The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

“Holds” for Infant-toddler Swim Classes

How to Hold Your Baby in the Swimming Pool

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Have you ever wondered if you were holding your baby incorrectly in the swimming pool? Or if some holds are better than others? In this article, you will learn the holds that are the most effective.


  1. Use the hug hold. The hug hold is the foundation of all the holds outlined in this article. Why? Because it is the hold that your baby feels most secure. Use it when getting in and out of the pool, use it while your baby gets acclimated to the water, and use it any time your baby needs a little TLC!
  2. Try the face-to-face hold. The face-to-face hold is one of the most versatile holds a parent or teacher can use. To perform this hold, simply place your hands under the baby’s armpits with your thumbs wrapped around his/her shoulders. Not only is it great for kicking exercises, it also allows the teacher or parent to make sure that the baby’s face is always out of the water, preventing any accidental facial immersions which can be dangerous if they happen repeatedly.
  3. Practice the modified face-to-face hold. This hold is performed like so: Simply place the infant or toddler on your chest while your hands are positioned just below the baby’s knees. The advantage to this hold is that as you walk backwards around the pool, you can manipulate the child’s legs as you cue: “kick, kick, kick.” Now the baby/toddler gets both verbal and kinesthetic feedback which promotes learning skills. It is recommended that you alternate the face-to-face hold with the modified face-to-face hold, so that the infant-toddler learns what you want when you give him/her the cues.
  4. Use the pass hold. The pass hold is another really effective hold but it is also one that must be used with caution when utilizing it for kicking exercises. When you use the pass hold, you are holding the baby to your side, with your left hand under the child’s left armpit and the right hand under the child’s right armpit. While this can be a great position to have the child in to practice his/her kick, it is critical that you keep a constant eye on the child’s mouth in relation to the water. Once again, you do not want a baby to have multiple accidental facial immersions because they could take in water, which can be dangerous, not to mention at the very least, it could create a bad experience and cause the baby to become upset and water-shy. It is really good to use this hold on two year olds who also have a noodle under their chins when performing kicking exercises. In addition, it is an awesome way to spot the baby (using a pass hold) for safety skill entries and drills (as seen video below).


Watch Jim Reiser, Swim Lessons University founder and instructor, in some highlights from his Parent & Me 101 class.

Copy and paste this link into your browser:


  • Consult with your pediatrician before participating in learn to swim programs.
  • Consult with your pediatrician or a swimming professional before using any of the techniques described above.

Things You’ll Need

  • Swim noodle

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Hold Your Baby in the Swimming Pool. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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November 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm Comments (0)

Super Swim Teachers are not found–they are made!

Here is a recent email I received:

Coach Jim,
I don’t know where you find your swim teachers, but I’ve got one thing to say… “Keep up the good work!”

My son Zach has been w/Ms Kali at Still Hopes on the Saturday am class. She has worked the class well to suit his needs.   Due to his autism, sometimes he can have trouble w/things as I am sure you can imagine.  He LOVES the water though, so we wanted to take the opportunity to utilize that to our advantage.

Zach works so hard for Coach Kali & has grown a lot over the last few weeks.  We will all miss swim class until January comes!  It is so awesome as a parent watching him striving for something & be able to acheive it.  I know it would not be possible though, without a dedicated teacher who wants to see my son excel as much as I do. This is Zach’s 2nd class & at both classes he has had wonderful teachers.

I just had to write you & let you know how pleased we are & for you to please give Ms Kali & BIG high-five & a “thank you!”  Please contiue to keep up the GREAT work!!!
– Crystal & John T.

Jim comments:

There is nothing more  rewarding than getting emails like these . . . . but these emails are not an accident.   At The Swim Lessons Company, we don’t find great teachers, we make them!  Yes, we do find good people but that is really the easy part.  The hard part is putting together a staff of teachers who will consistently earn you the testimonials like the one you read above.

Swim Lessons University was developed to do just that.  In fact,  the DVD video Teaching Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder was instrumental in the comments above on Coach Kali.

Yes, you can find a good water safety instructor here or there.  But if you want to grow your school and create a swim school where you can actually guarantee “learning and laughter,” you can’t expect just to find great swim instructors–you have to make them!  And holds the key to your success!

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November 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm Comments (2)

How to Teach Swimming Lessons Like a Pro

How to Teach Swimming Lessons Like an Expert Swimming Instructor

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Have you ever wondered how you could teach swimming lessons more effectively? Have you ever wondered how you could teach your swim school staff members to improve their teaching too? In this article, I will share with you 7 Steps to make your swim lessons more effective!


  1. Choral Responding Technique – Have your students repeat back to you the cues or buzzwords you are teaching (there are some great examples in the video attached).
  2. Check for Understanding Technique – Create a close-ended question that will require a short response or create a “fill-in-the-blank” like question. This a fantastic way to see if your swim lessons students are understanding exactly what it is that you want them to do.
  3. Demonstration Tactics – There are a number of ways to demonstrate a skill. Use swim demonstration tactics like the “right way vs. the wrong way,” incorporate choral responding into your demonstration, and many more (The learn-to-swim DVD “You Can Teach Like a Pro” shows the best ways to demonstrate swim skills to young children).
  4. Start Signals – Have you ever been frustrated because you lost control of your class? The answer may lie in something as simple as using good, clear, start signals. If your swim students know what you want them to do and when you want them to do it, your class will run much smoother.
  5. Learn to swim Progressions – Have you ever heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect?” Of course you have . . . and it’s nonsense! “Progressive practice makes perfect.” Swim Lessons students have a hard time practicing a swimming skill they don’t have the ability to do yet! But if you, the swim teacher, have swim skill progressions in place so they can learn the new skill in achievable steps, your learn to swim students will have much more success.
  6. How do you Correct Your Students? The manner in which you give your swim lessons students feedback can make or break their ability to improve their skills. Not to mention you can hinder learning by hurting their confidence. In the You Can Teach Like a Pro DVD, you will learn 7 different methods of feedback and how to use them. Once again, just click on the video sample in this article and you will a nice sampling of what we are referring to.


Watch this 7 minute video sampling of Jim Reiser’s brand new “YOU CAN TEACH LIKE A PRO” DVD for Swimming Instructors and Water Safety Instructors who would like to improve their teaching! To purchase the entire DVD, go to


  • Visit

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Teach Swimming Lessons Like an Expert Swimming Instructor. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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November 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm Comments (0)

New York Times Company,, features Jim Reiser as Guest Author!, a New York Times Company, recently signed on Jim Reiser as a guest author.

Would you like to see Jim’s first article with Swimming?

Get Jim’s latest tips on how to prevent crying in Parent and Toddler Swimming Lessons.

Check out the article today:   “How to Prevent Crying in Infant or Toddler Learn to Swim Class.”

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November 18, 2009 at 9:32 pm Comments (0)

Watch my new YouTube video from Bathtub Baby 101

Take a few minutes to check out some free video footage from my brand new Bathtub Baby 101 DVD!  Just click Bathtub Baby 101 and you’ll get to watch my wife Heather and I get our 4-month old baby Nolan, ready for his first swimming lesson by using the bathtub.

If you have a newborn baby, I really believe that you will find the information in this DVD to be priceless–just like your baby’s happiness!

Infant Swimming starts in the bath.  Your baby can begin a lifelong love of the water as young as four weeks old.  In addition, babies who learn to love the water in the bathtub will be happier in the swimming pool when they are ready. And most importantly–babies can learn to be safer (NEVER SAFE) in the water!

Never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub. Never leave your baby or child unattended in the swimming pool.   Even if your child can swim.  There’s no substitute for constant supervision.  This DVD is also loaded with Safety Tips for you and there is some free water safety information from the SAFER 3 on my website.

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November 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm Comment (1)

How to Teach a Preschooler to Swim

How to Teach a Preschooler to Swim

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Would you like to hear how to make teaching your 3 & 4 year olds more fun and effective? Enjoy some terrific teaching techniques and even watch some FREE video footage from “Swim 101,” How to Teach Young Children to Swim in 8 hours or Less! Oh, and you will also see some really cool “before & after” shots too!


  1. Use the “Right way vs. the Wrong Way” technique when giving feedback and demonstrating skills (see attached video clip).
  2. Make Learning to Swim Fun! Keep your preschool lessons more interactive and engaging through the use of activities, stories, puppets, songs, and other props (as seen in Swim 101).
  3. Keep the children “on task” by minimizing down time, using clear “start & stop signals,” and using class management skills while keeping the learning environment positive.
  4. Use sound teaching progressions. You’ll see a couple examples in the free video clip, i.e., underwater footage of breath holding and breath control and a back kick support progression. This is just the beginning of all the fundamental skill progressions from the Swim 101 DVD.
  5. Keep your demonstrations short and to the point–but accurate. Preschoolers don’t have a lot of patience BUT they will be motivated to do it just like YOU!
  6. Limit your corrective feedback, and celebrate even the smallest of achievements. Do this, and both the children and their parents will LOVE your class.
  7. Limit formal instruction time to 25-30 minutes for a class of 2-4 children, 20-25 minutes for private lessons. You don’t want your students to be “ready for class to end,” rather you want them leaving your lesson already “looking forward to the next one!”


This video will show you just over 3 minutes of video samples from Jim Reiser’s World Famous “Swim 101” DVD: How to Teach Young Children to Swim and Be Safer in the Water. The entire DVD is available at


  • Visit and click Kids Swimmming Lessons to learn more from Jim Reiser, “The Swim Professor!”

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Teach a Preschooler to Swim. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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November 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm Comments (0)

Swim School Owners Conference Details Announced

You are invited to the upcoming 2010 Swim School Owners Business Conference. It will be held at the Crown Plaza in Sunrise, Florida on February 19 & 20, 2010.

This is a rare opportunity to learn from some of the most prominent people in the learn to swim industry. The conference will feature Jim Reiser of Swim Lessons University, Sue Nelson of United States Swimming, Mick Nelson of United States Swimming, and Lori Klatt, of the American Swim Coaches Association.
Even if you don’t own your own swim school you will receive invaluable information and concepts to bring back to your program. Cost is only $150 for up to 4 attendees, so you can bring some of your staff with you.
To register, call Julie Nitti at 1-800-356-2722 or email Julie at For your convenience, all major credit cards are accepted. Call Julie today!

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November 15, 2009 at 9:19 pm Comments (0)

Are you frustrated with your swim lesson students?

How to Teach Beginner Swimmers

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Are you becoming frustrated with your beginner swimmers? Or even students who can swim BUT are learning a new stroke? When you consider the points and suggestions below you may feel a little better!


  1. Understand there are 3 Stages of Learning, and when a skill is new the student is in the “Cognitive Stage of Learning.” This stage of learning is characterized by errors that are gross in nature, multiple errors, and an inconsistency in performance.
  2. Because of the above characteristics, you can determine the best approach. That approach consists of keeping your explanations simple and refraining from teaching details.
  3. Use cues or buzzwords that attend to the “whole idea” of the skill and teach your student in more general terms vs. specifics.
  4. Be patient and get excited about the “baby steps” of progress.
  5. Look for things to complement your student on, even if it’s effort. Your swim student’s confidence increases his/her determination. Complement your student twice as much as you correct him.


Sample of author’s DVD on How to Teach Beginners to Swim


  • Visit

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Teach Beginner Swimmers. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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November 14, 2009 at 11:51 pm Comments (0)

Aquatic International Wanted Me to Invite YOU!

I want to make sure all my Swim Lessons University members, water safety professionals, and swim school friends know about Aquatic International Connect. Make sure to visit AI Connect at:

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November 12, 2009 at 3:51 pm Comments (0)

Will I See YOU in Fort Lauderdale?

I am honored to be a featured speaker for the second straight year at the SwimAmerica Business Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The conference will be February 19-20, 2010.

I will speak from 6PM – 7PM on February 19th on how to make your swim school office run more efficiently and profitably!

On February 20th, my 9:00AM -10:00 AM presentation will teach you how to GROW your swim school business and how to develop a staff of swim instructors that will keep your customers coming back!

My last presentation on February 20th will be from 4:15 PM-5:15PM and will be worth the wait. Fast paced and information loaded, you will learn how to become a recognized authority in learn-to-swim, how to get on the news, how to set yourself apart, how to work smarter not harder, how to develop your brand, how to preserve relationships . . . and more!

For details and/or to register, contact Julie Nitti at the American Swim Coaches Association at 1-800-356-2722.

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November 11, 2009 at 1:38 pm Comments (0)

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