How to Thrive in Swimming Lessons
Learning how to swim can seem intimidating, but with the right instructor, it can be a safe, fun, confidence-building experience! For the greatest success throughout this process, here are five tips to keep in mind when selecting (and working with) a swim coach:
1. Swim Instructors Are Not “One Size Fits All”
When you or your child starts swim lessons, it’s important to realize every swim instructor is unique. Just like every swim student is different, every coach has a personal style, approach, and skill set.
“All swim coaches work on the same skills and work toward the same goal—improving swimmer confidence and proficiency—but how they get there is different,” says owner of WeAquatics, David Worrell. “Maybe one coach is more playful and another is more strict. Not all swim coaches teach in exactly the same way, but everyone gets the job done at the end of the day.”
2. Unexpected Tactics Could Be Just What You Need
Whether you’re a student yourself or the parent of a new swimmer, don’t go into swim lessons with any preconceived notions.
“Be willing to try, even if you don’t think something is going to work. Some tactics you wouldn’t expect can really get you over a hump or off a plateau,” says David. “When learning to swim, an open-minded attitude and trust in your instructor are both key.”
3. Trust in the Process
Some students or parents of students find their expectations about swim lessons don’t match the reality. Once you’ve found a trusted, experienced swim school and instructor, though, it’s important to allow that coach the time and space to work.
“A parent might want the instructor to hold the child every minute of the lesson,” says David. “If the coach doesn’t, it’s not that he or she doesn’t want to hold that child. It’s that the child is showing signs that she/he is ready to be pushed to the next level and become more independent in the water.”
A good instructor understands the fear and apprehension that can accompany swim lessons—for the student and the guardian—but everyone needs to trust in the process in order to see progress.
“Progress should always be safe, measured, and incremental, but if students aren’t given the opportunity to trust in themselves, they’ll never learn or improve,” says David.
When everyone believes in the process, results can be impressive, as WeAquatics client Joan Grabowski found.
“After mastering floating, the light bulb turned on, and Gracie [Grabowski’s daughter] hasn’t slowed down. She is so comfortable in the water that she was able to snorkel in Grand Cayman and Aruba when she was only four!”
4. Align Teaching and Learning Styles
Everyone has a different learning style. Some people thrive when teachers show them what to do. Others like to have something verbally explained. Successfully learning how to swim will require finding a teacher whose teaching style matches your learning style.
Before you give up on an instructor, though, remember tip #2. Sometimes the unexpected tactic can be the most fruitful. Even if you think you’re a visual learner, give verbal instruction a chance. You might be surprised how effective it is for you in the pool!
For very young students, such as those enrolled in Infant Swimming Resource classes, learning styles might change as the student ages. Keep this in mind as your child progresses on his or her swimming journey.
5. Look for a Swim School with a Diverse Coaching Staff
“Being part of a school that’s diverse in how the skills are administered means students have more room to grow and a greater chance of their needs being met,” says David.
As swim students progress, it’s often helpful to have different instructors. The differences in approach and tactics can help to keep pushing the student to greater and greater accomplishments.
“Our friends and family are always impressed at how the girls are excelling in swimming, and we talk about the quality of lessons they receive. Coaches David, Brad, Darell, Danielle, Raul, Juwaun, and others we had the chance to work with have impeccable skills and are the best in the area,” says Grabowski. “They make lessons fun and offer proven swimming methods that ensure success.”
Finding a swim school with a diverse coaching staff allows you or your child to stay within the same organization but continue to make strides in the pool under the instruction of a variety of coaches.
“After seeing my girls in the pool, I took refresher swim lessons, and I’m so glad I did,” says Grabowski. “At forty years old, I gained the confidence to know I do know how to swim. I just needed a little push to work through my fears.”
*Bonus Tip for Infants and Toddlers* Stick It Out!
Swimming lessons can be especially challenging for very young children. (Expect tears and maybe even a good deal of kicking and screaming!) Students and parents alike are almost always amazed at the results when they stick it out, though.
“Allie [Grabowski’s daughter] cried at every single class for three weeks until her last ISR lesson, but she excelled like you wouldn’t believe after that,” says Grabowski. “Allie ended up developing a unique bond with Coach Brad. (Seriously, the child whisperer.) He made sure Allie was comfortable in the water and could trust him.”
Ultimately, finding the right swim instructor comes down to trust. If you trust the coach and his or her experience, ability, and methods, you’ll be able to see amazing progress in the pool!
If you want to get to know our swim coaches better, send us a message any time. We’d love to talk! Also feel free to explore our classes, and if you like what you see, grab one of our limited spots today.