Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fear And Backstroke

Monique learning to swim
An argument for learning backstroke first.

Why am I such a proponent of new swim students learning backstroke before they learn any other stroke?

I could just answer that it is by far the easiest stroke to learn. I know that there are those who would disagree with me but most of that disagreement comes from relatively new students or teachers who have trouble either teaching or learning to float.

Floating is a challenge to some but taught properly it only fear that gets in the way. Taught properly learning to float(link) is the easiest thing to learn and stands you in good stead for all other strokes. Taught properly floating will help you over come fear.

However you don't need to learn to float properly to learn to do backstroke. In fact learning backstroke may open the door to you learning to do a float properly. You only need to over come your fear of laying backwards in the water to learn to do backstroke.

So with that in mind I still maintain that taught properly, backstroke is the easiest stroke to learn first.

But the biggest reason I argue that everyone should learn to do backstroke first is Monique.

Monique was one of my students who came up through other classes with basic freestyle and breaststroke skills that she was terrified to use.

That fact is she was a very sensitive little girl and once she left shallow water would not do more than one or two strokes before she darted for the lane rope or the edge of the pool. If she could no make it there she went into a screaming panic.

A boy in a children's swimming pool.Not Monique
Not Monique
She was however completely comfortable after some persuasion doing the backstroke the entire 15 meters we were allocated.

To cut a long story short I finally manage convince her that she was perfectly safe to swim all strokes because if she got frightened all she had to do was roll over and do backstroke the rest of the way.

As soon as she became comfortable with the idea of rolling over Etc. she was able to over one her fear and gradually became an excellent swimmer.

Monique owes her confident swimming to knowing how to do backstroke. And so do many others.

The moral of the story is learn backstroke first it will help with your fear amongst other thing.

Enjoy
Richard

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