View Full Version : How to swim when you're too scared!

April 11th, 2017, 10:28 PM
If youíve always wanted to learn how to swim, please read on.

I will (should, lol) be able to help you.

Iíve been a swimming instructor for a long time and everyone that Iíve taught simply needs to go through a simple process of exercises and they can and will become a very strong and confident swimmer.

If youíre reading this, then I probably know you.

Youíre probably really nervous around the water. You definitely aren't a MASTERs level swimmer.

Not only that, but youíre also probably really embarrassed that you cannot even swim a couple lengths confidently in the pool.

And I get it, Iíve worked with hundreds of students before you and they always seem so damn stressed about their predicament.

I also get that you donít want to blow hundreds of dollars on swimming instruction that might not even work.

So hereís my suggestion:

Take matters into your own hands. Decide that you are unsatisfied with being scared in this area of your life and go and splash around in a pool. Get your ass moving and research the topic. Watch YouTube videos, find helpful resources, GO TO THE POOL AND TRY PADDLING AROUND. If you start trying things, whatever they might be, youíll eventually figure out how to swim.

With that said I just want to throw out what I think can be a VERY effective approach to become successful in the pool.

Hereís a couple of steps that you can take that will practically guarantee you become competent in the pool. All you need to do is decide that learning to swim is a priority for you and that youíre going to try my suggestions.

If youíre deathly afraid of the water, that is the first thing that you have to eliminate. You NEED to be comfortable just being and floating in the water.

You might be thinking, ďhow can I just FEEL confident in the water. Itís not that easyĒ.

I know, itís ****ing hard to get control over your anxiety over something, but thereís a few tricks you can use, the most effective of them beingÖ your body language.

Have you ever heard that ****, ďjust act confident, and itíll eventually start happening for you,Ē kind of advice? Doesnít work.

But, if you begin to control your BODY LANGUAGE, then you start creating some real magic. It will literally shortcut that mental block you have and allow you to really lessen the affect that your anxiety has over your mind.

When you head into the pool to do the exercise Iím suggesting, start by noticing your body language.

Are your shoulder hiked up to your ears?

Are you frowning, gritting your teeth?

Is your belly sucked up into your chest like youíre trying to hold in a fart?

Or are you strutting around like a cocky know it all with a **** eating grin on your face?

I guarantee, the last one will give you the most success!

You need to watch these parts of your body that are ďtightening upĒ and consciously relax them. When youíre mind notices that your body is relaxed, you will naturally feel much less pressure with the task youíre about to do. So with all this in mind, here is exercise # 1:

Go to a local pool and jump into the shallow end and just wade around. Donít focus on anything else, but feeling comfortable.

Notice your body language and if youíre comfortable there. Begin to do things to help build your confidence, like putting your shoulders in the water. Work up to submerging your entire head and exhaling under water. And keep your body language relaxed the entire time. Like youíre in the most relaxing situation of your life.

Important: Stay in shallow water. You must be able to stand at all times if you want to do this in a safe matter.

Once youíve gotten more comfortable in the water, start building the progression up. Get the proper body position in the water. Make sure that youíre comfortable facing the bottom of the pool. Check that your shoulders arenít getting all wound up and check that youíre not holding your breath and seizing up.

Do some glides off the wall and make sure that youíre body is staying relaxed and comfortable. Stretch your arms straight above your head and practice pushing off the wall and travelling a good amount of distance. If you donít have this step down, you wonít be able to progress further

Again, do this in shallow water where you can stand up. Donít feel bad about using a PDF to help you keep your body language relaxed.

Once you have the body position, youíll be able to start adding in kicking and the arms one at a time until you have an awesome front crawl.

To get the kicking down, start by holding onto a wall of the pool with your face and body in the water lying on your front while your entire body is stretched out as far as you can go. Youíll need to point your toes and stretch your legs out without locking your knees. If your knees lock up while you kick, you wonít get any propulsion.

The above steps will give you a great start toward learning how to swim even if your absolutely terrified. Message me if you have something to add or if you have a question for me to answer!

Cheers and good luck!!


April 12th, 2017, 01:50 PM
OK - then maybe sign up for some swim lessons with a qualified learn to swim instructor.
The above is a list of how to do it by yourself & another swim instructor will help you with all of these.

April 13th, 2017, 07:55 AM
Also, hold onto the wall, put your face in the water, and blow bubbles.

I agree with orca, a good swim instructor can go a long way to overcoming water anxiety. I know this from personal experience because I grew up around people who kept trying to push me under and developed a terrible fear of the water. I took class at my rec center when I was in my 40s and the teacher helped us with small steps. I love swimming but I still have a "thing" about going over my head, maybe I feel like one of my crazy cousins will rise up and grab my ankle, or I hear my mother yelling don't go over your head you'll drown, or any of the other myriad insanities I grew up with. I'll go in the deep end with an instructor, or someone I trust, but not alone. I'm pretty confident swimmer otherwise, thanks to that instructor who was so patient and understood that most adults are learning to swim for the first time because something prevented them from doing it as children. Bless you, Star, wherever you are.

April 13th, 2017, 12:55 PM
If you're looking for help, you can always use USMS's Adult Learn-to-Swim instructor database: http://www.usms.org/alts/altsinstrsearch.php.

April 14th, 2017, 08:51 AM
Thanks, Daniel. Didn't even know they had that resource. There's a guy not far from me so maybe I'll give him a call as I'm looking for a coach.

April 15th, 2017, 10:31 AM
I strong recommend that you look into the book "Teach Yourself to Swim like a Pro" (and related resources) by Dr. Pete Anderson, long-time swimmer, coach, and USMS member (and record holder). Visit: LearnToSwimProgram.com. In my opinion, this is the best set of resources available on this topic: so much useful information and so many small-step progressions that I cannot do it justice in this short space. See for yourself.