The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

« How Can You Make Your Swim Instructors Smile?

Swimming Pool Fencing – Water Safety for Children and Homeowner’s Swimming Pool Liability »

Fins for Swim Lessons

Dear Swim Profesor:

I hope you can help w/more advice. I”m still a beginner swimmer. My teacher told me I need to work on my kicking, and I’d like to get some fins. Saw some lightweight flippers at Todd & Moore, and then just regular swim fins (I guess). I think I need “short fins” or something like that. Suggestions? I haven’t looked at Dick’s Sporting Goods yet, but might tomorrow. thank you.

– Roxanne D.

Dear Roxanne,

Swim fins can be helpful for all swimming ability levels.  Personally, I would strongly recommend the Finis Zoomers.  For others reading this blog, for a limited time (while they last), we have children’s zoomers on sale right now for just $12.99 regular $37.95!  Here are the reasons why I prefer the short blade Zoomers over other versions.

1.  Short Blade – Long blade fins do have a purpose, for instance, scuba diving.  If I have to get away from a shark, I want the longest blade possible, LOL :)   But seriously, long blade fins are a nice training tool for elite competitive swimmers for “sprint assisted” swimming.   Research shows that one way to improve sprint speed is to train at speeds faster than you can normally go.  The long fins allow for that.  Of course there are other ways to do that too, i.e., sprint assisted work with tubing.  But long fins can serve that purpose for a coach who has lots of swimmers in the pool.

So why do I recommend the short blade fins for swimming instructors and their swim lesson students?  Very simple.  If you study closely the movement pattern of the kick with a short blade fin, it will resemble very closely the movement pattern with no fins at all.  ON THE OTHER HAND, if you observe a kick with the long blade fin, the kick is a little different.  For competitive swimming especially, when races are won and lost by fractions of a second, you would clearly want to gain a training edge.  So when you are training with fins, you would ideally replicate that movement as closely as possible (I will touch on swim fins for beginners again at the end of the blog).

2.  Negative Buoyancy – The zoomers (at least the Original Zoomers did) are constructed with a rubber that give the fins negative buoyancy.  In other words, they sink.   Why is this an advantage?  From a training standpoint, your legs will experience the strengthening benefits that are a result of the fins making your legs work harder.  Floating fins, on the other hand, won’t work your legs quite as hard.

Let’s get back to swim fins for swim lessons, beginners, and novice swimmers.   When I am teaching a non-swimmer or beginner to swim, you don’t want the teaching tool to give more assistance than necessary.  It goes back to my lesson plan philosophy with flotation devices, holds, supports, and progressions.  The best artificial support is the one that gives the student just enough support to be successful.  If you give the learner too much support, they become dependent on it.  Then when you ask the learner to perform the skill on their own, it’s like asking them to climb a mountain instead of a small hill.  If you take baby steps, the learner will not only experience physical success  faster, but he will experience a psychological success as well,  and more importantly–his confidence will grow.

I believe this directly applies with swim fins for beginners.  If you give your beginner swimmer this big flipper that provides extraordinary propulsion, that’s all well and good until you remove the fin and ask them to swim without it.  Suddenly, their feet feel like rocks instead of flippers,  often resulting in a discouraged student who was on the verge of success, only to learn it was the flipper, not him!   The Zoomers, on the other hand, make the transition much easier because while they do provide additional propulsion, the kick with the Zoomers feels very similar to  the kick without the Zoomers–because it is!

So there you have it!  I hope my recommendation helps you and many others!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
September 25, 2011 - 5:02 PM
  • Roxanne D.

    September 25, 2011 | 7:48 PM

    thank you very much! good points there!

  • Jennifer W.

    September 27, 2011 | 7:26 AM

    Thanks-great info! I have taught with fins for several year as a tool to straighten a bent or non-productive kick-although I have not used zoomers for my little guys. I was very cautious as to not build too much dependence but I will be switching for sure!

  • Jim Reiser

    September 27, 2011 | 8:27 AM

    Thanks Jennifer! Glad that helped. Finis also makes some real small short fins for the little, little ones too.

  • Liz

    October 31, 2011 | 8:45 PM

    Thanks for that article! I was trying to find just this exact information! I brought short fins and was disappointed when a friend at work said they are not great and the longer ones are easier and the ones to use…but this article explains everything just brilliantly! thx! :)

  • photo mounting board

    March 20, 2012 | 7:58 PM

    I drop a leave a response whenever I like a article on a website or if I have something to valuable to contribute to the conversation. It’s caused by the passion communicated in the article I looked at. And after this post Fins for Swim Lessons | The Swim Professor. I was actually excited enough to post a leave a responsea response 😉 I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay. Is it just me or does it seem like some of these responses look like they are left by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are writing at other online sites, I would like to follow everything new you have to post. Would you list every one of all your communal pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  • Jim Reiser

    March 20, 2012 | 10:54 PM

    feel free to email questions to


  • Mervin Werley

    April 10, 2013 | 12:30 AM

    Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thank you

  • Juan Hahn

    April 10, 2013 | 12:34 AM

    Hello.This post was really motivating, particularly because I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Sunday.

  • Ernesto Macareno

    April 10, 2013 | 12:41 AM

    I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Studying this information So i’m happy to exhibit that I have an incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I most undoubtedly will make certain to don’t disregard this website and give it a glance on a constant basis.

  • Jim Reiser

    April 24, 2013 | 12:22 PM


  • forte suites condo

    July 17, 2013 | 10:52 AM

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.

    It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Buy Garcinia cambogia

    July 18, 2013 | 4:33 PM

    A person necessarily help to make critically articles I’d state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular put up incredible. Great job!

  • indagare su questo sito

    July 19, 2013 | 10:48 AM

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I in finding
    It really helpful & it helped me out much. I hope to provide one
    thing back and help others like you aided me.

  • Duke iskandarX

    November 24, 2013 | 4:59 AM

    Hye there, thanks for sharing this nice article, I’m very appriciete it.

Leave a reply