Batray can be a difficult level for some kids to conquer. It’s the floating. It’s the floating. It’s the floating. It is as much a mental game as a physical skill. First let’s examine the physics of floating.
The fact is – fat floats. This does not mean that if your child is a good floater she is overweight, just that proportionally she has enough fat on her body to help hold up her denser muscle and bone. Statistically speaking, the girls have it all over the boys on this one. Sure, there are some skinny-minnies that struggle with floating (our assistant manager recalls teaching a six year old girl with a six pack to float with no small difficulty), but they are in the minority. What this means for the slim-jims and skinny-minnies is that their body position must be perfect to maintain a back float. Anybody can learn to float, but the extremely slender child does not have any leeway on form.
If only adjusting body position was all it took! Walk out on the pool deck during any given lesson and you will hear instructors shouting themselves hoarse with cries of “Tummy UP!” and “Chin Back!” Children that, by rights, ought to bob like corks in the water are sinking like diving rings. This is because floating requires mental discipline as well as physical alignment. Most kids dislike the feeling of water in their ears. Then there is that business of laying on their backs like capsized turtles – an inherently vulnerable position sure to make any child feel uncomfortable and awkward. Top it off with a heaping helping of “Relax – and DON’T MOVE!” Stillness is not something that comes naturally to most kids.
So how does anyone learn to float? Practice! Most importantly, each child needs to develop the confidence to trust his/her ability to stay above the water. Very much a chicken/egg conundrum, but with practice, every child can get there.