Swimming is an excellent physical activity with a lot of health benefits such as
Strong bones and muscles
Healthy heart, lungs and arteries thereby reducing heart disease and other internal organ dysfunctions
Body and mind coordination.
Improved body posture and flexibility
Prevention/ management of diabetes
Yet, a lot of people would not dare get into the pool and you wonder why?
Most times, people do not swim because they are Aqua phobic. Aquaphobia is the fear of water. Aquaphobia is propagated by a host of thoughts and ideologies such as the thought of drowning, a bad past experience, associating with aqua phobic people, or even lack of trust in the swim teacher or swim coach’s abilities.
The thought of drowning involves the learner been conscious of drowning to an extent where they can hardly maintain the right kind of posture even if they manage to get in the water.
“There’s never a second opportunity to make a first impression”. For most learners, whether adults or children, their first impression of water bodies instilled fear in them. It may have been a story of a flood, a careless swim teacher or even a neighbor who drowned during a fishing expenditure. Whatever the information they had first received, had spoilt their opinion on swimming.
Relationships influence our ideologies and habits. Having a group of aqua phobic people around a learner will consistently dampen the enthusiasm of the learner, as they will naturally keep trying to transfer their fear on the learner.
Physical Signs of Aquaphobia
Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
Sweating and shivering
Ways to Control Aquaphobia
Fear is the brain’s response to a perceived harmful situation. This means that changing how the brain perceives that situation can eliminate the fear.
Some Ways to Eliminate Aqua phobia Include
Understanding learners fear:The swim teacher/ coach should take out time to listen to a learner’s thoughts and past experiences during conversations and then, design their learning strategies based on how to overcome that learner’s fear.
Having a swim teacher/swim coach around:The presence of a coach or an experienced swim teacher at the side of the swimmer will aid the learner to feel confident and comfortable as they know the coach won’t leave him/her to drown.
Teaching relaxation techniques for swimmers:The swim coach or teacher should teach learner relaxation techniques in the water such as repeatedly floating, gliding and rolling softly and gently in an area of a pool that is not deep, noisy and packed with other swimmers.
Swim teacher should mirror the motions for the learner and engage the learner in a pedagogical way.