There is no doubt that to be successful in swimming you need to work hard. Champions like Thorpe, Phelps and Rice didn’t get to stand on the gold medal dais at the Olympic Games by chance. They practiced and practiced and practiced. And when they finished practicing, they practiced some more! Now, these swimmers are talented and exceptional but they worked hard to get to the top. They had to start somewhere. They had to visualise where they wanted to go and build through a carefully devised plan to achieve their goals.
As swimming teachers, it is important to have a vision of where you want your students to go.
- What skills do they have?
- What skills are they physically and mentally capable of achieving?
- What skills do you want them to achieve?
- And, how are you going to guide them to success?
At World Wide Swim School, we follow a building block approach – working with the skills a swimmer may already possess and gradually extending and building on that skill to allow for improvement and new skills to be learned. We help our little swimmers practice and practice and practice. And when we finish practicing, we practice some more!
If you follow a building block approach and practice swimming skills through a series of fun games and exploration you will achieve your desired outcome or safety skill. In the video, Harper (2 years 4 months) is working towards an important safety skill – climbing out of the swimming pool. Harper has been swimming twice per week since she was 4 months old and has worked hard to build her breath control, floating skills and learned to pull herself up onto a shallow ledge.
Once foundation skills are strong, follow the steps below to teach climbing out of the pool:
- Float, pull up and climb onto a shallow ledge.
- Pull up and climb onto a floating mat or deck level pool.
- Pull up and climb out of the pool where the deck is higher than water level.
TEACHING TIPS: Make learning fun. Use games to peak interest. Vary activities and return to lesson focus. Celebrate each success. Encourage independence and exploration.
What are some fun games you use in your swimming lessons to help children learn? Comment below.