The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Freestyle Kick Games for Kids

Do your students ever get bored, or even lazy while you’re having them practice their freestyle kick in swim lessons? Here’s a fun little game you can incorporate called “Cat and Mouse” that has proven to be both MOTIVATIONAL and FUN! 

For more detailed instructions on “How to Teach the Freestyle and Backstroke,” check out our “SWIM STROKES 201/202/203” video course!

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.

The Swim Lessons University Instructor certification is an internationally recognized alternative to the Red Cross WSI. And when you utilize SLU, you can even SPECIALIZE to teach in specific courses or you can certify to teach then all! Best of all, when you choose Swim Lessons University you can do all your training at your own facility or in the comfort of your own home, at your pace, and at a fraction of the cost!

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).

 

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October 5, 2016 at 2:38 am Comments (0)

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!

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 was 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).

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September 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm Comments (14)

Learning the Freestyle Kick

Dear Swim Professor:

How would I get a beginning swimmer to kick properly with the kick board? I used the kinesthetic feedback and manipulated their legs for them. I even had swim lessons student show me the difference between good and bad kicks, but they reverted right back to kicking with their legs up under their body.   I appreciate any help you can give me.

Coach Arielle

Dear Coach Arielle,

Quite frankly, it sounds like you are doing a lot of great things.  You obviously studied the “Foundations of Teaching Video Course” In fact, you are incorporating some of the best techniques available.  In today’s blog, I will go over some fundamentals that may help you.  But before I do that, allow me to say this:

Making technique changes or breaking bad habits, whether it be learning to kick properly or correcting someone’s golf swing, is typically a process, not an event.

So when you practice all these excellent teaching techniques, i.e., the “right vs. wrong way,” kinesthetic feedback, demonstrations, etc., all it does is improves their ability to get it right sooner, but those corrections are rarely instantaneous.   This is why two of the most important characteristics teacher’s have are “patience and persistence.” Don’t give up on your students and keep coming back to it, while being positive, reassuring, and encouraging all the while.   You also have to sell to them that “they will get it.”  You have to help your students BELIEVE.   You know the saying: “if you can believe it, you can achieve it.”   That’s the first step.

From a technical aspect, here are a few other questions that I would have  that will make learning the flutter kick easier:

1.  Are the arms extended straight? (you want the arms straight)

2.  Is the chin near the water?  (it’s important that it is near the water)

3.  Are the arms on top of the board? (they should be)

4.  Are the thumbs on top, fingers on the bottom? (they should be)

5.  Is the student pressing down on the board and sinking it?  (you don’t want that)

6.  Is the student on top of the board? (you don’t want that)

Once your beginning swimming student is holding the board correctly, then you want to make sure you are doing the following ( I know you were doing many of these):

1.  Demonstrate it correctly and have your students watch something specific, i.e., watch how my legs are extended almost straight behind me, not under me).

2.  Use good cues:   I want to see “Small, fast kicks!”  “Fast feet!”

3.  Demonstrate the “right vs. the wrong way:”  Watch how my kicks are small and fast, and watch how my legs are extended behind me.”  Now watch me kick incorrectly.  See how I don’t go anywhere when me knees draw underneath me?”

4.  Kinesthetic Feedback:  Like you were saying, let them feel it done right, wrong, then right again.  Also, try placing your forearm underneath the legs just above the knees to prevent the knees from drawing forward.

5.  Practice, Practice, Practice.   Even though we don’t like to see skills practiced incorrectly, in many instances, that is the only way the learner will learn to get it right.   When your student starts to feel the difference between doing the skill correctly vs. incorrectly, this will encourage them make that change for good.

Hope that helps, coach!

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 was 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).

 

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July 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm Comments (0)