Think “Fish”

Whether you are a competent swimmer tweaking an aspect of your stroke technique; or a beginner learning to put your face into the water, you need to own the directions you give to yourself and they have to be concise.

Once your face and ears are submerged in the water you are significantly reducing the stimulus from vision and hearing. Even if your instructor is in the water with you they cannot easily tell you or show you what to do. For many different reasons your thoughts can wander: anxiety about breathing, trying to remember what your instructor said, imagining what other swimmers are thinking about you, worrying about driving home in the dark after your lesson. So, you need simple instructions that you have made up yourself.

Make your instructions concise: one word where possible. (Why would a sign outside a shop read “Fresh Fish Sold Here Daily” if the same message could be relayed by the shop owner  writing “Fish”?)

Own your instructions. It is much easier to remember something that you have made up yourself, than something you have read or been told.

Your instructor tells you…”To regain your feet you need to stay relaxed in the glide then gently tuck your chin towards your chest, bend your knees and allow them to sink, direct your bottom towards the pool bottom, keep looking down until your feet touch the floor. Be patient and take your time ”

You may then come up with the concise directions…”Chin 1-2, knees 1-2, feet on the floor” or whatever keeps you focused and works for you.