is taken from Chapter 5 of the dry swim book.
See "Notes for Swimmers" below if you
already swim comfortably
My students most often describe where they are when classes start in one
of the ways listed below. Some suggestions follow each description.
- "I get panicky (uptight,
anxious) just thinking about going to a pool or taking a wet swim class."
See all-purpose directions. Read and reread the book in a safe place.
Give yourself time, play with breathing through your mouth, do plenty
of imaginaries, maybe visit pools just to watch and notice your feelings.
- "I just don't swim.
I tried a wet class and didn't get it."
Probably adult blocks in operation. Develop essentials listed in Chapter
1, play dry games to get ready for wet games.
- "I can be in the water,
but I don't want to get my face wet."
To all-purpose directions, add particularly face-water interface games
(and breathing games) in Chapter 9, later Chapter 14.
- "I can swim some, but
get tired before I get across the pool."
Tension needs release. Play with accepting support fully (Chapters 8,
12), breathing and relaxation games. See all-purpose directions.
- "I get really twitchy
when I get over deep water, so I can't swim laps."
Lack of confidence in the support of the water. Do floats and glides
before swimming, swim more in the shallow end. Chapters 8, 11, and 12,
play in the water.
- "My strokes feel awkward
Play stroke coordination games in Structure of Swimming section. Often
relates to breathing. May need breathing games and adjusting strokes
to be sure breathing is secure. Play more, give yourself time.
- "I can't breathe when
I do the crawl."
Probably face/water interface problem and/or breathing. Play games in
Chapters 9 and 14, in particular.
- "My teacher says I
stroke with my elbow down."
Probably indicates body-level insecurity. Play in the water more, particularly
hug the water a lot with your elbows out (see pages 46, 47, and 100).
Feeling Safe Using
Probably, you sometimes feel
unsafe in the water. I affirm that feeling as true, accurate reporting
from the part of you responsible for your personal safety. Unless you
have learned to be relaxed and confident, letting the water support you
easily, you are indeed not safe except in certain limited (shallow) parts
of a swimming pool.
(end material from Chapter 5)
Notes for Swimmers
Improvements for adults who
can already swim
It is amazingly easy for regular adult swimmers to get into figuring out
details like those possibly useful for highest-level competitors. They
get into a trap Moorehouse, in "Maximum Performance," called
"paralysis through analysis."
Even for adults who swim, many
games in the dry swim book can be useful. You can't swim "right"
if you are dry, which helps you avoid right/wrong tension. You get away
from external goals or times and into feeling your body operating system
and generating feedback for your functional mind. Performance anxiety
should be minimal, since there are no performance goals and nothing for
someone outside or inside to judge.
Being a swimmer
Harvey S. Wiener. "Total Swimming. How the perfect exercise can offer
rewards both to the body and to the inner self". This book is more
about being a swimmer than becoming one. I like that Wiener obviously
loves to swim and lets it show. Well referenced. Chapters include: Swimming
to the inner self; The euphoric dimension; Coping with crowds, cramps,
coughs, and mostly minor mishaps. Wiener is a recreational swimmer, does
not have much about competition.
I am impressed with a new book by Terry Laughlin with John Delves "Total
Immersion: The Revolutionary Way to Swim Better, Faster, and Easier."
Articles and info on workshops are on the web. The two links below worked
for me, after earlier site changes. It is worth searching "Total
Immersion," if necessary.
Immersion swimming welcome,
Laughlin makes the point that
even if your goal is competitive speed, practicing for ease and flow,
streamlining your body, and making fewer strokes are MUCH more useful
than working hard at working hard. Fatigue interferes with maintaining
proper technique. I said somewhere that working hard can improve your
struggling skills, not your swimming skills. He brings this concept all
the way to the highest levels of competition.
I'd modify some dry land games
in the light of Laughlin's discussion. Games about head and body connections,
hip movement, and body lengthening can be started dry to build connections
to take to Laughlin's water drills. On page 131, he suggests a dry-land
slide on your side.
This is a dry land learning game to build reflex grooves for front-quadrant
swimming (p46-49 in TI). First make a monkey stick. Roll up a newspaper
section, cover it with typing paper to keep ink off your hands, and fasten
with 2 or 3 pieces of tape to make a simple stick about 11 in (30 cm)
long. This is a tool to listen to (If it had a hammer on the end, we'd
go looking for a nail.).
easily, grasp the stick in both hands, palms down, and extend over your
head. Let your body be long and trust it to organize this simple task.
Keep the position of the stick, as each hand alternates letting go and
sweeping down and back to hold the stick while the other hand sweeps down
and back. Do a dozen to 2 dozen cycles, then rest, before any fatigue.
Notice feelings. Repeat easily, simply, and without effort. Open questions:
How easily can this happen? Can my arms float this movement?
Recall, no water to move and can't be done "right," just simply
Does your nonconscious functional mind walk or drive for you without your
thinking about how?
The second stage of learning is not conscious and involves letting go.
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