Top Five Mistakes Newbie Swimmers Make

Hey team! I’ve got some awesome value for you this week: The Top 5 Mistakes Newbie Swimmers Make!

I’ve been teaching swimmers for a long time and when I begin to ponder what really makes swimmers struggle, a few solid themes always begin to pop into my mind. I wanted to share them with you this week!

Some swimmers really struggle with the physical aspects of swimming. Those might be things like just being really stiff and inflexible. Or maybe they are really skinny and have a body fat percentage of like 1% and they just sink like a rock! There’s a lot of reasons like that that may be holding somebody back.

Or maybe what’s holding them back is something much simpler, but twice as complicated to deal with. A mental block. If you have severe anxiety in and around the water, it makes it quite a challenge to learn how to swim as well.

So, recognizing that there are a lot of unique challenges that people have to deal with, here are the Top 5 mistakes that I believe newbie swimmers make when they are learning to swim!

Top Mistake # 1: I’m the Man and don’t need no help:

This has to be my BIGGEST pet peeve in the whole world. If you don’t know how to do something, look for an expert. Simple. Don’t try to prove that you know better than everybody else and tackle that problem yourself. An expert will truly help you realize your weak spots faster than everybody else out there and they will allow you to achieve your goals in half the time.

If your car was broken down and you’re like most people and know nothing about cars, you aren’t going to try and fix the damn thing. You are going to take it to a mechanic. They will fix it and fix it right in a fraction of the time that you would spend trying to fix it. Even though it does cost you a bit of money, you’re going to go that route because you realize the intelligence of going to the mechanic to do it for you.

So here’s a few thoughts I’d think about if I were you:

  1. You aren’t one of those Newbie Swimmers;
  2. Your time is worth something and you know you will get where you want to go quicker looking to an expert and;
  3. You know that it will be done right!

And whether that is seeking a swimming lesson in town, reading some books, watching some videos online, or even perusing online blogs, keep in contact with your experts. Absorb their little nuggets of value!

Top Mistake # 2: I’ve been a couch potato for 10 years. Now I’m a swimmer! 

If you’ve been lounging around for the last ten years and doing no physical activity, you need to be careful jumping into swimming. Swimming is one of the best ways to exercise and it can be so helpful for people who struggle with joint issues, but there’s a few things that people need to be made aware of before they go!

If you aren’t at least a reasonable fitness level, you will struggle to pop out more than a few lengths in the pool. Being a strong swimmer means having a good handle on your breathing. This means that a flight of stairs shouldn’t be putting you into cardiac arrest!

The issue with popping into swimming with a poor fitness level is two-fold:

  1. You could be putting yourself in danger, especially in open water.
  2. 2. You will begin to discourage yourself when you can’t make it more than a length in the pool

So if your fitness level is something you struggle with, try working a little more physical activity into your days. You will see huge gains in terms of your swimming ability AND you will be in better physical shape. WIN. WIN. No newbie swimmers status for you!

Top Mistake # 3: I’m going to be such a good swimmer even though I don’t push myself:

I’ve taught plenty of students who get to a point where they can do what I’m asking them to do. Maybe that means swimming 100 meters. Awesome! We made our goal. We can do 4 lengths in the pool.


They don’t push themselves to go farther. They don’t try new drills to improve their technique. When I suggest trying 200 meters, they think I’m off my rocker!

Do stop it. Push yourself to get to a higher level. Make yourself do that extra length even though you don’t want to.

When you really kick your butt and make yourself accomplish more than you did the last time, you cause growth. When you did one more length than you did last time in the pool, you are causing growth. Growth is what is going to get you to your goals. Maybe that goal is just to be able to swim one mile. Or maybe you want people checking you out in a pair of jeans one size smaller. Either way, push yourself and you will grow. Newbie swimmers don’t grow.

Top Mistake # 4: They don’t focus on the individual aspects of their stroke: 

Almost everybody bites off more than they can chew when they try to learn something. Newbie swimmers just don’t realize how much they could accomplish if they break their stroke down into it’s components. By just practicing your kick, you vastly improve your entire swimming stroke because you are able to direct your focus into changing the little things that you are doing wrong. If you are focusing on arms, legs, breathing, and coordination, you won’t be able to focus and make subtle changes in your stroke.

That is why my most popular piece of writing I’ve done on this blog is my How to Swim post:

Check it out too and see what you think!

Top Reason # 5: Newbie Swimmers aren’t reading Swimming Fearless posts weekly:

 Shameless plug I know!

But there is truth to it. I post every week about the questions that you all have. For free!

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Hope you guys enjoyed the article! Hit me up if you have questions or comments below!

See ya next week!

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