Why can't I do "push and glide"? It looks so easy...............

Do you have any tips on "push and glide". My friend and I (both in our 50's) just can't get the hang of it at all. We have both been taking weekly swimming lessons for a year now and although we can both float very comfortably on our front, we are very nervous about pushing & gliding and also stretching out to do a front float. It looks so easy, so what is holding us back, is it fear? The only way I can do a front float is to stretch out and pull my legs up very quickly behind me!


Many thanks for your help, or if you could recommend any books/DVDS?

Yours sincerely,


Ms. Elizabeth Finn

Dear Elizabeth,
Hope you don’t mind me calling you that, push and glides are very useful when teaching people to swim or teaching yourself. Nerves can have the better of you when trying or attempting something new, but my advice to you would be is to break it down into stages rather than trying to tackle the whole skill in one go. You say you’ve been having lessons for a year I assume you can swim at least a little maybe breastroke. You have heard of woggles don’t worry if you haven’t there on my page about equipment in more detail. Try using a woggle under your arms to begin with and hold your arms out in front of you then try your push and glide. If you still feel nervous try holding a float as well until you can do it without hand a float, also try with just hand float as well.

Sometimes when people are nervous about push and glides it the thought of not being able to put their feet down afterwards. This is simple just pull your arms down to hips, palms facing down, bend your knees at same time, you will then pivot around and your legs will be under you then so simply straighten your legs and stand up.

Have you heard of a swim belt? They are simple pieces of foam on a string which can be tied around your waist which supports you in the middle rather than the top half of your body. This is also on my page about swimming equipment. Try doing a push and glide with one of these and see how you get on.
If you feel you need minimal support then if you have a swim belt to hand take off two of the floats from it and hold one in each hand, and try doing a push and glide with this you’ll be surprised how much it helps I have used it for adult I teach in my classes.

Also if you are not afraid to put your head in the water with goggles on then the simple answer is to do a push and glide with your head in the water looking at the floor, this will promote good body position and balance, simply push of the side hard and put head in with your arms out in front of you and glide until you come to a stop, then as I said before palms facing down to bottom of pool pull arms which should be straight towards your hips bend your knees until your legs are vertical then stand.

My advice would be is if you are confident enough to put your head in then do it that way, if you can’t put your head in practice and get some goggles until you can, when you do push and glides the way I explained, the front float will be much easier as well because you are in a good body position.

The other question you asked me about was books etc to learn push and glides, I do have an eBook which is also available on my site, it does include push and glides from basic to more complex in the more advanced section, for example push and glides when doing back stroke, variations etc, it is for teaching children to swim or for parents to teach their child to swim but all the practices are used to teach adults as well, but there are also other tips and swimming practices to try. Which are worth trying as you seem quite determined to learn which is very good and encouraging. All you need to do is go onto my site www.swimming-techniques-learn.com and click onto the eBook nav bar, then click to buy book, you can pay through paypal then you will be sent a link to click onto, which will down load the book onto your computer, I wrote it myself took 2 years and I’m very proud of it. If you find that afterwards it is not suitable then I will happy refund your money without any problems.

And finally, thank you for your question and I really hope I have answered it in as much detail you would have hopped, if you are still struggling then please ask again with as much detail you can so I can help. I would also like to say that I am very interested how you get on with my advice so if you can please contact me in the same way again and tell everyone how you got on because other people can learn from your experiences and you may help someone else to achieve the perfect push and glide who is having the same problem,

Thanks for your question hope I’ve been some assistance, Dale

Comments for Why can't I do "push and glide"? It looks so easy...............

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Nov 23, 2016
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why can't I do "push and glide"
by: Frances

I'm so glad it's not just me. I know logically that I'm in the shallow end, so I can stand up any time, I know the water will support me, I can use the float with one hand, I can kick reasonably well, but when it comes to actually letting go, I lunge for the edge of the pool as if I'm going to drown!

I think the fear came from my mother, who was thrown in the pool as a child, and she told me the story quite a few times. I must have really taken it in, because logic goes out the window when push comes to shove - literally.

I get a bit worried by some comments about some would-be swimmers still not able to push and glide two years down the line, I've only had eight weeks of lessons!




Hi Frances thanks for the comments, it's nice to know that you are not alone, that is what it is all about sharing comments and ideas with each other and in your case overcoming fear...8 weeks of lessons isn’t many you will be surprised how time will improve your confidence...keep up the good work, if you have any questions then you know where to find me

Dale :)

Nov 04, 2014
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push and glide issues
by: Graeme

Hi guys,

I am a swimming instructor in Harlow and have come across this issue many times with adults having difficulties getting to that all important body position with the push and glide and found that utilising some lessons using different eye protection such as goggles and diving masks has helped out considerably.
Adult lessons are a completely different kettle of fish to children as there are memories and experiences that can hinder confidence so I like to change it about a bit and have even added snorkelling to a lesson to gain confidence in being suspended without the need to stand quickly which can be one of the issues due to reduced flexibility. Try some of these pieces of equipment if your instructor is qualified and happy to help as it has worked a treat with some of my guys. Also remember for a normal push and glide its always face in first, sink a little, feet on the wall and push. This will stop the big wake of water splashing up the nose and provide a smooth glide.
Anymore help and I'm on email gmckie@cokecce.com.

Aug 22, 2014
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Push and Glide
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the information. My feet are rooted to the spot every time I try to push and glide. I have no problems putting my head under water and staying there but trying to push and glide I feel ill. In theory I know the water supports you but when it comes to putting it into practice everything goes out of the window. I have one swimming lesson per week and a friend comes with me to the baths during the week as well. I can swim with the float in one hand but even that now seems to have gone out of the window and I am a nervous wreck. Can you help?


























Jul 13, 2014
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Still afraid of letting go and glide
by: Purita

Not easy to let go n glide, I am 56 and now learning my instructor is awesome, only taking 4 classes but I feel I am holding on to the tramatic experience I had at the age of 6. Any advise will be appreciated.

Jul 29, 2012
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Fear of push and glide
by: Movie

Some useful advice. I also have a totally irrational fear of doing this. Started learning to swim two and a half years ago when I was 60 yrs old. Fears are very deep seated at this age. But I continue to try to improve. I can do a reasonable breast stroke and a bit of poor front crawl now. I will overcome the push and glide fear eventually!!


Thanks for the comments, it is'nt easy getting over fear of water. Keep on trying you will do it one day, if you want to ask any questions pease do.....

Dale :)

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