The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Should you DUNK Babies in Swimming Lessons? »« What does it mean to Learn to Swim? features Jim Reiser’s article on Swim Lessons Plans

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Would you like to learn an easy way to construct great swim lesson plans for your beginner swimmers? It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Read on!


  1. Determine what skills are most age-appropriate to teach your beginner swimmers on a daily basis. The age of your students does dictate what skills are appropriate, but in general, you will spend time each class on kicking, breath control, breath holding, in-line kick (prone kick), back kick, and some type of swim (depends on age and skill readiness).
  2. Determine an age-appropriate total class length time. For preschoolers, 20 – 30 minutes is standard. One important consideration on whether you go 20, 25, or 30-minutes is the number of children in the class. A 20-minute class may be enough for a private lesson for a 3 or 4 year old–but is NOT enough time if you have two or more children in the class. In that case, go with a 25-30 minute lesson for beginner preschool age swimmers.
  3. Determine how much time you will allocate to each skill so that you can spend some time on each of the skills you would like your student to learn. Of course there may be classes where you don’t get through everything and that’s okay. But be careful not to “overstay your welcome” on any given skill AND realize that there is both skill and confidence transfer. In other words, when a child becomes more proficient at one skill that helps his/her confidence to improve the other skills and vice versa. One more tip, always try to spend time on the “swimming skill” which is usually allocated for the end of the class. As a rule of thumb–if you’re going to skip something, skip a drill instead of the main skill.
  4. Determine a set of progressions for each skill. For example, the end product for the “in-line kick/prone kick” would be that the child can kick with their face in the water, arms extended for 10 feet or so without any buoyancy props. However, the progression you predetermine may be in three stages: Stage 1: Use a barbell, arms extended, blowing bubbles. Stage 2: Use a barbell, arms extended, face in the water. Stage 3: Eliminate the barbell, arms extended, face in the water.
  5. Determine what cues or buzzwords you will use for each skill. For example, when teaching breath control, your buzzwords may be “breathe in your mouth, blow out your mouth and your nose.”
  6. Determine what equipment, toys, or props that you will need for your class. For example you may want to have kickboards, noodles, barbells, etc. available for your class.
  7. Determine a general level of proficiency that you will require the student to have mastered before advancing your student to a new stroke, skill set, etc.


Watch some highlights of author, Jim Reiser, using his lesson plans for teaching beginners to swim.

Sources and Citations

  • Original Source:
  • For specific lesson plans for all ages and skill levels, visit Swim Lessons University today!

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 Write Swim Lesson Plans for Beginner Swimmers. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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January 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm
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