing more attention to the devastating effects of PTSD, so if you want to help, you could contact them! http://www.22toomany.com/

This is very cool too Julie! It's mind boggling and sorrowful to think these Warriors could survive the battle, but couldn't make it back into everyday society. We need to create programs to help the people who put their lives on the line for us.