Note by Joe Lee Griffin, PhD, author of “Learn to Swim Before You Get In”


Confidence, energy, and acceptance are useful qualities to find in a swim teacher. However, to me, the most important thing to look for is how the person makes you feel.

  • Do you feel comfortable, relaxed, and secure?

Probably, you don't need to feel pressured, inadequate, or judged (Most of us do that for ourselves more than we need.).

The feeling need not make sense. There are some people who should not take classes from me, even though I am a nice guy and good at what I do. We don't even need to know why. If it doesn't feel right, they should be elsewhere.

The following passage from the dry swim book introduction relates to receiving from swim teachers:

Swimming is like walking, a function of your nonconscious mind. The best swimmers learned as children and usually don't know consciously how they learned. Even advice from a skilled coach may be best suited to athletes with unconscious skills and not to you. There are many gifted teachers who can help you, who are supportive, relaxed, and caring. There are also caring people who want to help, but give advice that doesn't help. Your best expert is within yourself. If you try what you have been advised to and it feels easier, simpler, and more flowing, then the advice was useful. If it doesn't feel that way, assume the advice was off, not that you are off.

The best teachers are not necessarily the best swimmers. Morehouse , in "Maximum Performance," describes a conflict between coaching and developing as an athlete, which he relates to the phenomenon of paralysis through analysis. An excellent swimmer may or may not also be an excellent teacher, but what really counts is how you feel with this person.

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