Teaching others how to swim is perhaps more difficult than learning how to swim by yourself. Not only must you get the training and experience needed to take swimming classes, but you must also know how to understand each individual student and determine what they need to get them to the next step.
Some students learn quickly, while others need a bit of extra help. We’ve put together a list of 5 steps to teaching swimming lessons to help you accomplish this. While every student has a unique means of learning how to swim, most of us will improve when these 5 steps are followed.
Read on if you would like to know 5 steps to teaching swimming lessons!
#1 – Create a Lesson Plan Aimed at Your Class’ Skill Level
Typically, your lesson plan should be aimed at the lowest level of experience in the class. It is important to focus your attention on those who aren’t strong swimmers. (Unless you’re teaching a competitive class)
Focusing your lessons at the lowest level of experience allows them to follow the whole lesson. For students who are already capable of performing the exercises that you’ve given them ahead of the rest, you can allow them to practice on their own and perfect the exercise. (Assuming they are at least ten years old)
#2 – Keep Each Lesson Brief
Typically, lessons should be no longer than thirty minutes at a time. The average person loses focus after half an hour, or even less sometimes. It is better to give your students thirty minutes worth of exercises which they can remember than an hour of exercises of which they forget some. (Skill gaps in swimming are quite dangerous)
At the end of the day, swimming involves heavy levels of repetition. The idea is to repeat the same movements so many times that your body does it on its own after a while. This is what we call automatic memory, where you no longer need to actively think about what you’re doing.
#3 – Alternate Exercises
If you plan to perform the same exercise for the entire thirty-minute class, you can forget it! Five minutes is as long as you should spend on any given exercise. You can come back to an exercise that you did near the beginning of the class at the end for the sake of repetition, but you shouldn’t repeat it one after another.
In your thirty-minute lesson, you have time for six exercises. This way, you can spend three or four exercises or different strokes and the remaining exercises on water safety, breathing, and so on.
#4 – Utilize Friendly Competitions
Competition, when performed correctly, can be very beneficial to swimmers. You can set up team races, depending on the size of your class, and ask them to perform the strokes that you’ve already gone over often enough.
You shouldn’t use competition for strokes that were recently learned. The students should have ample time to get an understanding of the stoke before the friendly competition occurs.
You must be sure not to let any of the students feel that they’ve failed if they lose this competition. The purpose is for them to test their own abilities, not to be the best in the class. As long as there is ample improvement, they have all succeeded!
#5 – Make Sure Everyone Feels Safe
The last thing you want to let any of your students feel is unsafe! You, as the swimming instructor, have an obligation to make your students feel as safe as possible. You may even want to perform a trust-test when the class is first formed to show all of them that you are more than capable of keeping them safe in the water.
Any failure to let a student feel safe is a fault of yours. You should know when anyone is not feeling confident enough with you or with the water in general. It is then your job to ensure that you do whatever it takes to make them feel safe. If you cannot, you should inform your superiors of this and see that they are moved to a class where they do feel safe.
These are the most important steps to teaching swimming lessons. If you are able to follow all of these, then you’re already on your way to becoming a fantastic swimming instructor!