This year I decided that I wanted to change. I wanted to be a better swimmer.

I had a lot of beliefs about swimming – it’s hard, I don’t enjoy it, I’m just not a natural swimmer, it’s just something that others are good at. I can’t swim well. It’s just who I am. It’s always been like this.

So I booked a series of lessons.

The first lesson was all about where I am now and what I can change right now that would make a difference.
That was essentially keeping my head underwater until I needed to breath. I was shown how and when I could breath.

I practiced swimming with this new knowledge and it made a big difference. I still found it all very difficult but not quite as difficult as before.

The second lesson was all about legs. How to use them, the purpose of them in swimming, what they provide and what they don’t. That was the focus. We just focused on that.

I practiced swimming with this new knowledge and found that it all felt quite hard as there was more to focus on. It didn’t feel easy at all. Mind you I recognised that it was early days and that I had improved. It just knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

The third lesson was all about arms. A really difficult lesson for me. A lot of detail, and very specific work. What I was doing and what I needed to do to swim the way I’d like to. It was hard, painful in fact as I started to change my thinking and how I used my body. I forgot, or found it hard, to focus on my arms and my breathing and my legs.

I practiced swimming with this new knowledge. It was difficult. I noticed that now and then things really came together and for a short time it felt easy and natural. Then I’d gulp in water or forget to do something and I’d feel worse again. During this point I sometimes felt that it was much harder trying to swim now than it used to be.

The fourth lesson was all about making small corrections. Noticing what I was doing now and what changes would make things even easier for me. Mentally it was starting to come together. It felt easier and I was relaxing more. It was starting to feel normal.

I practiced swimming with this new knowledge and slowly I realised that although I was still making mistakes I felt a lot more comfortable and I was able to swim more effectively than ever before.

The fifth and final lesson was further clarification and further adjustment. Really detailed work focused on very small details. Those small details made a big difference. By this time I was comfortable with breathing, aware of what my arms were doing, and noticing when I wasn’t using my legs helpfully.

I’ve a long way to go, however I am now a swimmer. I still make mistakes, still get things wrong but I don’t panic, or get annoyed with myself as I realise that it’s just feedback and I just continue to try as I learn from that feedback.

I now swim, which is practice, which helps me to swim. I’m now playing around with what works effectively for me, and finding new ways to become even more relaxed and even more comfortable.
I love it. I enjoy swimming. I can swim. It’s just who I am.

Therapy is no different.