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Discussion: Can't put head under water in swim

Subject: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Jose G.

Written on: Thursday March 12, 2009

Message: In my nascent coaching side career, I am working with a friend pro bono. She has thrown me a good one as my first challenge. She isn't comfortable putting her head under water.

Any good suggestions from those who have worked with kids or adults in getting past this barrier?

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Greg C.

Written on: Thursday March 12, 2009

Message: In a former life, I was an aquatics dir at a y, ...This may be the result of a childhood experience..It may put her at ease for you to be in the water with her at first. Have her start by simply blowing bubbles, standing up with only her face (or just nose and mouth) in the water. Be sure that she turns to the side to inhale, as if rotary breathing. She should try to gradually put her face in deeper. Maybe have her do sets of 10 and then move her face, then eventually head, deeper with each set. Then have her practice kicking and breathing by holding the side of the pool or your hands, walking with her. Have her mock the arms and breathing of swimming while walking about, working in the kick later. Bobbing up and down is also helpful, when she's ready. Deep breath as she jumps up and exhale as she squats, totally submerged...(I actually do about ten before laps, gets the blood flowing..It looks absurd...but it works to get water comfortable..) She needs to start with baby steps and gradually take on a new, big step in order to put it all together...just like a 7 year old doing the same thing for the first time. As a good coach, keep giving her positive words, reminding her that it will come with practice and patience...Hope this helps.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Tonya M.

Written on: Thursday March 12, 2009

Message: Thank you for this post! I am soooo embarrassed because I am the same way! My hubby says to blow out through your nose? But I can't! I have always been the type of person who holds their nose when they jump in the pool. So any suggestions would be helpfull to me too.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Clyde W.

Written on: Thursday March 12, 2009

Message: Have her begin with her face in a sink full of water humming with her mouth closed. That's what I did with my 2 year old (now three) in the bath. WIll get her used to the sensation of water on her face.

Works for learning to tumble turn too. If your mouth is shut and you're humming gently, no water can possibly get in.

Of course once swimming, you want to be exhaling through your mouth, so this is just for the first step.

Second step maybe try having her in the pool with goggles on, and sink underwater in a sitting position (you may have to help her down). Again, have her humm with her mouth shut. Distract her with another task (have her pretend to sip from an imaginary cup of tea). Hopefully you can progress from there to blowing bubbles from her mouth. Again, this works great for young kids too. Tell them "we're going to have a tea party underwater". They love it and forget about being fearful.


Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Cannon B.

Written on: Thursday March 12, 2009

Message: Just tell her George Clooney is under water sans trunks.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Jose G.

Written on: Thursday March 12, 2009

Message: Interestingly Clooney ploy.

Thanks all others for the kid tips. I am figuring this is a good approach but I need to get with her on why it's been an issue for her.

She's a massage therapist and will be trying to get her on our tri club as the official muscle manipulator. For those races she is not in she can provide the post race rub down for our club tent. She's actually quite fit with a strong upper body so I think this is just one road block to a great swimming future. In the Life Time Fitness Tri she only managed 7 lengths (not laps) in the 10 minute doggie paddle but still beat out 20 of the 57 other women in the field after biking and running.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: ontri d.

Written on: Thursday March 12, 2009

Message: Hold a broom and crack her on the head every time she dose not put it under. She will soon place her head in the bloody water.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Sean S.

Written on: Friday March 13, 2009

Message: Hold a broom? Crack her on the head? WHAT??????????

No, if they have a problem blowing out their nose simply have them hum their favorite song. Everybody can hum. While you're humming you're exhaling out your nose. Simple, start humming, slowly put your head. Stay standing up, start humming, slowly sink into the water chin first then the lips and finally the nose. Water will not be able to enter the nose while you're humming (air is comming out!).

I was a diver in H.S. and used this trick everytime I entered the water, though I never needed to hold my nose in the first place it helped when going into the water at 20mph feet first, the ultimate water up the nose speed. Never had a problem since.

Good luck, try this it works.

The most likely side effect is you tickle your nose once you start exhaling in the water. Have fun.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Caryl H.

Written on: Friday March 13, 2009

Message: Is she wearing goggles? If she isn't, make sure she is. For whatever reason, kids and people (like myself) who are uncomfortable in the water overcome the fear of putting your face in the water if they have goggles on.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Tonya M.

Written on: Saturday March 14, 2009

Message: I don't have a fear of putting my head in the water, it is just that the smooth flow of turning your head and breathing from side to side. I watch my hubby do it and just can't get it down. I'm going to try the humming thing though

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Sean S.

Written on: Sunday March 15, 2009

Message: Remember if you have proper body roll while doing the front crawl just tip your chin to the sky ever-so-slightly. You'll get the air you need with out the water, but the key is proper body roll.

If you're not rolling properly do this trick I teach new swimmers. Pretend you have a watch on your wrist (doesn't matter which one) and continually look at the time on your watch. If your arm is out of the water your eyes and chin should be too. This also helps get you in the feel of a proper body roll during the swim. Hum all your air out prior to getting your "watch" out or you won't have time to get a proper breath.

Good luck, let us know.

Subject: RE: Can't put head under water in swim

By: Jennifer M.

Written on: Sunday March 15, 2009

Message: The first thing that people get worked up about is the concept of "holding" their breath under water. Start with this easy exercise (on land) four-five times a day...

Take a deep breath in for ten second, hold it for ten seconds, and let it out for ten seconds. Your mind begins to realize that you can go without breathing and you train your self for breathing side to side without being in the water.

The next step is to start moving to the water. The drills take a few forms...

The first one is done while standing in the water. Just work on putting your eyes in the water while doing the same drill. Take a breath in, blow out through your nose for ten seconds, and then come back up. Hold on to the side of the pool if you don't have someone who can coach you through it. Don't worry about if you bring your head straight up or to the side when you are done. Correct methods of breathing can only take place after you learn the basics.

Second drill is to work with a kick board when you are doing your laps. A lot of adult fears have to do with the fear of getting water in the ears because of ear problems as a child. Eyes in the water=water in the ears. Back to the drill... With the kick board, put both arms straight out on front of you. For the whole length, keep one ear in the water. For the next lenght, put the other ear in the water. The ear should feel like you are sleeping on a pillow. Remember to turn your head ONLY and not the whole body.

Now it's time to combine the two. Using the kick board with your arms out in front and your ear in the water, take a breath, put your eyes in the water, blow out for three second (count it out- one- two -three), and take another breath.

When you are ready to add in the arms, then go ahead. This process takes a while, don't rush yourself!!

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