How To Overcome A Fear Of Water
Swimming instructor, Paul, takes his student through several simple drills focusing on floating and breathing to help overcome a fear of water and make steps towards being confident in the water and to learning to swim.
So, this is a guide called how to overcome fear of water, also known as aquaphobia. The thing with aquaphobia is it comes in different levels. Some people are petrified of water, some people believe they have a phobia of water but actually just aren't comfortable with the water.
So, the first thing to do with any coach that you are working with is to establish how deep that fear really is. There are various exercises that we do to try and relax people and to try and prepare them to learn swimming technique. The first is always being to try and make them comfortable in the water.
It is essential for those that are fearful of water and those that aren't, as well, to make them feel safe in the water. So, we start off with some safety exercises and some exercises to change your perceptions of the water. Quite often, people go into the water and they assume the worst.
They fear the worst, they feel that they sink, they're sure that they sink. So, what we like to do is we like to try and disprove to them that theory by actually challenging them to try and sink, alright? So what we are going to do to start off is a drill with Theo, which involves trying to sink, in a controlled environment. So now, we are going to do a drill which focuses on changing perceptions.
So I am going to challenge my student Theo now to try and sink using the stairs here. So, that should be a pretty easy task for someone who believes that they sink, alright, so we take a big breath, and using the sides, try and get your bum to stay on the floor for two to three seconds. Now as you see here, as soon as he submerged himself, his legs started to float up, and even with the aid of something fixed, it is very difficult to push yourself under the water.
Okay, Theo, that's fine. So this is because of the air that Theo has originally taken in. Now, even if you were to blow out most of that air, there will still be a reserve volume which keeps you afloat.
So, it is actually very difficult to sink in a controlled environment. What we are going to do now is we are going to now use a drill called "the mushroom float" which takes you on a step further than that, so again we are going to be floating, but ironically, we are going to be floating by trying to duck under the water and by grabbing the knees and to actually try and stay under the water. So, we look at Theo now.
Now, Theo's going to reach under and he's going to try and grab onto the bottom of the knees here and try and stay underwater. But you'll see that it's not possible. Once he's under fully, his body will just float up.
Now, this is a good drill to get you used to buoyancy, your natural buoyancy in the water. Now, this isn't a particularly good way to float, in that his knees are under him and he is in a ball shape, but you see how well you float even when you are not stretched out into a good position. Okay, Theo, and we'll stop there.
Okay. We are now going to take it one step further and do exactly the same drill, but now, we are going to get used to the buoyancy and used to moving our limbs unaided, without the use of the side to try and gain a little bit more balance, a little bit more confidence being in the water alone. Okay, so now, this time, we are going to do a mushroom float, stretched out into position, and just moving your arms and legs from side to side a little bit, getting a general feel for the buoyancy of your body.
Now, Theo, by stretching the arms out a little bit to the side, a little bit wider, he can gain more balance. By bringing them in together, he becomes more streamlined. This is a good drill for any beginner to get used to before they even attempt to swim technique of any sort, because without having initial starting position and that being comfortable in the water, you're going to find it very hard to progress.
Okay, and knees under, and hands to the side to stop. Another thing to think about when you're doing these drills is the br