The prone, or deadman's float, is one of the first techniques learned by new swimmers. The prone float allows you to feel what it's like to have your feet leave the floor of the pool. In addition, it can help you build confidence in both yourself and in the ability of the water to hold you up. A prone float is also the starting position for every face-down swimming stroke.
Stand in chest-deep water and put on a swim mask or goggles if you are uncomfortable putting your face in the water.
Take a deep breath and hold it.
Lean over into the water slowly until your face is in the water. Place your hands on your thighs at the same time. Only your face should be in the water, do not submerge your head.
Slide your hands down your legs. As you bend over, your feet will start to leave the ground.
Ease your legs back as you place your torso in the water until they are fully extended behind you. Extend your arms ahead of you at the same time.
Relax your body and allow it to float. You may drift around some, but this is normal and shouldn't concern you.
Take a breath by turning your head to the side if you aren't wearing a snorkel. If you are wearing a snorkel, breathe calmly through it as you float.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.