Learning to float can be a daunting tasks for many novice swimmers. If you are just starting out or tried it out before and got discouraged because you couldn't get passed the floating stage, perhaps the following piece of advice will help you to get over the initial learning curve.
Keeping your arms at the surface or out of the water causes
your butt and legs to sink
Whatever the reason may be, whether you are afraid of falling due to the weightlessness feeling in the water or you are afraid of hitting your head on the bottom of the pool or just the thought of tipping over to your back scares you, without learning to float you cannot continue and enjoy swimming. Learning to float is an absolute necessity in a good learn to swim program, so do not try to skip this step. The more time you spend on learning to float and the better you will get at this will determine your next progress.
From my previous head and body position posts, you already know that your eyes need to be pointing towards the bottom of the pool and you need to stretch your body into a nice straight line at the surface of the water. However, as simple as this sounds, it is still very difficult for many to get to the relaxed long position. So let me give you a few tips which will ease your transition from standing up to floating, thus setting you up for success.
1) Eliminate any unnecessary movement
How you start your exercise determines in many cases how well you can do the exercise, so let's focus on what to do with your body before you actually get into the floating position. The
main point here is that you need to be flush with the water and ease yourself into the float instead of starting your float from high up and falling into it. Imagine the following, take a tennis ball and drop it into the swimming pool while standing on a chair on the side of the pool. Chances are the tennis ball, driven by gravity, will hit the water and get submerged and then pop back up to surface and then again gets submerged a little less and pop back up to surface. The tennis ball will do this few times until it reaches a calm floating state. Now, instead of dropping the ball from the standing on a chair position, bend down to the pool's edge and nicely place the tennis ball onto the water. Because you were gentle, there is no bopping in and out of the water, the tennis ball just nicely floats without any distractions. Similar concept applies to anything you do in swimming, especially when you are just starting out to learn to float. If you start too high, you will more than likely be sinking and coming back to surface and sinking again, so it is important to eliminate this extra movements from the start. So, next time you are practicing your floats, assuming you are in a shallower water where you can stand up, squat down (bend your knees), so your shoulders are flush with the water. I don't mean, bending forward, just get yourself lower into the water, so your distance from the surface of the water is smaller (like with the tennis ball). The only thing that is sticking out of the water is your head. Your body is still vertical, just lower in the water due to your knee bend.