After you have managed to control your fear of putting your head under water in the swimming pool the next step is to learn to float on your back.
Let me just say before I get into that, I used the term "manage your fear" quite deliberately. If you have grown up with a fear of water all your life the idea of completely eliminating your fear altogether is not something that you should expect.
There may come a day when you won't think about putting your head under water but you should not be too concerned if it takes a long time. This is perfectly normal, just as long as you have your fear under control you can expect to progress well. Besides there is nothing wrong with a healthy respect for the water it is after all not easily tamed.
Whilst we are talking about fear, floating in the swimming pool is by far the thing that those that can't swim, fear the most after getting your head under water. What can I say but what I have said above and that only practice will help overcome that fear.
In theory floating in a swimming pool is simple. You just lay your head back and up you go. But the very sensation of floating is in itself disconcerting enough to stop people from even attempting it.
Also once you have you head underwater many quite rightly assume that you could just go on and learn how to do one of the front strokes like freestyle or breaststroke. So why am I saying that you should learn to back float next?
As I have said under my blog entry Back float is vital, you cannot expect to be safe in the water if you cannot lay on your back. Besides learning to swim backstroke is that much harder if you can't float.
So here is a picture of what a back float should look like:
In reality because everybody is different with different body shapes and body density, virtually no two people will look the same in the water.
Because some people carry more body fat in various parts of their body they are going to be able to lay in the water with their hand by their sides. Others will have to have the hands high above their heads. Still others will find that the legs will dangle below.
In some cases legs will be too muscle dense and corrective action will have to be taken in order fore a person to be able to back float.
Next time I will discuss some of the corrective actions that need to be taken for various difficulties in learning to float on your back.
But in the mean time if you are teaching someone else to float on their back a look at the following video should help.
If you are learning by yourself the best thing you can do is go to a swimming pool where there is good supervision (ie. Life Guards) and spend some time in the shallowest end you can get access to and try to mimic the picture. If you can get access to the toddler swimming pool to start with that is even better because you can bounce off the bottom until you are in a good floating position.
Here is the video: