In my previous post I suggested we discuss the qualities of a good workout and realized that it was not that easy to answer. The same could be said when asking how many sessions one needs to learn to swim. We understand that the result is important but the distance can be quite long to get from A to B.
First of all a person might not be able to explain what being able to swim means for them. For example swim faster? Swimming for health? Swimming far from the shore and not being afraid to do it? It is a shared opinion that swimming is a fundamental skill which opens doors to many other water-based activities.
What about long-term results? Having learnt to swim, it is necessary to maintain the skill and continue with the activity for further health benefits. There is no doubt that swimming is an activity you can do at any age.
People need to understand that the health benefits may take time. Perhaps a good analogy is smoking; smoking- related illnesses are not instant and may take many years to manifest themselves.
When a person says: “I can swim”, in my opinion it is not a conclusive statement. There is a lot more involved in the process to become an efficient swimmer.
I am really grateful to my friends who took the trouble to respond and express their opinions that the most important aspect of any training session is the sense of satisfaction whether one feels tired after a training session or happily manages to perform the exercises properly. My great hope is that they say after the session: “I feel good”, “I am doing well” and there is a sense of achievement.
Some of my friends felt that to answer the questions in my previous post would involve long discussions and may take you in many directions. I completely agree with my friend who shares the same idea; when it comes to teaching adults to swim the first issue we might face is that they come to us with baggage, of health issues, mental blocks or lack of fitness in general. In other words they have negative traits that need to be overcome before I can actually start the proper process of teaching swimming.
It is well known that swimming is a low-impact activity that provides a full body workout i.e. improves all the organ systems of the body, mainly the cardiovascular, nervous and muscular. However it is little known that without a good technique those benefits are not achieved. Just battling with the water, trying to raise your heart rate, working arms and legs hard, with the thought in mind “no pain no gain” is useless and will not encourage you to continue.
The quotation “Here, fitness is something that happens to you while you practice good technique” I think I found on the Total Immersion website a long time ago and realized that I had come up with a swimming session that consists of a set of swimming drills which I would describe as “one size fits all”.
Swimming drills are broken down into the basic elements of strokes which helps the process of learning to swim easier for the student and at the same time providing a workout which can cover almost all aspects of fitness.
I personally believe that there are natural freestylers and breaststrokers. My choice of swimming drills can provide plenty of variety and at the same time help me, as the teacher, to recognize whether front crawl or breaststroke would be easier for the student to learn. By focusing on the preferred stroke, helps to make the process more comfortable but at the same time using drills for the other stroke will prevent boredom. By practicing a particular part of a complex stroke sequence at the same time I, as the teacher, can focus on proper body position, breath control and correct arm and leg movements and by so doing we are “reducing energy waste”.
It is necessary to slow down the drills in order to improve better execution thus focusing on good technique which provides a good workout and satisfaction. By slowing the process down, I am doing my best to demonstrate the movements clearly and precisely.
In a future post I am going to talk about one of my favorite drills which has multiple benefits to me as a teacher and for the student, such as helping me to identify any flaws and a good workout.