30th January 2017.When you dive into the pool, do you feel as agile as a dolphin, or something similar to a heavy stone? While swimming is an excellent exercise for many and you don't need to be skilled to derive benefits from it, the right form does make a difference. Improving your technique is a good idea whether you want to step up your skill level to be a little more competitive (with friends or on a team) or you just want to maximise what swimming does for you. As you think on that, you may wonder, "What is the best way to improve my form and technique in the pool?" One answer might initially seem "too good to be true" ? swimming lessons! It's true: getting in the pool with an instructor isn't just for young children or adults who don't yet know how to swim. As a matter of fact, there are classes for adults across many age and skill brackets available. Whether you want to hone your butterfly stroke or learn a more efficient technique for breathing, swim lessons can do the trick. How, though? It's not just about jumping into the pool at class time and magically learning more. Let's look at the many ways this activity can actively help you improve your swimming ability.

Experienced eyes spot the struggles in your stroke

Let's face it: some of the swimming strokes aren't that easy. While Michael Phelps might make it seem seamless and uncomplicated, the reality is that there is a huge amount of training that goes into perfecting those movements. Whether you're struggling with a particular stroke or you want to improve your ability, working under the gaze of an experienced instructor can help. Your instructor won't always be in the pool with you; at times, they'll want to watch you to help analyse your stroke. Doing this can help to identify points in the stroke where you are wasting energy or slowing yourself down. For example, during a freestyle swim, the movement of the legs is incredibly important in determining your overall speed. However, overdoing it can fritter away energy you want to save for the final stretch. This inefficiency slows you down while also making your workout somewhat harder. An instructor during an adult swimming lesson knows how each stroke should look. They can offer valuable advice on how and when to make adjustments, plus tips, like how to ride your bow wave that can make you go faster.

Gain a better sense of how and when to breathe

Having good technique when it comes to your stroke is the first major element of improving your splits and lap times. It's just one ingredient for the overall picture of things, though. The role of your breath-taking is also a huge player in your performance. Every swimmer's enemy is oxygen debt, where the physical demands on your body require more oxygen than you're breathing in; this can quickly make you feel panicked, slowing you down and negatively impacting your performance. To defeat this problem, knowing how and when to breathe during your stroke is crucial. However, it's not always a simple matter of just turning your head to breathe. You're moving quickly, and the water is often all over your face. It's a fine line between sucking in oxygen and breathing in water. Your instructor can not only tell you how to breathe more efficiently but demonstrate the right technique as well. Learning from direct instruction like this is much easier than trying to figure out where the best place to breathe is by yourself. When you conquer oxygen debt and learn better and more controlled breathing practices from your swim lessons, you're much more likely to feel and perform better.

Group swimming presents opportunities for challenging yourself

Of course, there are other benefits beyond simply learning how to swim more efficiently and with the correct form. Unless you've enrolled in private swimming classes, you're likely going to be taking your lessons with a group of other people. Believe it or not, but this has benefits for your fitness and overall prospects for improving your ability, too. How? Consider what it would be like if you were part of a swim team. You're a part of a group of motivated swimmers who all want to do the best they can. In a class setting for swimmers with some experience, you have access to practically the same thing. Not only does this mean you can draw on everyone's collective experiences, but you can also benefit from their encouragement. In a lesson, you might not be competing, but that doesn't mean you and your fellow students can't challenge each other. Your instructor may even encourage this, setting up individual heats or races to test what you've learned. Regarding improving your ability, this may be one of the best assets. You can put what you've learned into practice, see how it improves your swimming, and work harder to create the results you want.

Consistency in lessons equals better results

You're familiar with the phrase "practice makes perfect," and nowhere is that more true than when you're taking swim lessons. Working with a trainer yields the best results when you can spend time performing the same activities repeatedly. Depending on the type of class you sign up for, you may be able to look forward to lessons several times a week throughout a multi-week unit. In other words, you'll probably be spending a lot of time in the pool if your schedule permits. What this translates to is more practice, more time spent learning how each stroke should feel, and more opportunities to improve. Try keeping a diary about your performance when you first start. Track your changes over time. The consistent nature of the workout and instruction you'll receive will soon start to pay dividends. The repetitive nature of lessons also allows the instructor time to learn about where you need improvement the most. That, in turn, means that you'll receive more targeted advice you can then put into practice.

Learn valuable advice for fitness outside the pool

Swimming successfully and improving your technique isn't just about practice in the pool, although it is a big part. Throughout your lessons, you can hopefully look to receive solid advice on how to train outside the water. What exercises in the gym will help you the most? What kind of endurance training will help you pull out those extra laps, or score a personal best split time during a race? Asking your instructor these questions is an excellent opportunity to learn more about how to be a better swimmer overall, not just regarding your technique. Why not ask about diet, too? "What do you eat when you train?" is a question many athletes receive, and you'll find they're often happy to talk about their habits. When you want to improve your performance, this is one way to do so; how you fuel your body is incredibly important to having the energy required to power across the pool. Overall, you can receive many different kinds of perks when you join a swim class. At the end of each session, the hope is that you'll feel more comfortable in the water and ready to tackle the challenges of your next lesson.

Is it time for you to find some local lessons?

Signing up for a swimming lesson doesn't have to mean strapping on floaties and learning the basics all over again. Instead, an advanced swim class can undoubtedly provide you with a whole host of positive benefits. When you stick to your lessons and what's in them, you can begin to see real improvements in your ability in no time. Perhaps you've always struggled with knowing when to breathe in a freestyle swim, or you aren't sure how to get the most out of your turns. A swim lesson, and an experienced instructor, will help you to cut through the uncertainty and tap into your true potential. Everyone can benefit from the advice of a more experienced swimmer. After all, it's not easy to figure out some of the most advanced techniques on your own. Look around your local community and see if there are lessons you can join. What might you be able to do with their help?