According to a Gallup poll, a third of American adults are afraid of going under water and half are afraid of entering the depths of a swimming pool.
Editor's Note: Melon Dash is the authorOvercoming the fear of water: a revolutionary approach to learning to swim without feeling fearco-author of "and"Overcome your fear of triathlon swimming". She is a top competitive swimmer and runs a swim academy in Sarasota, Florida for adults with a fear of water. Opinions expressed here are her own. Readmore commentsOn CNN.
My first job out of college was as a teaching assistant at a small college in New Hampshire, where I taught introductory swimming to about 20 students each semester. However, I noticed that half of my students could not follow my instructions. They have fear.
Melon Dash (photo credit: Barbara Banks)
my student must attend classforwardstart swimming. I went to the dean with that question. "Can I give lessons to scared students?"
"It takes a lot of red tape to change an undergraduate program, but if you offer it through an adult education program, you get paid and students can come," he said. Sell.
The following semester, my course "Swimming for Adults Fearful of Water" was featured in a community post. It was 1978 and six people were traveling 50 miles apart.
A Gallup poll released two years ago showed that globally,Half of the adults are afraid of being in the water above their heads., and this is only in the pool. one in three adults in the USDon't you even dare put your head under water.Half were afraid to plunge into the depths of the pool. Many of them had some swimming instruction in their lives. However, one thing has become clear to me over my decades of career as a swim instructor: learning to stroke does not make people safe in deep water.
If you're an adult who can't swim, you're probably wondering, "Why couldn't I learn all these years? Am I?" I have taught thousands of people like you who are afraid of water to swim, and I assure you that it is not you. For most people who don't learn to swim, it's not for not trying.
I have been swimming competitively since I was seven years old. Inexplicably, when he was in college, he swam the fastest at regionals and the slowest at nationals. (You should swim faster in the most important race).
When I asked my coach what she thought about this, she recommended two books:indoor tennis game" W. Timothy Gallwey i "study freeCarl R. Rogers: Emphasize the importance of a good presence and the natural and unstoppable learning process when people feel comfortable.
After reading these books, I'm still the fastest swimmer in the district (not sure why), but they've helped change the way I think about the emotional and psychological aspects of acting.
When I think about teaching adults who are afraid of being in the water, I ask myself the question: How does fear arise? Forty years later, other experts are beginning to realize that something is missing from swimming lessons. In general, swim coaches and their training facilities have no idea how learning works, especially those who fear it. There is no better way to learn this than as an adult who is afraid of water.
When you hear about drowning prevention classes and efforts, they almost always focus on the safety of children, but adults are in charge.Three out of four drowning deaths. We have very few truly effective adult swim programs. If adults haven't learned enough to save their own lives, then they haven't learned, and that's all.
Although there are many initiatives to teach children, our society seems to forget that children do what their parents do, and parents who cannot swim raise children who cannot swim as adults. For non-swimmers of any age, immersion in water can be fatal. This can be prevented.
Swimming coaches believe that their students want to learn at least one great stroke, which may be "freestyle" or what used to be called freestyle. Even swimming instructors are taught the mistaken belief that learning to stroke will keep them safe in deep water. Adults who want to learn to swim often give up before achieving their goals.
Deep water comfort is critical and can save lives. One simple reason many adults don't learn to be comfortable in deep water when they start swimming lessons is instruction: what to teach and what not to teach.
It is clear that potential swimmers and their coaches often have very different ideas about goals. When frightened adults sign up for swimming lessons, they think they'll finally be able to feel comfortable in deep water. They want to be able to stay afloat while chatting with friends by the pool. They may dream of being able to swim on a raft or jump off a ship at any time. What they don't know is that most swimming lessons won't make it any easier for them to achieve those dreams.
How to solve people's fear of water? Give them an environment where they can feel fear, let them hear other people's fears as well as their own, make them feel warm instead of cold, don't feel pressured to act, and give them time to slow down and feel what they feel.
They need to be raised in an environment that puts their feelings first and respects, rather than undermines, their concerns. It has nothing to do with what your hands and feet do. In such an environment, you will see how people progress and prosper rapidly. In other words, define learning to swim as being comfortable in deep water, not swimming, and all students will be safe.
Year after year, decade after decade, students who took traditional swimming lessons described to me how they approached the water with fear throughout their lives. They went on vacation and couldn't get off the boat to go diving. Or they landed, panicking as soon as they fell into the water.
Perhaps they have young grandchildren who are more comfortable in the water than they are. Or they want to be able to play in the water with them, something that they and their own children lack. Or they never had the opportunity to learn to swim as a child and tried five lap classes as adults.
The problem is that none of the swimming teachers know how to deal with his anxiety. Overcoming fear has always been at the center of my approach when teaching swimming.
The committee that developed the traditional swimming curriculum believes that confidence in the water comes from skill. It is true that skill comes from confidence. A person must have basic confidence to learn a skill. Students cannot learn while fearing for their lives. Student swimmers must be comfortable in all water depths to be safe. In conclusion, learning to swim must include deep water safety. If the adult swim instructions include strokes, they should be followed for comfort and safety in deep water.
It is important to recognize that emotional and psychological barriers can prevent a non-swimmer from becoming a swimmer. Many adults fail swimming lessons to the point of becoming discouraged and giving up learning to swim. They often refuse to try again.
Most people who don't know how to swim feel embarrassed about it. "What? You can't swim?!" But they shouldn't be ashamed. Nobody should be scared for stupid reasons. They came here fairly. It usually starts with a terrible experience, a frightened parent, or an unqualified teacher.
What is needed is a tried and true system that will become the national standard in swimming instruction, focused on helping adults deal with fear. It should also be linked to a national campaign to eliminate shame and replace it with permission. People need to know that it is normal to be afraid in the water. But staying in fear is wrong: it is not safe.
The swimming lessons I taught in New England all those years ago were of no use to those students who did not have the opportunity to experience my modified method of teaching swimming. I hope they're looking for me now. Because anyone can learn to swim if they learn to overcome fear.