When teaching anyone to swim, a vey common reaction is for the student to want to bring their knees close into their chest. This has baffled many teachers over the years because when swimming, we usually want the body to be long and the torso to be extended. Once we understand why the child/student does this without us asking them to, we can work on a solution. The simple answer is that curling into a ball is something that that body does after thousands of years of evolution when it is threatened, uncomfortable or fearful because it feels safe. It is our bodies instinctive way of saying ‘I am not comfortable in this situation, therefor i am going to protect my vital organs’. So, when you are teaching someone who is doing this, you need to work on breath control and lots of repetition of floating among other techniques to get them more comfortable. Relaxation is the key to learning, and the fatal position tells a teacher that this has not been obtained yet. ben