I learned a lot last night at the Poolside Helpers Course. I certainly had my eyes opened to a lot of things.
When I was young we were taught swimming at school. One of the methods was a huge metal hoop on a long handle. I expect some of you may remember seeing these at a swimming pool you may have used over the years.
The use of these was for the swimmer to hold onto or be put in the middle of the hoop as they swam around the swimming pool. After a while the teacher would remove it. If the person learning to swim didn't realise it had gone it was fine. However, if the person swimming in the pool did realise they panicked and went under water.
The best way to teach anyone no matter what age to swim is to get them used to the swimming pool area first. Remember there are a lot of strange noises and smells for them to become accustomed to. Once they start to relax then gently coax them into the pool. Once this is achieved and they are in the shallow end get them to bob up and down. If they are unsure of this hold their hands and do it with them.
To get them adjusted to the water and not to scare them ask them to put blow bubbles in the water (DO NOT tell them to put their face under water as this will worry them). By making it fun the fear goes.
I still dislike my face going underwater as when I was taught to put my head underwater I was told to hold my nose. This made me fear the water going up my nose and I still have this fear today. I overcome this with a nose clip. If I had been taught the blowing bubble method perhaps I would not be so afraid.
Playing in the water is the best way to start swimming as once happy playing in the water every step of swimming can be fun.
Once a person is happy blowing bubbles in the water the next step is get them to wave at you while standing up. Then gradually get them to do this going under the water. This again takes the fear away and the person being taught is not holding their nose.
Now I understand my fear of going underwater more I will try and make my swimming much more fun and play at it. Instead of making it a task.
So much for the theory of chucking a person in at the deep end. This may put off a person swimming for life. After all swimming is a life skill. I am so glad I have learnt to swim and I hope that my journey from now on will encourage others to take part in a sport everyone no matter what age or disability can enjoy.