The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

How Swimming Instructors Unintentionally Discourage Students

One sure-fire way to discourage your young learners is by using incongruent feedback. How do you avoid it?

  • You must understand the difference between congruent and incongruent feedback.
  • You must make a conscious effort to use congruent feedback.

So what is incongruent feedback and how can swim teachers avoid it? First, let’s clarify what it means to give congruent feedback: CONGRUENT FEEDBACK refers to relationship between the content of your feedback, the focus of your feedback, and the cues/buzzwords in which you have given for the skill. When your feedback is congruent, you are giving your student information that is directly related to what you have asked your student to do. Incongruent feedback, on the contrary, gives information to the learner that may be important to the skill, HOWEVER, it is not specifically related to what you just asked your swimmer to focus on.

For example, let’s assume that you are teaching a student who is just learning how to swim the freestyle (Front Crawl). You have given your student the cues, “Big strokes, fast kicks.” You have provided demonstrations or good examples that illustrated these two key components to the general, overall idea of the freestyle. You may have even provided demonstrations to illustrate a poor stroke where the arms weren’t coming out of the water and knee bend was excessive.

Having executed the above-mentioned skill presentation, you are off to a good start. Now let’s talk about the challenge: getting a young learner conditioned to execute the movement properly and consistently.

Studies have shown that when teachers give a high percentage of “congruent feedback,” that their teaching becomes more narrow and more focused (Rink, 1993). As a result, your students’ effort becomes more narrow and focused. BUT HERE IS THE PROBLEM: FAR TOO MANY TEACHERS use what is known as the “shotgun approach.” The shotgun approach involves the teacher asking the student to focus on the “big strokes, fast kicks,” HOWEVER, as soon as the student performs the skill–the teacher starts giving feedback on everything the teacher knows or observes relative to the freestyle.

Let’s go back to the example above. You have given your student specific cues and instructions focusing on the big strokes and fast kick. If your feedback is congruent, your feedback after that particular swim should be focused in on just that. Yet at the end of the swim, the feedback given goes something like this instead:

  • “You have to point your toes when kicking!”
  • “Don’t pull so short!
  • “You have to rotate your hips!”
  • “You have to lead your stroke with your shoulder!”
  • “Don’t look forward when you swim!”

Lastly, and extremely important–think of how the psychological effect of the incongruent feedback corrections could have on the student. The young learner is trying so hard to please the instructor working hard to do what the instructor asked, but then the instructor ignores that effort only to give additional corrections. While the teacher’s intentions are good, the incongruent feedback can lead to a very discouraged student.  While each of these statements may be completely accurate, they are examples of an instructor using the shotgun approach and giving incongruent feedback. Students, especially those in the cognitive stage of learning can focus only on a limited number of cues or ideas. Even worse, when swimming instructors use this approach, students find it very difficult to maintain a focus when the instructor continuously switches the focus within short time periods

If you can implement this proven pedagogy practice in your learn-to-swim classes, you will take your teaching to a whole new level and your students will flourish under your guidance! I hope you found this blog helpful. Thank you for visiting The Swim Professor Blog!  .

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com 

We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
January 29, 2017 at 5:06 pm Comments (0)

Swim Instructors and Body Language

How important is your body language when it comes to teaching? I expect that you may find these research-based facts and findings in the next few paragraphs quite interesting. In fact, it’s my hope that you will not only find them interesting, but that you and your learn-to-swim staff embrace them—potentially improving the perception of your teaching staff teaching overnight.

Communication occurs in three dimensions. Body language represents close to 60 percent. The noise that comes out of our mouths accounts for about 30 percent, leaving barely 10 percent to the words we use!  If most swimming instructors were given those three dimensions on one side of a page, and those percentages on the other side of the page, it is my guess that very few would have matched them up correctly.

Body language is capable of sending out all kinds of messages that can enhance or damage our students’ parents’ perception on us as swimming teachers. It is so critical that we are aware of these signals. People tend to have much less conscious control over their non-verbal messages than of what they’re actually saying. This is partly because non-verbal communication is much more emotional in nature, and therefore much more instinctive. If there is a mismatch between the two, THEREFORE, non-verbal messages are trusted rather than the words actually used.

Here are several examples of non-verbal messages:

  • Body Movements, for example, hand gestures or nodding or shaking the head;
  • Posture, or how you stand or sit, whether your arms are crossed, and so on;
  • Eye Contact, where the amount of eye contact often determines the level of trust and trustworthiness;
  • Para-language, or aspects of the voice apart from speech, such as pitch, tone, and speed of speaking;
  • Closeness or Personal Space, which determines the level of intimacy;
  • Facial Expressions, including smiling, frowning and even blinking.

Changingminds.org lists a number of body language clusters with a breakdown of their individual signals. Emotions like joy, anger, sadness and surprise are fairly easy to recognize, while others may take a little thought to figure out. Disinterest, for example, is expressed by looking away, fidgeting, or repeatedly glancing at your watch or a clock!

Other negative non-verbal cues swimming instructors need to avoid are communicated through your BODY POSTURE, often unintentionally communicating that you don’t care.

Here are several more examples Body Posture issues in particular:

  • Teaching with your arms crossed.
  • Yawning.
  • Floating around on a noodle.
  • Resting an arm on a lane line or back against the wall.

What can Swimming Instructors do to Portray that we Care?

  • Use proximity and be “hands-on.”
  • Lower yourself in the water so that your student and their parents see your eyes focused on the child. The “eyes” possess the loudest voice!
  • Tilt your head toward your student.
  • Raise an eyebrow to acknowledge a student’s question or response.
  • Look straight at your student to show that he/she has your attention.
  • If you need to disapprove of your student’s behavior, you can look straight at him/her with a prolonged, stare.

Practice Presenting Dynamically when You Teach!

In addition to non-verbal behavior and body language, swimming instructors can and should still strive to use assets like voice inflection to enhance communication. Remember, 30 percent of communication came not from the words that we speak, but simply from the noise. So if you can combine strong verbal cues with the voice inflection, your message will come across stronger and more effective.

Here are Three Proven Strategies:

  1. Loudness contrasted with softness.
  2. High-Pitched contrasted with low-pitch.
  3. Quick delivery contrasted with slow delivery

While you don’t have to be a public speaker, swimming instructors should know how to use voice dynamics when needed to make communication clearer (Rink, 1993).

FINAL THOUGHTS

Non-verbal communication is a complex yet integral part of overall communication skills for swimming instructors. However, far too often–teachers are often totally unaware of their non-verbal behavior.  I hope that this basic awareness of these non-verbal communication strategies, over and above what you actually say when you teach, will help you and your swim staff be even more successful in the near future!

 

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com 

We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
January 24, 2017 at 11:42 pm Comments (0)

How the Stages of Learning Should Influence the Swim Instructor’s Approach

When learners begin to acquire a new skill, they are generally confronted with some very specific, cognitively oriented problems (Magill, 1993). While learners of all ages go through this, observing an adult learn to swim may illustrate this the best. If you have ever worked with adults who are beginners, what really stands out? In my experience, the answer is their QUESTIONS!  How do I pitch my hand? Where exactly does it enter the water? Should I hold my breath or exhale under water? What pattern does my arm make? Should my legs be bent or straight? Sound familiar? Each of these examples indicate the basic and cognitive level at which the new learner is operating in the early part of learning a new skill. Learners of all ages display these characteristics, however, I believe the adult beginner magnifies the characteristics which is why I used them in my example.

One characteristic of motor skill learning is that it is possible to identify distinct states or phases that all learners seem to experience as they learn skills through practice. While there have a been a few proposals to identify the stages of learning, I find the model by Paul Fitts and Michael Posner that was developed in 1967 to be most useful for swimming instructors. The Fitts and Posner Three-State Model is also traditionally accepted as the classic stage of learning model.

STAGES OF LEARNING, CHARACTERISTICS & TEACHING IMPLICATIONS

COGNITIVE STAGE OF LEARNING

The first stage of learning is considered the COGNITIVE STAGE OF LEARNING. Students in the cognitive stage display the following common characteristics when they perform:

  • They make a large number of errors
  • The nature of the errors committed tend to be gross
  • Their performance is highly variable

TEACHING IMPLICATIONS

  • Patience. Be understanding and keep encouraging.
  • Give cues and buzzwords to teach the gross idea or general idea of the skill.
  • Beginners may know they are doing something wrong, but they aren’t aware of exactly what to do differently to improve. Give specific, corrective feedback.

ASSOCIATIVE STAGE OF LEARNING

The second stage of learning is considered the ASSOCIATIVE STAGE OF LEARNING. The nature of the cognitive activity that is characterized in the cognitive stage changes during the associative stage:

  • Basic fundamentals have been learned. Errors are fewer and less gross in nature.
  • Variability of performance from one attempt to another also begins to decrease.
  • Learners have developed the ability to identify some of their own errors.

TEACHING IMPLICATIONS

  • Start refining the skill. Give more detailed feedback.
  • Have learner focus on different parts and incorporate more advanced drills.
  • Don’t give feedback after every repeat. Research shows when you give feedback more than 50% of the time– learning is hindered.

AUTONOMOUS STAGE OF LEARNING

After much practice and experience with the skill, the learner moves into the final stage of learning, the autonomous stage. Here the skill is almost automatic or habitual. In learn-to-swim, we really rarely see a learner in this stage. Why? Because as soon as our students become proficient enough at the skill where they have the general idea, we graduate the student to the next level.   When we graduate them to the next level, what stage does the student return to? If we are teaching them a new skill, they go back into the Cognitive Stage of Learning where they have to attend to the entire production of the skill again.   Whereas students in the autonomous stage of learning can perform most of the skill without thinking at all.

Fitts and Posner state that “there is a good deal of similarity between highly practiced skills and reflexes.” This doesn’t mean that learning stops or the individual ceases to make errors but rather that there is no longer a need for conscious attention to the motor act itself.   Think about a competitive swimmer participating in a big meet. The swimmer isn’t thinking about the pattern of the stroke as he races to the finish.   The swimmer is on automatic.

I hope you found today’s blog useful!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
January 20, 2017 at 3:46 am Comments (0)

Reiser Selected to Speak at Washington Recreation & Park Conference in May

As the Washington Recreation & Park Association celebrates 70 years, Jim Reiser has been selected to be their lead presenter in the aquatics track of the WRPA Annual Conference in Spokane, Washington.  Jim will give two talks on Wednesday, May 3, 2017:

  • 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM   You Can Teach Like a Pro!  Proven Techniques to Maximize Your Effectiveness
  • 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM       Preschoolers Can Swim!  How to Teach Young Children More Effectively

Reiser, who was recently honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame with the prestigious Virginia Hunt Newman Award, had this to say about the honor:

“Any time that I have the opportunity to share, especially in a setting like this, it’s such an amazing feeling.  To know that I not only have the ability to help those in the conference room, but to realize that there is an amazing trickle-down effect.  That’s what really makes me passionate about speaking. When I prepare my talks, I am not just preparing for the audience.  I am preparing to potentially help hundreds and hundreds of children receive better swimming instruction, and most importantly, become safer in and around the water.  It gives me goosebumps every time,” said Reiser. 

This will be Jim Reiser’s second speaking engagement in 2017.  “The Swim Professor” will be presenting for the North Carolina State Aquatics Conference in March (details coming soon) and he has several other potential speaking appearances in the works.   For a complete list of Mr. Reiser’s upcoming and recent speaking engagements,  check out the Conference Schedule link on the Swim Lessons University website.   There is also a link provided with more information on the WRPA Annual Conference if you would like to consider attending.

Would you like Jim Reiser to speak at your next event?  Email jreiser@swimprofessor.com or call 1-866-498-SWIM (7946) for availability!

 

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
January 18, 2017 at 4:17 am Comments (0)

How to Teach Freestyle to True Beginners

The first obstacle for many children learning to swim is that they don’t want to put their face in the water yet.  In the past, we used to tell our instructors to have the beginner practice Dog Paddle.  At the time, we felt like this was the best alternative to the front crawl so it became the first step of the freestyle swimming progression.  Seems logical, right?  We now believe otherwise. In fact, we are very confident that Dog Paddle is NOT a logical skill to teach young learners, and here’s why:

There are essentially FOUR REASONS we have removed it from the Swim Lessons University Swim 102/103 curriculum:

#1 It’s a very unnatural way to swim. Have you tried to dog paddle lately?  I personally find that it’s not a very easy skill to do for any distance, let alone for a period of time. Maybe I’m just getting old, but it puts a lot of stress on my neck and dog paddle is certainly an uncomfortable way to swim.

#2 You’re teaching children to swim nervously. From both a physical and psychological standpoint, you are indirectly teaching the child to frantically paddle the arms because if he or she doesn’t—the swimmer takes in water.  Therefore, you have a child swimming nervously because he is desperate to keep the mouth and nose out of the water.

#3 You’re teaching bad habits. Dog paddle reinforces the opposite of what we are trying to achieve in the freestyle arm pull.  We want nice, long underwater pulls–yet when we let kids to dog paddle, we are allowing them to pull the water in a quick and choppy fashion instead.

#4 You’re sacrificing valuable practice time. As Publilius Syrus once said: “Practice is the best of all instructors.”  However, from a learning standpoint, we sacrifice practicing the one skill that the child needs to learn in order to make real progress with the freestyle.  So at Swim Lessons University, we now use this allocated time to practice that skill: First-time facial immersion and beginning breath holding.

So those are the big four.  Now the question becomes, “how does the beginner practice first-time submersion and beginning breath holding?”  When it’s time to practice the Freestyle/Front Crawl, we have those beginners who aren’t putting the face in the water work on the in-line kick drill.  This way, the beginner can simultaneously practice the kick and practice putting the face in the water. We already isolated the basic breath holding skill earlier in the class, so combining the kick with the beginning facial immersion is a great combo drill that affords both flutter kick reps and beginning breath holding.

Once your student is successful because of the extra facial immersion practice, then you can help him or her do the freestyle by encouraging him to put the face in the water for “one stroke” as you manipulate the arm. Got it?  Then you ask the child to do “one stroke” by his or herself. Before you know it, one becomes two, two becomes three, and so on.  Just keep encouraging, be patient, and convey that you believe in your student. If you can do this, you’ll soon have a beginning student swimming freestyle across the pool!

Let’s head to the pool so I can share with you a real example of one of my students taking her first few strokes:

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

 

 

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
January 14, 2017 at 11:35 pm Comments (0)

How to Use Specific, Corrective Feedback in Swimming Lessons

In my previous blog, ‘How to Use Positive Feedback in Swimming Lessons,” we discussed the importance of using general positive feedback in swimming lessons. Praising your students, whether it be for an actual improvement in performance or for the student’s effort is paramount when it comes to teaching children. Nonetheless, while swimming instructors must be positive and encouraging, we can’t expect our young students to improve without letting the learner know what he or she must do differently in order to improve.

The use of Specific, Corrective Feedback has been the subject of research in motor learning and in teaching. Theoretically, specific information should be more valuable to the learner. Specific feedback has the potential to contribute to student learning a great deal more than general feedback. Specific feedback also serves a major role in maintaining student attention to the task and in developing accountability for task. (Rink, 1993).

What’s important to understand about Specific, Corrective Feedback is that when learners are in the beginning stages (See Cognitive Stage of Learning in my 1/8/17 blog), they cannot use detailed information, which makes it absolutely critical for swimming instructors to give feedback that tends to the “general idea” of the skill. At Swim Lessons University, we have buzzwords and cues for every skill on every lesson plan. We train SLU instructors to give their specific, corrective feedback based on those cues because they have been tested, tried and proven over the past 30+ years. In other words, these cues are not only practical and easy to understand, but they will help the young student learn and master the new skill.

With that said, Specific, Corrective Feedback can also come with a cost if it is overused. Research by The Positive Coaching Alliance shows the magic formula is 5:1! Five positives for every correction.   One technique I like to use is the “Sandwich Technique” when giving corrections: Complement, correct, complement. For example, “Maggie, you have such beautiful strokes. Now if you can just keep your head nice and still, your backstroke is going to look even more fabulous!” While this may be a 2:1 ratio, you just make sure to praise your student on a few more things that your student is doing well before giving another correction. Hope you found this blog helpful!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
January 12, 2017 at 5:11 am Comments (0)

How to Use Positive Feedback in Swimming Lessons

Have you ever fallen into the “feedback trap?”  Many swimming instructors, especially those instructors and coaches who are exceptionally knowledgeable on swimming technique often fall into a trap—a trap often referred to as a “feedback trap.”  When teaching beginners, or even a new skill to more advanced swimming students, it is critical that we consider the stages of learning before offering feedback.  All of these students are in the “Cognitive Stage of Learning.”

Students in the “Cognitive Stage of Learning” are known to have the following characteristics:

  • The student makes gross mistakes.
  • The student makes a large number of errors.
  • The student is inconsistent in his or her performance.
  • The student often knows he or she is doing something wrong, but they aren’t quite sure what to do differently in order to correct it.

Just as critical as each of the above-mentioned characteristics, beginners generally lack confidence!  With that in mind, it is imperative that swimming instructors don’t fall into the “feedback trap” of giving too many corrections!  No matter how “technically sound” and “accurate” the instructor’s feedback may be—the feedback often leads to over-thinking, paralysis by analysis, and overall frustration for the student.   We can never forget that the purpose of feedback which is to enhance learning, not the opposite.

With this in mind, my first word of advice to learn-to-swim instructors is to use plenty of positive feedback and build your student’s confidence.  Remember, practice is the best of all instructors.   In order to make strides and improvements when learning a skill as delicate and often scary as learning to swim, your learners must be confident in themselves.  Therefore, you have to create an atmosphere that is very positive, very encouraging, and very friendly.

I hope today’s blog helps you.  I will be posting several more blogs on feedback in the upcoming weeks.  We will cover how and when to give specific corrective feedback, specific evaluative feedback, and many more feedback techniques and tricks!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
January 8, 2017 at 10:21 pm Comments (0)

Swim Instructor Tips Daily on Twitter!

For the first time ever–you and your staff can get FREE SWIM LESSON TEACHING TIPS each and every day simply by following me on Twitter @SwimProfessor!  Here are five examples of upcoming TIPS OF THE DAY:

    • Teach implicitly by utilizing analogies. What are your favorite analogies?
    • Praise in public. Criticize in private.
    • Want better office décor? Ask your learn-to-swim students to draw you a picture!
    • Learning to swim is a process, not an event. Reassure parents that their child is progressing well!
    • Can you embrace something to like about EVERY STUDENT? You will enjoy teaching much more when you do!

So those are just a few of more than 200 TIPS OF THE DAY that I have already written!   In addition, if you and your staff follow me on twitter–you will also get updates on BLOGS OF THE WEEK, sWIM PROFESSOR YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF THE WEEK, and SWIM LESSONS UNIVERSITY FEATURED PRODUCTS OF THE MONTH which will be DISCOUNTED at 20% OFF!

I sincerely appreciate your follows, likes, and @mentions! I promise it will be worth your while!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , ,
December 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm Comments (0)

How to Teach Babies to Swim Safely

Whether you are a swimming instructor or parent, when it comes to teaching infants and toddlers to swim–PLEASE choose your approach carefully.   It is absolutely imperative that you really research the pros and cons of the teaching method before enrolling in an infant swimming program, especially one that may promise drown-proofing or mastering survival skills.  These approaches can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.  Simply put, your baby’s (or student’s) life and emotional well-being is in YOUR hands.

Teaching an infant or toddler to swim can be done successfully in a naturally progressive, child-centered learning environment.   One that is gentle and kind.  It is my professional opinion that this is the ONLY method any responsible person should consider for a baby.   We certainly want children to learn to swim for safety, but there is no iron-clad, guaranteed defense against drowning.  There is no such thing as drown-proofing.

In fact, the Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force in Florida published a program called Water Smart Babies.  They created the program to help educate parents on how to best protect their children and keep them safer around the water.  Water Smart Babies stresses that the parent is the most important factor  and encourages parents to Follow the Safer 3, a layered approach to drowning prevention.

To keep infants and toddlers safer, parents should be taught to take every precaution when the child is in or around the water.  Never let your guard down no matter how many lessons a toddler has taken or how many times they have shown the ability to swim.  To keep children safer, we must combine learn-to-swim with as many layers of protection as possible, from touch supervision, to lifejackets, to fences, to self-closing gates, and pool alarms.

But you ask:  What about those infant-survival skills that  I’ve seen on YouTube?  I believe former NDPA Executive Director Kim Burgess hit the nail on the head in the position statement for the Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force, “The water-survival skills program make compelling videos for the internet, but no scientific study has yet demonstrated these classes are effective.”

The report also concludes that these types of programs place inexperienced swimmers in what he perceives as life or death situations.”  If practiced repeatedly this places a child in a chronic stressful situation of “saving his life” every time he swims, which could detrimental to the child’s emotional and cognitive development.

Karen King, also referenced in the report, states:  “Putting babies in life or death scenarios is not an acceptable teaching practice in swimming or any learning situation. It’s like showing a child a busy street, putting him IN the road, and watching to see if he makes it to the curb.”  Do you see the cruelty and absurdity in this?

The bottom line is that the ultimate goal of teaching infant, toddlers and young children to swim is so that they love their swimming experience and learn to be safer in the water in the process.   Like any other worthwhile skills, skill mastery is a process–not an event.  Don’t be fooled!

Here is a short video example of what the Swim Lessons University “Parent & Tot” learn to swim program looks like.

Give a child a lifetime gift–teach a child to swim using a gentle, loving approach.   An approach that has proven effective for not only my own three boys, but for the thousands and thousands of students who have safely learned to swim with a Swim Lessons University certified instructor.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
December 8, 2016 at 3:03 am Comments (0)

Swim Lessons University Cyber Week Savings

Whether you’re an aquatic director, swim school owner, or swimming instructor–IF you’re looking for Cyber Week savings–you found it!   Most everything on the Swim Lessons University website is 20% OFF all week!

Everything from Swim Instructor Training Materials:
To Swim Instructor Tools:
To Swim Gear:
To Water Safety Resources:

 

These items and much, much, more! PLACE YOUR ORDER TODAY!

To your success!

Jim Reiser, Executive Director
www.swimlessonsuniversity.com
1-866-498-SWIM (7946)

, , , , , ,
November 29, 2016 at 2:08 am Comments (0)

« Older PostsNewer Posts »