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To think swimming teachers are obsessed with putting face in water

(135 Posts)
2catsnowaiting Mon 09-May-16 14:24:15

Here's the thing. All my children love going to the pool and enjoy playing in the water. All of them, at a young age hate or hated putting their face in the water.

The older two taught themselves to swim by using flotation jackets, from which I gradually removed the floats, until they were able to swim without the jacket. I tried the same thing with the youngest, but he has now outgrown the jacket and no sign of any bouyancy at all. He can just about swim with a noodle float but even that is a struggle.

I'm wondering whether to put him in for swimming lessons, however, from my limited experience of it, it seems that swimming teachers are obsessed with making kids put their faces in the water, as if this is more important than actual swimming, and you can't learn to swim without doing so. I know this is not the case as my oldest got her 10m badge swimming with her head out of the water. She then did 6 weeks of lessons with school, at the end of which she would put her face in the water, and then they said she could get her 10m badge, which she already had before she started - how is that progress? I realise that if you are planning to become a professional or competitive swimmer, then you need to learn correct technique, but clearly none of mine are, I just want them to enjoy swimming for fun/exercise. My mum is in her 60s and still swims with her head out of the water, it's never done her any harm.

My worry is, (and the reason the older two have never had swimming lessons outside the very few they had with school) that he will start to hate going swimming because the teachers will make him put his face in the water. I would rather he loved going to the pool and couldn't swim than started to hate it.

Has anyone experienced swimming lessons where they do not insist they have to put their faces in to make any progress? I'm unwilling to pay good money for someone to make my child do something he hates.

AndTakeYourPenguinWithYou Mon 09-May-16 14:26:34

Doing something he hates might save his life. If you fall off a boat but can't handle having your face in the water knowing how to do a ladylike face out butterfly won't keep you alive.
Stop pandering to it and insist they all learn properly.

LottieDoubtie Mon 09-May-16 14:28:27

Erm you do seem unusually vehement on this issue.

Most swimming teachers will encourage a certain amount of face putting in- it is an essential skill for swimming really.

Yes it is possible for your 60 year old mother to do her 40 lengths head out but that isn't really the way children swim for pleasure.

It's a useful skill and if the teacher is any good (and you support and encourage too) your children can learn to put their heads under water and actually enjoy it pretty quickly!

Roobix04 Mon 09-May-16 14:29:01

Being able to put your face under water or even being able to go fully under water is part of learning how to be safe in the water. And even if he hates it now once he gets used to it he'll probably enjoy swimming even more because then he can do more stuff.

TheDuchyOfGrandFenwick Mon 09-May-16 14:29:13

YABU. The swimming instructor wouldn't be doing their job properly if they didn't teach kids the correct technique.

sofato5miles Mon 09-May-16 14:29:34

My DH never learnt to swim with his head underwater and, frankly, has an unresolved fear of water.

The rest of us are keen swimmers and he hates coming to the pool or beach with us on holiday.

Have you tried goggles?

TeenAndTween Mon 09-May-16 14:31:03


Putting your face in the water helps bring your legs up behind you as it encourages your torso to stay horizontal. This makes it easier to float / swim.

Buy goggles, go to pool for fun. Get them jumping in. 'Accidentally' get them splashed until it isn't a big deal. When they will put their faces in, then pay for lessons.

situatedknowledge Mon 09-May-16 14:32:16

YABU the day they fall in the river/pond/sea they will get their face wet. If they panic at that, they have no hope of getting to safety. It really is that simple.

budgiegirl Mon 09-May-16 14:34:33

I was never made to put my face in the water when I was taught to swim ( a long, long time ago!) I can swim , and do up to 100 lengths, but it's slow, breaststroke only, and I alway have neck ache by the time I finish.

I really wish my swimming teacher had insisted I got used to my face in the water, swimming would now be so much easier, and I might be able to do front crawl.

dancemom Mon 09-May-16 14:34:35

I would say obsessed is slightly over the top but surely you don't expect a teacher to promote or even accept something incorrect.

Putting your face in the water is essential to obtain the correct body position for swimming technique but also submersion is essential for basic water safety.

And any teacher who gave your daughter a 10m badge for swimming without putting her face in shouldn't have a job!

MuddhaOfSuburbia Mon 09-May-16 14:34:51

I think everyone hates putting their face in the water, don't they?

My kids certainly did when they started swimming. A couple of sessions in and they were over it

It's worth it, I promise (I struggle with it myself-never learnt properly- but when I do my best Nana Doggypaddle next to my dcs I'm dead jealous)

OddBoots Mon 09-May-16 14:35:22

Do you mean you wouldn't want their face in the water at all? How would they jump in or learn how to surface without coughing and spluttering if they fell in? If you mean this then YABU, this is a fundamental skill of swimming.

If you just mean learning a swimming stroke that involves putting your face in the water then I am sure there would be ways to adapt it if they really hated it, they could learn the safety part of swimming without the skill of the strokes.

donotreadtheDailyHeil Mon 09-May-16 14:35:40

You need to be able to put your face in the water to swim efficiently. I learnt to swim as a child, but swimming head-up front crawl. I managed to get a 400m certificate and a personal survival award doing that!

But when I went back to lessons as an adult (about 10 years ago) I had to relearn to swim "properly". It is better to learn properly as a kid than as a adult.

I'm not keen on getting water up my nose so I swim with goggles and a nose-clip. If I fell into a lake I dare say I'd put up with it in order to stay alive but with recreational swimming I am glad I have a nose clip.

snowgirl1 Mon 09-May-16 14:38:10

As TeenandTween said putting your face in the water helps you float, so helps you swim. Get him goggles and send him off to lessons.

AtticusFlinch Mon 09-May-16 14:41:19

Even if you just want to swim recreationally or to keep fit, you swim much further and faster with your head under water. Keeping it out limits you to only being able to swim breaststroke or backstroke over a long period of time - deliberately keeping your head above water is actually quite tiring if you're swimming a long distance! Being able to put your face underwater is essential so you don't panic when it happens accidentally.

blueskyinmarch Mon 09-May-16 14:41:53

I agree with the other posters in that putting your face in water is essential for learning the correct swimming technique. If your DC is afraid of putting his face in water then you can speak to the swimming teacher in advance so they can gently encourage this. Soon he will be jumping in and diving underwater and this will increase his enjoyment of swimming.

Tubbyinthehottub Mon 09-May-16 14:41:59

YABU if you want your child to learn proper swimming at these lessons, then he needs to learn to put his face in the water. If you are happy for him to mess about having fun in the pool and nurture his own style, you would be wasting your money and everyone's time at lessons.

sleepwhenidie Mon 09-May-16 14:46:12

Sorry, but as pp's have said, YABU - most important thing is getting comfortable enough that you don't freak out (and forget how to swim) if you fall in the water accidentally but also, if you can't swim with your face in the water then you aren't actually swimming properly so shouldn't be getting any badges to say that you can.

ReallyTired Mon 09-May-16 14:47:42

Able to put your face in water is an important part of water confidence. I think you are being a little precious complaining that the swimming teacher wants your child to get his face wet. I suggest you get your child goggles. Another thing you could do is get your child to blow bubbles in the bath at home.

coffeeisnectar Mon 09-May-16 14:53:16

Just send him for the lessons.

My dd is 10 and a year ago she couldn't swim and hated even going in the shower as water went on her face (she has sensory issues).

She's now moved up 6 groups in a year, can swim over 1000m confidently doing breastroke (proper breastroke with face in the water), front crawl, back crawl and butterfly.

The change in her confidence in the water has been absolutely incredible and she absolutely loves diving in for the weighted sticks the instructor throws in for them to retrieve.

Nabootique Mon 09-May-16 14:55:12

As a former swimming teacher, it is partly so they are not afraid of the water on their face, which is important, especially when you start later badges which require you to dive in, swim under water, etc., but also part of having lessons is to be taught proper technique. I would think it was the same for any sport/pass time. To be able to do proper front crawl later, for example, putting your face in the water is essential. Obviously you might not be planning on taking their lessons that far, but a swimming teacher will prepare them for onward learning.

NickiFury Mon 09-May-16 14:58:48

I agree actually OP. My dd is quite a good swimmer but in the bottom group for school swimming with no sign of moving up, all because she can't achieve the holy grail of Face In The Water. She has ASD and is unlikely to ever voluntarily dip her face under the water. Doesn't matter though, until she does that there will be no progression. It's annoying.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 09-May-16 14:59:22

Your op is exactly why you should trust teachers and leave it to the professionals. I do t have time to respond properly but you're completely wrong in almost everything you write. I'm a swimming teacher.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 09-May-16 15:03:32

Maybe it's important and that's why they're "obsessed" ? grin

I do know that face out of water swimming is v bad for your back/neck so if you can't swim properly [like me] then swimming as a form of physical therapy will do more harm than good. Much easier to learn the proper technique as a child even if you occasionally ignore it to keep your hair dry.

Anyway, ALL children hate getting a wet face at some point. They get over it or only ever take baths

arethereanyleftatall Mon 09-May-16 15:03:53

But just one thing quickly - your dd should never have been awarded 10m if her head was out of the water. Teachers should not be doing that. Are national awards now are to only award distance badges if correct technique is used.

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