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.
Update for 2018! Wow. We have a lot of new material and action ready for you in the next year.
Karis Mount grew up in Minnesota, graduated high school in North Dakota, and is currently in school for Supervisory Management. She swam all 4 years of her high school seasons and was on varsity. She continues to swim at alumni meets. Karis taught swim lessons and was a Head Lifeguard at her local YMCA where she was involved in adaptive lessons and helped coach 5-9 year olds. One day she would like to run her own swim school.
As you listen to Karis talk you'll pick up on her enthusiasm and excitement about swimming. She has some clear ideas on what she liked both as a swimmer (that the coaches did) and mentions three really important points. I like how Kari's gets in the water and is visual with everything. She demonstrate and shows before asking her swimmers to do something.
The One Thing
We talk about how one of the best things you can do as a swim instructor or a swim coach is to focus your feedback on the "one" thing. This is perhaps one of the best pieces of advice to glean from our conversation. Avoid 'over-coaching' your swimmers at swim meets. We talk about how behind the blocks some coaches can go overboard with telling the swimmer to do 10 different things in order to have a good swim. Remember that swim meets are an expression of habit with adrenaline and anxiety about performance. Instead of overwhelming your swimmer with too many things to think about pick the one single thing that will get you them the best results. It will be different for everyone; know your audience! You can see a more detailed look at this concept on this blog post: https://swimminglessonsideas.com/2016/09/26/swimming-lesson-guide-giving-feedback/
In Karis' words: "Giving a swimmer too much information can overwhelm their brain. A good coach will encourage and help, not distract or make things more complicated and difficult.
Karis shares some brilliant ideas:
Her swim team used the Swimmer of the Week concept, and had a special unique kick board that only the Swimmer of the Week would use during kick sets. The simple different item set that person apart and made them proud to be the Swimmer of the Week. I think it is wonderful because it is a constant reminder in a daily practice setting that sets someone apart and rewards the individual for exceptional behavior. Karis talks about how you don't get swimmer of the week for being the fastest or the best, but maybe one week you really struggled and the next week you made changes and significantly improved; the coaches took notice and rewarded that effort. See our guide about praising effort in this blog post: https://swimminglessonsideas.com/2016/09/26/swimming-lesson-guide-giving-feedback/
"Following the Arms"
@48:00 We talk about how Karis progresses from a swimmer that can just go underwater to swimming freestyle. She follows a standard, glide off the wall, scoops, and floats with assistance. She recommends that you take your kids to the deep end in a safe manner, just to expose them to it early on. Put a noodle on them and expose them to the deeper water. One of my favorite tactics she shares is the "following the arms" activity.
Following the arms: Your hand is the paintbrush. Tell the swimmers to "paint the ceiling and pick your favorite color. Then paint the ceiling with your hand as you move it over your head. Dip your brush in the water as you scoop, then paint the ceiling with your hands.
And towards the end, we move into a list of really interesting swimming games.
Games discussion starts @31:00
Get a 4" or 5" PVC pipe and hold it upright light a fireman's pole. Swimmers move hand over hand up and down the pool to get rings and toys from the bottom.
Game: Chop Chop timber Game at @34:00
Game penguin. @36 a team bonding game.
Not included in the podcast audio, but in a follow-up conversation Karis suggested the Pool Petz bean floats as interesting and fun rewards for swimmers.
You can get them here:
Why we never let participants struggle to swim
Not helpful teaching technique
Creates fear and distrust
Positive bank. What hurts you doesn't make you stronger, just pulls away from your positive bank 🏦
Encouragement and support produces healthy swimming longer term. Be kind and supportive to teach. Fear is worse than respect and love.
We can get results by being harsh instructors but it is not effective teaching techniques, it creates bad emotional associations with swimming. It creates negative feelings with water.
Best option is challenging support. Give clear commands and always lift or be there as a safety of needed. Never walking away or letting a swimmer struggle.
How much do you pay your private swim lesson instructors
How to you register for private lessons?
How much do you charge for lessons? Does it determine your PL pay rate?
Resources for private lessons