Swimming instructors know that the key to learning to swim is through lots of practise and repetition. And while we can encourage our swimmers and their parents to attend multiple lessons per week, it isn’t always possible with children today participating in more activities than ever before. Swimming lessons are just one activity along with dancing, soccer, netball, tennis – you name it, that need to be scheduled into the week for children in today’s fast paced society. And we mustn’t forget scheduling the activities of any siblings. Some parents are superheros the way they manage to fit everything in. Knowing it’s not always possible for children to attend more than one lesson per week, it is so important to make that lesson count. Make sure that swimmers get the most out of their time spent in the water by keeping them moving, active and learning for the entirety of the lesson.
Here are 5 tips to help you achieve maximum practise time in your classes to ensure swimmers continue to improve.
- Plan your lessons
Lesson planning allows you to be organised with equipment and activities. Knowing what is coming up next in your classes will assist in transitioning quickly from one activity to the next with little or no downtime. Swimmers won’t be waiting around while you think about what to do next or while you retrieve equipment needed for the next activity or drill.
- Use parents or carers for assistance
Parents, carers or guardians can be your best friend in classes where swimmers still need someone in the water with them. Communicate with swimmers’ parents about what is required for each new activity in the class and move around the teaching space to oversee activities and provide feedback. This technique basically allows swimmers to receive a 1 on 1 lesson and they can be moving for the duration of the class rather than waiting on the side for their turn with the instructor. Using the parents to discipline, reason with or comfort their child if they are being disruptive or upset also allows you to keep the rest of the class moving and active while they get settled and ready to swim.
- Assess and group swimmers by ability
Make sure any new swimmers are assessed prior to joining a group class and group swimmers with others of a similar skill level as best you can. This will limit the amount of 1 on 1 time required by the instructor. If a timid beginner joins a group of confident swimmers even the most experienced instructors will struggle to keep the class moving.
- Choose appropriate activities and teaching techniques
Be creative and mindful of the activities you choose to ensure swimmers are kept moving and actively participating for the duration of the class. Activities that are too advanced for swimmers will make it hard to keep swimmers moving as they may require a lot of assistance. Activities that are too easy may bore swimmers and cause them to be distracted and want to play around in the lesson. Effective teaching techniques for keeping swimmers active and moving in class include circling the lane or follow the leader, wave formations, land drill, activity circuits and races.
- Be enthusiastic
Be enthusiastic and create a fun learning environment where swimmers want to participate and show you how hard they are working and how much they have improved. Not only will it make swimming more fun for the class, it will make your job as an instructor a rewarding one.
What are some techniques you use to keep your swimmers moving and engaged during lessons? Share in the comments below.