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Master the Art of Swimming Paperback – 1 Jun 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Collins & Brown; 1 edition (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843405423
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843405429
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.8 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Steven Shaw is a teacher of the Alexander Technique and a former competitive swimmer. Over the past twenty years he has developed a revolutionary approach to swimming, The Shaw Method, which has helped thousands of people to find freedom in the water. Steven offers private lessons, group workshops and residential courses throughout the UK and abroad. Shaw's method is rapidly spreading throughout the world and is currently taught in over 10 countries.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book...well written, with great photographs and easy directions. It teaches you that swimming need not be a struggle, that it is really all about being at one with the water around you. The book is easy to dip into and as calm and peacefully designed as the swimming ethos it promotes! Highly recommended to anybody considering learning to swim from scratch or - perhaps even more importantly - for those who think they can swim already but know deep-down that they need to streamline their style and change their attitude.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
I've been dipping in and out of this book between swimming sessions. It's nicely formatted into separate, detailed sections for each stroke with clear, good quality photos. Some of the advice is a little unconventional, as it's emphasis is on using the Alexander Technique whilst swimming so as not to strain the neck and joints. Some of these tweaks and changes have definitely helped me to improve my stroke (especially front crawl, as that was always my weak spot). Others I'm struggling to incorporate into my swimming routine - old habits die hard. I don't think this is book is for the experienced/sports swimmer - it definitely emphasises Alexander Technique over sports/speed techniques. But, if like me, you like to swim as part of your exercise routine, and you'd like to improve your stroke and become more confident in the water, then I would definitely recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
If you're looking to improve on your basic swimming then this isn't probably the right book for you. It is pretty basic about techniques and does cover a lot of ground, but for those who are technically minded / wanting detail or really want to push themselves further then you will need something else. I would simply recommend this book to anyone wanting to, or currently only just learning to swim any of the basic strokes.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read this book and will try out the different drills. I am trying to learn front crawl at the moment, and bought the book after seeing a video by Ian Cross (a student of Shaw's) on YouTube. It explains the drills and the techniques it tries to teach very well, and has plenty of photos. It is a book for people who want to improve their health (including posture) through swimming. My only disappointment was that it could do with an accompanying DVD or web site or app to augment the still photos.
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Format: Paperback
As a 61 year-old with back problems who had never been able to swim convincingly or with much enjoyment, I started going to Adult Improver courses at our local pool, thinking that swimming would be good form of non load-bearing exercise. After a year or so I found that whilst my swimming had undoubtedly improved, it was by no means fluent and I found some of the front and back crawl arm action was producing a lot of shoulder and upper back pains, which was not what I needed at all! It occurred to me that there might be a different approach which used the body more kindly. After a little searching on the web I came across the Shaw Method which emphasizes efficiency and good use of the body over speed, and in 2011 I bought this book. I tried to apply what I read to my swimming and I can honestly say it has been transformative for me and I can now do a nice easy back crawl and front crawl without any strains: it is a much more leisurely stroke which makes full use of the energy-conserving glide, and I find I can do a length using 30% fewer strokes than in the conventional way, but without any loss of time. And for those who think the Shaw Method is slow, try watching Sun Yang, whose front crawl style looks to be very close to Shaw Method, in which the power stroke from the forward arm doesn't start until the recovering arm enters the water. I am now attempting to learn Shaw butterfly, something I would previously have thought was inconceivable for a man of my age.

It certainly has worked for me so I can thoroughly recommend this book both to beginners and those like me who have always struggled and thought they would never be able to swim properly, and also to experienced swimmers who are beginning to find their conventional strokes uncomfortable or tiring. The book is clearly written and very thoroughly illustrated with photos. It may also be worth considering Shaw's dvds from his website [...] You will find many useful sample clips from these on Youtube
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