The panic grew with every move I made: gripping the railing with sweaty palms, trying to take it one step at a time as I made my way down the stairs and into the water. My feet felt like anchors dragging the pool floor as I tried to follow my instructor out into the shallow end. I wondered if he noticed my terror. I was feeling self-conscious about feeling scared. My chest felt heavy and my brain made me dizzy. I was breathing fast, my heart was pounding faster, and someone deep inside me was busy screaming warnings:
This isn’t what learning how to swim is supposed to feel like! Learning how to swim doesn’t need to feel scary - and shouldn’t be!
Even if you’re anxious, nervous, or scared of swimming today - learning to swim should feel relaxing (and peaceful).
#1 Reason 100 Million US Adults Can’t Swim. FEAR!
Did you know that over 100 million adults in the United States can't swim to save themselves? And the most likely reason they'll never learn is because of fear.
People are scared of shallow water, deep water, waves, and losing control. Many experience anxiety just thinking about taking swimming lessons and so never do.
Fear is a powerful deterrent. And Adult Swimming Lessons (as they're taught almost everywhere) don't make the situation better.
Most coaches never even ask about underlying fears before inviting their adult learners into the water to practice holding their breath, going underwater, and floating.
,,,especially if that’s what they’re going to try and get you to do on your first day of class! It’s a recipe to live the example we opened this article with.
A good empathetic coach, will ask you about your fears and give you a reassuring, "you can do it, I'm here with you" pep-talk. And that might alleviate fear enough to get you in the water… But it’s not addressing the underlying fear enough to calm anxiety or create a relaxing learning experience.
Allowing unaddressed fears to enter the water is the biggest mistake made in adult swimming lessons today. Fear should never be allowed in the water.
It's the number one reason most adult swim lessons fail. (And they fail as often - or more - than they succeed). Because coaches forget to address fear, and students try to bite down and push through it. It's a losing strategy that's as unsafe as it is un-fun.
From our experience, fear needs to be worked through in small and manageable "micro-steps," that dissolve fear before students ever enter the water.
Instead of stepping into the water like a warrior going to battle, students should be taught relaxation and breathwork strategies that leave them feeling calm.
Adult Swim Lessons Should Be Relaxing.
Imagine feeling calm around the water. That’d be empowering! When's the last time you felt relaxed in a pool?
You can experience that! And all it takes is following the right simple steps that we’ll reveal to you in this article. When you follow our “micro-steps” and pair them with the relaxation techniques you’ll learn in the next section, fear dissolves layer by layer until it’s gone for good!
That means learning to swim is relaxing… not a battle full of uncomfortable anxiety.
Our process begins by helping you learn to relax next to the water... not in it! If you can’t feel comfortable sitting next to a pool, how can you ever feel calm in the water?
Next, we’ll help you feel relaxed with your feet in the water, then your knees, then sitting in the water, then standing… easy micro-step by micro-step, all the way until you’re floating and swimming on your own, experiencing relaxation and calm the entire way!
And we know that’s how you’ll feel, because that's what our adult learners report how they feel. And not only do they overcome their fear faster and learn to swim quicker, but they also fall in love with the water. Good feelings breed better results.
Here's how you can learn to swim experiencing relaxation instead of anxiety:
Breathing Out Fear. How to Overcome Your Fear of Swimming.
People from their 30’s up into their 90’s have moved on from life-long swimming fears by doing the very same things you’re about to learn here. It’s the foundation of our SwimAble Adult program. And we’re giving it away for free because it shouldn’t be a secret.
You deserve to overcome your fears, learn how to swim, and experience relaxation in the water. And to do that, you must first learn to breathe.
- Inhale deeply for 4 seconds
- Gently hold that breath for 4 seconds
- Exhale gently for 4 seconds
- Gently hold your exhaled breath for 4 seconds.
Repeat 2 to 5 minutes until you can physically feel relaxation calming your body and mind.
This relaxation technique is called Box Breathing and if you just did a few rounds, you already noticed how powerful it is. Navy Seals, Soldiers, and Police Officers use Box Breathing to lower stress and remain calm in high-pressure situations
And if it’s good enough for them in combat situations, it’s good enough for us to help overcome your fear of swimming and learn how to swim with confidence.
Watch the video below and experience a guided Box Breathing session with SwimAble founders, Jim and Jeff. This is only 1 of the 84 guided videos that’ll take you from the fear you feel today, to swimming with confidence and experiencing total relaxation in the water.
It's a powerful technique. But doing Box Breathing alone won't be enough to overcome your fear of swimming. We have to combine it into the SwimAble Approach for learning how to swim.
How SwimAble Adult Swim Lessons Overcome the Fear of Swimming with Relaxation:
And our approach borrows a process of fear elimination from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, called Systematic Desensitization. And it delivers flawless success for our SwimAble members who follow the plan.
Below is a distilled version of how it all works. If you want to take a deeper dive into what systematic desensitization is (not necessary), click here.
- Learn Box Breathing
- Perform Box Breathing before each micro-step. Start on Step 1 (first 12-steps below)
- Only advance onto the next step once you feel relaxed and calm
It's simple and completely self-guided based on your internal experience. Calm thoughts, low heart rate and normal respiration are your signs that you're ready to move on to the next skill.
The most beautiful aspect of how this process works is that it's completely self-guided and driven by your feelings of relaxation. There’s never a battle or a need to push through your fear. All you have to do is take things one small micro-step at a time and remember to breathe.
Watch how SwimAble students perform the Self-Check-in Method to guarantee they're relaxed enough to move on to the next skill:
Check out the first 12-Steps of the SwimAble approach to overcoming fear and learning to swim with confidence below... These are 12 fear-dissolving steps that are skipped in most swim lessons today.
Combine Box Breathing with these 12 simple steps and finally start overcoming your fear of swimming!
If you've been living a dry life, these first 12 steps will leave you feeling confident getting wet!
Need more help and direction than we already gave you? See below.
You're only days away from overcoming your fear of swimming forever!
That might feel far fetched right now... But every single one of these new swimmers felt how you're feeling right now too.
Check out these 5 Facebook Shares by SwimAble Members:
We want you to feel how they feel!
Here's how you can finally overcome your fear of swimming for good!
- 84 simple and self-guided steps that will take you from fear and avoidance to experiencing total relaxation and confidence in the water. Oh, and mastering basic front crawl and backstroke.
- Guided relaxation and breath-work exercises
- Exclusive access to our members-only Facebook page to get support from other members and have your questions answered by Jim, Jeff, and our team of coaches.
- Direct access to head coaches Jim and Jeff and our swimmer-support team.
- Lifetime 20% discount in our online SwimAble Swim-Shop
- Access your videos from anywhere from any computer, iPad, or iPhone device
Don’t let another dry minute go by without taking action. You found us for a reason. Join now from anywhere in the world 👉 SwimAble Adult
And if you're in Atlanta, GA - join us where we swim 👉 SwimAble Atlanta!
Until next time. Safer Swimming and Happy Swim Discovery!
Jim Wood, Co-Founder of The Swim Revolution & SwimAble.com