The Halliwick concept

Wherever possible we practice the Halliwick Concept of swimming with our swimmers.

The Halliwick Concept is an approach to teaching all people, in particular focussing on those with physical and/or learning difficulties, to participate in water activities, to move independently in water, and to swim. It is based on a belief in the benefits that can be derived from activities in water and sets out the fundamentals necessary for their learning. These benefits include physical, personal, recreational, social and therapeutic aspects. The Concept has influenced hydrotherapy techniques and has been developed into specific therapeutic exercises.

Where we are not able to follow each of the Ten points in order, we use of a combination of the points to teach our swimmers to swim.

Ten-point Programme

The Ten-Point Programme provides the basis for practical work by bringing together the fundamentals of the Halliwick Concept in an easy to follow and logical structure. Through the Ten Points we can see a process of development through mental adjustment, balance control and movement which leads to personal independence in the water.

The Ten points are

1. Mental Adjustment – being able to respond appropriately to a different environment, situation or task. The learning of breath control is an important aspect of this work.

2. Disengagement - an ongoing process throughout the learning by which the swimmer becomes physically and mentally independent.

3. Transversal Rotation Control - the ability to control any rotation made about a fronto-transversal axis.

4. Sagittal Rotation Control - the ability to control any rotation made about a sagittotransversal (anterior/posterior) axis.

5. Longitudinal Rotation Control - the ability to control any rotation made about a sagitto-frontal (longitudinal) axis.

6. Combined Rotation Control - the ability to control any combination of rotations.

7. Upthrust - trusting the water will support you. Sometimes called ‘mental inversion’ (because the swimmer must invert their thinking and realise they will float and not sink).

8. Balance in stillness - floating still and relaxed in the water. This is dependent on both mental and physical balance control. When balanced, other activities can be performed more easily.

9. Turbulent Gliding - a floating swimmer is moved through the water by an instructor without any physical contact between them. The swimmer has to control unwanted rotations but makes no propulsive movements.

10. Simple Progression and Basic Swimming Stroke - the development from simple propulsive movements made by the swimmer to a stroke which may be individual to each swimmer.

(The above article has been taken from material previously published by Halliwick AST and the International Halliwick Association).