This is always such an emotive subject, mainly because the answer to it is incredibly subjective and will depend on so many differing factors!
I know this doesn’t help you figure out how and where to get started, so I’ll explain….
I am asked almost daily to write generic ‘complete beginner’ swimming plans to share publicly with swimmers that are looking for a helping hand when getting started on their swimming journey, and this always makes me wince, draw in my breath and run in the opposite direction. Why? Because your version of ‘complete beginner’ may not be the same as the person next to you and why, after years of me banging the drum to my swimmers to respect and embrace that training should be tailored and bespoke to you, would I create something generic as a ‘one size fits all’?
Simply put, how would it make you feel if you were presented with a swimming set that is designed as a ‘complete beginner’ swim plan, and you were unable to complete it? Would it encourage you to get back out there and try harder, or would it deflate you, create a dent in your confidence and motivation, and make it harder for you to even want to go swimming?
My guess, as a swimming teacher and coach with over 20 years’ experience, would be the latter, and you are completely normal for feeling like this.
So, I am not going to write a detailed, “this is what you should do” blog, and instead offer you some practical and valuable advice from a coach that has seen and worked with every kind of swimmer, from every kind of background and ability you can think of;
- The first step to getting started, is to get started.
Seems simple, right? That’s because it really is that simple. Pack up your swim bag and head to the swimming pool. Remove any and all expectations you have for distance and time spent swimming, and instead just be present in the moment of going to the pool and beginning your journey.
- The first step to beginning any journey, is to begin that journey.
Block out 2-3 times a week in your diary where you will go to the pool, then spend the first couple of weeks just getting used to packing up your bag and heading to the swimming pool (or open water) at the times you have blocked out in your diary.
This will offer you routine and consistency and as result you will experience positive reinforcement.
It really doesn’t matter how much or how little you achieve in these first couple of weeks, the important aspect is that you remain consistent in going along. You do not need to thrash yourself in these early weeks to begin your swimming journey, all this will do is tire you out, deflate you and make you drop out sooner. These vital few weeks are building routine, next we move in to ‘building a base’…
We’ll cover ‘building a base’ in the next blog.