Swimming Ideas Podast

A closer look at swimming lessons, swim team practices, swimming games, and why coaches and swimmers do the things they do.
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Swimming Ideas Podast





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Now displaying: 2018
Jul 9, 2018



This is the most essential product you can buy. I'm talking about sun tan lotion. Sun block. We use this gallon jug. You can use this too. I suggest making it mandatory for all swim instructors to wear the lotion before they start their first lesson. When they're done teaching each class, they should get out of the pool, talk to parents, dry off, and lube up with sun tan lotion again. This is the number one best thing you can do (aside from not going outside) to protect your exposed skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Put your sun tan lotion on often. Recommended reapply rate is once every hour if you're in the water. To creatively make sure your staff is wearing sunscreen, bake it into your routines and culture. Put the sunscreen on together before your first lesson after your daily meeting / debrief. Offer 45 minute swim lessons starting on the hour. After each class have a 15 minute break, and at the :55 get together for a group sun screen circle making sure to get everyone else's shoulders and back. Use the pump lotion or the spray-on. Make sure you're dry so it stays connected to the skin.

Rash Guard

You can check these out,, but I recommend going to swim outlet for something more like these: Wear them to cover more skin, but still provide mobility and comfort. They are effective because the fabric will block the skin. Make these optional for your staff and cover the cost if they're used. i don't have a good recommendation to get teenagers to wear these, but if you do please comment! Maybe an end of the year bonus if you buy one and use it daily?


wow. We had these type of hats available to us when I taught swim lessons, but very few people wore them. They looked weird, and only the most confident, most bold were willing to wear them. At the time that was not me. You can wear these hats to protect your face and head from the damaging effects of the sun while you're teaching swimming lessons. Pair this with good sunglasses and you have total protection for your eyes and head.

Change lesson times.

The worst time to be under the sun uncovered is between 10-4pm. The absolute worst between 11-2pm. Change your swim lessons to be earlier in the morning done at 11, and later in the evening starting at 4pm. That way your staff misses out on the worst of the sun. Your swimmers, often children, will benefit too from the decreased intensity of the sun. it might be a little colder, it might be a little more cloudy or uncomfortable, but you'll be protected and you'll be doing right by your teenage staff that, like me, will resist wearing sun screen.  

Jun 24, 2018

Brief guide on Autism from American Red Cross Swimming Water Saftey book

Jun 11, 2018

No. Most parents don't care what your swim program system is. They care about three things:


1) Will their child learn how to swim?

2) Does it fit into their schedule?

3) Is it within their budget?


They're more worried about making the most out of their time and effort to bring their kid to swim lessons. They want progress, they want success, but they don't really care how you order your level structure. It isn't important to them. 

That isn't to say you shouldn't have a structure or a plan, but you don't need to drop thousands of dollars licensing a swim program to be successful. 

Jun 4, 2018



Dr. Alan Goldberg,

Getting parents to work with, not against you.


Blog post about day 1 handout.

Day 2 handouts:


Be proactive. How to teach your parents on your swim team. Learn how to interact with your swim lesson parents in a healthy way.

Be proactive, take the first step, and be bold with giving information.

May 21, 2018

Recap from Dr. Alan Goldberg and Josh Davis. 

May 14, 2018

Ok. The first thing is to get in the water.


The second thing to do is to touch the bottom with your hand.


Easy? Easy peezy?


Now we're going to swim front crawl or freestyle with side breathing from here to there. (one length).


Well done. Can you touch the bottom, here?


Where did you learn how to swim?


Ok. Now we're going to do back stroke all the way back. When you get to the other end I'll go like this it means stop. Ready? Okay go.


Well done. Do you know how to do breaststroke kick? (demo) ok. Do whatever you know to me (1/3 of the way) stop when you get to me.


Ok. Turn around, now we're going to do butterfly kick. Stand with your hands at your side, and put your face in the water and wiggle like a dolphin.


Well done, hop out, lets get out of the water, we're all done. You did very well. Let's go talk to your parents.

May 7, 2018

i'll be interviewing a person about how to teach swimming lessons to autistic kids. She is an expert in adaptive physical education for special needs children and will be an excellent resource. 

I'm hoping to connect with Nitro tash to get her take on her new swim lesson format with her pool in Perth, Australia.

Look for updates to and a new resource to take beginners from no program to a thriving successful one including. I understand that a lot of the material assumes an intimate knowledge of swimming lessons that not everyone has. I hope to address this in the future.

Routine works. It does. i struggled with giving my swimmers too much freedom in their swim practices and it lead to chaos. now, falling back on the tested and true routine and structure we've had massive success and improvement. 

Think of your routine as your framework. It is the brick wall of your instruction. The format (each brick in its place) is the same, but the choice of bricks change. Like a wall, not all bricks are identical and you can sprinkle your flavor of skill, drill, and activity to match the pace and goal for the cycle, but throughout your following the same structure and framework so your pieces all align. 

Apr 30, 2018

Correct your teachers that aren't performing like they should!


Give initial feedback.

Restrain anger and disappointment.

Immediate debrief and followup.

Frame things in the future. next time do this.


Deal with it in private.

Apr 23, 2018

Lots of talk about breath; on land, in the water, in small groups, and over short distances.  


Most effective initially with short distances, and constant discussion about it. Some level of attenuation.  


Lean what we do in dryland, and in our small groups to progressively move through breathing on land to maintaining the breath in the water. 


Struggle how to keep it relevant and enforce it: how to make it habit? 


How to tell if doing it? Enforcement.  


Variations on Standard Techniques for better swimming: 


SIP 069: Foundational Breathing Method for swimming: 


Apr 16, 2018

Get ready to experience the next supplemental guide for better swim lessons!

We've been refining the general format of our swim lessons. Ever forward, and ever working on refinement we've been teaching lessons using this new take on an old favorite.


For a long time we've incorporated the "learn something, learn something, play a game format." you can see it in the lesson plans that you can buy on the website.


The last two weeks I distributed the first version of the General lesson plan guide for Level 2 and Level 3.


I've  been writing these lesson plans out for the last year on white boards for my veteran staff that might not want to think too hard at lessons and are more comfortable being told what to do. They might know the way to do it, and how to give feedback, but lack the experience and confidence to come up with a solid progression of skills to get the best results.


These lesson plans accomplish that. Here is an example of level 3 general guide.



Look a the picture. It gives instructors an easy visual cue how to set up their lanes and run their lessons.


The left side is the meat and potatoes. It has a range of activities drawing from the most important and should serve as a building block to iterate off of.


The Challenges are likewise level specific, but should serves as a general guide for lessons. You can read off the script, or make small changes to create you own personal challenges specific to your group and your pool.


The bottom has the level criteria. When in doubt, make it a quick reference for the teacher so they know what they should be working towards.


Finally in the middle are the specific language the instructor should use for that level. Take note this isn't the scripts for glides and backfloat, but more careful specific words to use in order to get the best results quickly.


"Start immediately in SL" means that you don't push off in 11, or like a wild person head first then do the streamline. It is deliberately crafted words to indicate that while the child is pushing off the wall it should be in streamline with no space between wall and water without it.


The instructor tips aim at general reminders for teachers of that level. It is like having the manager give those gentle reminders on the paper; like a whisper in the ear.


Apr 9, 2018

Get the basics for your new swim program. If you're already established, take these ideas and see if you're already doing them.


Question from John from the UK. He asked me very generally what he could do to get started. He had bought the swimming ideas lesson plans which you can get here: 


But he was uncertain in how to start teaching swimming lessons. It made me think about what the key things someone would need to begin. Like what if you'd never taught swim lessons before!  


I've always assumed that someone that was going to start teaching their own program had done what I did: work at their local pool as a teenager and over time and apprenticeship learn how to be a good teacher.  Most of the content on is driving at how to run your swim lessons as either a private instructor who wants to hire some new staff, or as an Aquatic Professional that knows how to teach already and is looking to manage a large staff  like a park district.  


I intitially wanted to direct john to the SLI Swim Instructor Training workbook; on Amazon. It is awesome. It takes you through the 15 essential swim skills which we build off of for our lesson plans. But it isn't comprehensive for a beginner. I think it needs to be.  


I'm working on that. 


Then I figured that there was a ton of content in the blog section of that he could read, but it was more designed around people that already know swimming; it is guides to help those already established.  


There are plenty of articles under the Swim Lesson Guide category: 


More in the Lesson plans: 


And the most distilled in the resources: 


But that wasn't enough. I'm working on a walkthrough for total beginners to get you moving on your swim lessons. This episode is for the starter who has not taught swim lessons before, and has nto been in a large program but knows how to swim. 


Essentials to teaching swim lessons. 


Before you start: 


  • Pool or water to teach out of 
  • Liability insurance 
  • Bank account 
  • Website with a way to register or a phone number dedicated and scheduling software 
  • When you're available. Define days and times and stick to them. Do not spread yourself thin; if they want lessons they'll work around your schedule. Clear boundaries. 
  • Lesson duration 
  • Lesson type: group vs private 
  • Scheduling by week, day, session 
  • Level structure or progression. 
    • Intimate understanding of where you're going and how you're going to get there. 
  • Toys and props 
  • Make up lesson policy? 
  • Rain policy 
  • Cancellation policy 


During lessons: 

  • What about parents? 
  • What language will you use to teach? Scripts 
  • Skill focus 
  • Time and place for games? 
  • Misbehaving? Consequences? 
  • Refund policy 
  • Trial time?  
  • Parking 
  • Showering  
  • Towels 
  • Swim suit requirements 
Apr 2, 2018

Dominic Latella from stops by to talk about his online course about breathing and to follow up on his sensational comments.

We talk about a lot of different things regarding swimming.

Dominic lets us know some details about his most recent training trip to the Bahamas, and who makes the best eggs in his family. I believe that my eggs are awesome in my house. :)


I get a chance to ask Dominic to explain some of the parts of the Foundational Breathing Method for swimming. I've gone through this course, I've put it into practice, we use it in our developmental swim program and you can too.


Mar 23, 2018

Take a look with me at the 3 year old class I've been teaching for the last 6 weeks. Look at the games we play and how I've been successful getting them in the water when half the class was crying and terrified the first few lessons.

Yes! It is okay to play games with 3 year olds, and I would even say that you should be playing mostly games and singing songs with your youngest participants. When they're comfortable enough to trust you with going underwater, smiling, and having more fun than the wide eyed scared hesitation you can start layering in front glides, back glides, and other horizontal progress skills.


This is an overview of the last six weeks of swim lessons I've taught with a group of 3 year olds and the transition we've seen from crying on the side of the pool crawling into their parent's arms, to smiling and laughing as an active participant in the water.


*I recorded this episode on Friday, and on Saturday before posting taught the last class. Only one of the initial crying kids cried again this final lesson, but a few minutes later she was smiling and laughing in the water with the rest of the kids playing games and doing front and back glides with ease.


Of note, the girl got splashed by an overzealous participant and cried. I wiped her face with her, told her she was okay, had the girl apologize to her, and then when she persisted, I said in a stern voice, "Sally, no more crying. You're fine." She stopped immediately. I was so shocked I couldn't believe it worked! Sometimes the youngest participants need a firm reminder that their reaction is over and it is time to move on.


Games we play:


Floating Toy and Sinking Toy:

Get 1 of each, and sit on the side of the pool. Put your feet on the floating toy and hold it underwater.


Put your sinking toy on top of your floating toy. Use kicks to push it away from you without letting the sinking toy fall off.


Buckethead, Bucketshoulder:

My favorite game obviously. Let them choose what to do you to, Bucket shoulder, or bucket head. They only rule is they have to say, "bucketshoulder" or "buckethead" when pouring the water on you.


You then give them the choice which one they want, BucketShoulder or bucket head. Then you do it to them. If they choose head, start with having them look up and pouring water on the back of their head.


Bake a Cake:


Use the hula hoops and make a cake or a pizza. Make sure you really sell this game as they'll love it and get into it with you. This is another round of opportunities to go underwater at their comfort level.


Throw a toy and get it:


We send our floating toys on a journey with kicks or splashes and then do front glides to go get them.




"Do you want to go underwater?" Yes or No, and then follow through. Have them hold your hands and then you can control the depth they go when you do the jumps.



Treasure Hunt:


We piled all the toys on the kickboards and then had a "storm" and splashes to knock some off then they got them. Awesome game.


Want a full game list? Check them out here:


What do you do with your 3 year old classes? Comment below or on social media.



Mar 19, 2018

Finding deliberate practice in your swim lessons and on swim team. Learn how to integrate it into your program and make it the foundation for all instruction.


Finding deliberate practice in swim lessons and on developmental swim teams.


What is it:


James Clear:


Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.


From <>


In swim lessons:


  • Rotation Method
  • Activity, activity, game (resetting interest and play vs. thoughtful time)
  • High volume, constant feedback; always be talking
  • Fun and effective games; approaching practice sideways
    • Games that have a challenge require thought to accomplish task, may be linked to swimming skill, but fun will trick them into trying harder.
  • Standard language
  • Trust
  • Few skills, but deep skills
    • Glides / streamline
    • Crawl, but side breathing


Swim team:

  • 3 x SL + something
  • Repetition
  • Focus keys: 3 things for sl, 3 for position 11, 3 for better swimming; goals.
  • Excellence with feedback
  • Looking for thumbs ups.
  • Challenges beyond skill demonstration; question of the day -> engagement
  • Strive for perfection
Mar 12, 2018


Daily dryland program for the first two groups / considering integrating it into swim lessons as a supplemental class/course.
10-15 minutes
Draws heavily on SIP 064: jeff Grace games, and SIP 061 and Foundations of breathing
General routine
Our "flow"
Lay down on your belly, hands underneath your shoulders
Push up into plank 3x
Chaturanga / Super challenge mode
Down dog
Walk into Lazy puppit or forward fold,
Position 11
1 free
1 free
11, Y, Eat, 11
Game / activity

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Mar 4, 2018

Update for 2018! Wow. We have a lot of new material and action ready for you in the next year.