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Master the Art of Swimming: Raising Your Performance with the Alexander Technique [Paperback]

Steven Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Master the Art of Swimming Master the Art of Swimming 4.1 out of 5 stars (11)
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Book Description

27 July 2006
Swimming improves your flexibility, tones your body and can help to boost your self-esteem and produce a sense of well-being. It is the nation's most popular sporting activity with 11.9 million people swimming regularly. However, most people don't know how to swim properly. This book is based on a 35-year voyage of discovery into the art of swimming. Steven Shaw's method takes the Alexander Technique into the swimming pool - focusing on releasing tension from the head, neck and back. Steven has evolved a unique way of breaking down strokes into a series of therapeutic movements, which can be practised individually or with a partner, in a pool or on dry land. These provide the building blocks, which combine to make it possible for anyone to recraft their own strokes in a way that promote good body use and avoid injuries. Instead of performing physical actions in an automatic way, you begin to learn body awareness. This way of swimming not only feels freer and more open, it is graceful and has a sense of flow, often absent from the way many people swim. Shaw looks at the most popular strokes - front crawl, back stroke, breast stroke and butterfly - focusing on maximum efficiency and minimum strain.

Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Collins & Brown (27 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843403498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843403494
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 326,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Steven Shaw learned to swim at an early age and soon became a competitive swimmer. In 1990 he started the three-year Alexander Technique teacher training course and during this time he explored his relationship with the water which has led to his new and very successful teaching approach: The Shaw method. This method has had huge acclaim over the past 10 years and Steven holds workshops and courses all over the world. He lives in North London.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works! 30 Jun 2008
By Fiddler
After several years of unpleasant struggle to learn to learn front crawl as an adult, this book has brought me the success that I have been looking for and much more besides.

I work as a professional in ski teaching in the mountains in France and so I am very aware of many aspects of learning and teaching physical activity. 20 years in full time teaching has demonstrated to me that about 90% taught in any subject is guaranteed to be wrong information and that if a person is struggling and suffering then the fault is nearly always in the approach taken in either the learning or the coaching.

Swimming seems to be the same as in skiing in that instinctive movements cause a great deal of trouble and only learned movements work properly. Shaw bases his approach on this principle by directly relating it to Alexander Technique - which is about awareness of the body.

Swimming is also similar to skiing in that much is normally left down to natural selection. Awareness and understanding in both cases can circumvent this issue and bring amazing results with both adults and children - who would otherwise be sidelined. I was personally in the process of being sidelined as a swimmer and no friend or coach could really get me close to where I wanted to be. Shaw's book did the trick 100%. Suddenly I'm really enjoying my swimming. A kilometre of crawl isn't long enough or tiring when before I started the book 100m was my comfort zone limit.

It's a whole new universe of excellent experiences being just given to you. I was already a competent swimmer in general and a qualified open water diver - but was always reduced to zero by the crawl. I can also see now how incredibly inefficient most of the other swimmers are around me. How they strain their necks and their shoulders.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Tom Ang
To criticise a book because it's no substitute for a session with the author is about as helpful as rating the Bible account of the Sermon on the Mount two stars because it's not as good as having been there to hear it. Shaw's book has been a great help to me. Teaching muscles the right kind of movement on land before entering water makes sense. And breaking down the strokes - all the main styles, by the way - into separte steps is immeasurably better than being thrown in the deep end. The book has helped me improve my swimming, and without any other training. What else can you ask of it? Well, it falls short of five stars for me because some of the instruction is confusing and writing is ploddy in parts. I hope it returns to print soon. I've been recommending it to friends. Come on, publisher!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 13 Mar 2014
By Louilly
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I bought this book for my Mum who, in her seventies, has decided to train to swim a mile. This book was recommended to her by a swimming teacher and has really helped her improve her technique.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The book's good ... the real thing is better 7 Feb 2009
By Nick
Steven Shaw is an inspiring swimming teacher, who applies the Alexander Technique to his methods. I bought the book after a one-day workshop on the crawl with Steven, which was really good. The book's useful for reinforcing some of the ideas, but it's no substitute for proper, real, in the water tuition. Trying to understand the different elements and stages of a swimming stroke is very, very difficult from a book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swim well with perfection 4 July 2007
By Jose Luis Henriques - Published on
In my opinion, I rate this book with 5 stars. I have been swimming since childhood and went to a professional swimming school but have never come across a good swimming method like the "Shaw method" Alexander Technique. The book is very well illustrated and explains step by step how the swim without strain in freedom. With a good technique comes great speed without injury. This book has all you need to swim well in safety and perfection. I myself have tried all these methods and techniques and have improved my swimming. I gain more confidence in water taking out benefits from precious time. This book taught me to appreciate swimming in a graceful way with better performance. I let go and went with the flow instead of pushing myself. For example, I learnt to swim butterfly the "Shaw method" believe me I swim the technique with less strain limiting the energy expended on non propulsive movements. Try it yourself, I feel more confidant in water with these methods in all my stroke :-)
Louis Henriques.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Specialty Book, For Adult Audience 10 Aug 2010
By Red Sun - Published on
Some people would give it a rating of 5, some rating of 1. Depends on who the reader is. For a general audience or younger swimmers, this book is slow and hard to follow. But for mature readers, this book helps them to continue enjoy swimming.

So the title is a bit misleading. The focus is more on the art of swimming (flow, form, etc), instead of competitive swimming.
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for advanced swimmers 21 July 2006
By W. Ciaccia - Published on
Verified Purchase
1-2 stars because, while I have to admit I do not practice the Alexander Technique, I thought I would examine this book to see how it may help my strokes. Well, the printing is wonderful and it is a well produced book, but it really seemed less geared toward advanced/competitive swimmers than I expected. There was alot of basic stroke breakdown, which is good for intermediate swimmers but not for advanced swimmers (or maybe just me?) who have had coaching. I personally prefer the book Swimming Fastest for technique--it is the bible. I am continually disappointed by the clarity of swim books (mainly because nothing takes the place of good instruction--you can't see yourself swim!), but Swimming Fastest still is my favorite for guidance and I continually reference it. If you are intermediate and looking for stroke improvement, this could be good for hints and has clear photography (it does excel at this). It did illustrate some things I do overlook! Bottom line was I returned it, unfortunately.
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