I am terrified of swimming because I am scared to lift my feet off the pool floor. I am learning to swim in this school program that goes on for a week (I am 13), and by the end of the week, we must be able to swim and float on the back and front. Most of the people in my group can do these things and are now just practising, but I CANT! I get terrified to let my feet off the floor and up. I ended up crying today because I got so scared! PLEASE help me!?? What can I do?
This is a very common feeling, and you are not alone. Please do not compare yourself with the others in your class. You will learn to swim but must progress at your own pace and try things out only when you are happy. We all learn things at different speeds, and comparing yourself to others who progress quicker only adds to your anxiety and pressure.
The first area you need to concentrate on is holding your breath and putting your face in the water. You can practice this without lifting your feet off of the pool floor. Remain standing in the water of about shoulder or chest depth, take a deep breath and place your face down.
Wearing swim goggles can help make this experience more comfortable as they prevent water from getting into your eyes and allow you to see where you are and what you are doing.
Once you can confidently keep your face down in the water for between 5 and 10 seconds, try doing the same but holding the poolside with both hands and lifting your feet off of the pool floor. Keep holding the poolside and gently lower your feet to the floor as you lift your face out.
Once you can do this confidently, try the same but let go of the poolside. Letting go of the poolside can mean completely letting go or moving your hands away slightly so that only your fingertips are touching the side. It all depends on how brave you are feeling!
Eventually, you will be able to float with your feet off the floor and your face down in the water without fear.
However, keep in mind that not everyone naturally floats. It is all down to our relative density (and I will leave you to look that up!). Some of us float well in a static position, and some of us do not. That does not mean that if we cannot float, we cannot swim. Not at all. The very act of swimming and the propulsion and momentum we get from swimming keep our bodies near the water's surface.
My ebook The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming contains all the help and support you need, from relaxing, floating and breathing to all the technique tips for learning to swim the four basic strokes. Click the link below for more information.