Swimming lessons provide participants with a life-long skill: the ability to swim. This is an important skill that has the potential to help save lives in emergency situations. So the big question is – what is the best way to learn to swim? Private swimming lessons or group classes? Each swimmer will have different personalities, ways in which they learn, and different needs and goals. So, there is no definitive answer. Below are some things to consider when deciding whether private classes or group lessons are the way to go. As well as ideas on how to integrate different sessions into swim school programs.
Private Swimming Lessons
- One-on-one sessions are great for swimmers who need more individualised attention. Or swimmers who have trouble staying on task in group situations.
- Due to swimmers receiving more individual attention, you can create lesson plans with one swimmer in mind. This is rather than a group of swimmers. This allows instructors to be more specific in the skills they are teaching.
- You may need to schedule private lessons at the start or end of a teaching shift. For example, where regular group classes occur. You will need to consider pool space and teacher availability when you schedule private swimming lessons.
- Consider the cost to your program when you are scheduling private classes. Ensure it is economically viable from a business point of view. Also, price classes appropriately when limiting class numbers to make room for private lessons.
- Classes can be shorter (e.g. 15-20 minutes) as instructors will fit a lot into a session where they only have to work with one swimmer. This also allows for more classes (3/4 per hour) if pool space and instructors are available.
- Some swimmers may get bored without any peers to feed off and push them along in skill acquisition. Activities may need to be changed frequently to hold the swimmer’s attention. However, it is important to remember swimmers need repetition in order to master skills properly.
Group Swimming Lessons
- Swimmers can be motivated by watching their peers and trying to emulate the skills they are working on. Seeing swimming skills and drills in action is great for visual learners. Group lessons provide an environment where healthy competition between swimmers can encourage them to work harder to be better. As well as improve their swimming technique, endurance and speed.
- More swimmers can attend a learn to swim program when you schedule regular, ongoing group classes. However, this is provided there is pool space and teacher availability.
- Cost can be low for your customers in group sessions. As the expenses and costs to provide swimming lessons can be spread across all of the students in the class. This includes lane hire or pool rent, heating and chemicals costs, and instructor wages.
- Instructors may deliver more generalised lesson plans in order to cater for ranging abilities and needs within a lesson.
- Group lessons allow swimmers to learn important skills and social etiquette that they can bring into day-to-day life. This includes behaviour such as focus, following instructions, patience and acceptance.
- Swimmers can form life-long bonds and friendships with other students in their lessons. They also feel what it is like to be part of a team working towards a common goal.
Both Have Merit
Whichever way you look at it, private swimming lessons and group lessons both have merit and there is a place for them in swimming programs around the world. Regardless of the type of lesson parents chose for their children, educate them about the need for frequency and consistency in attendance in order to see improvement and get the best results when learning to swim. Decide what works best for your swim school and think about ways that they can integrate into your program to benefit swimmers in accordance with their individual needs.
How do you keep swimmers interested and engaged? Share your ideas in the comments below.