The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Do You have the Thunderstorm Blues? Swim Lessons, Swim Safety, and Customer Service

One of the most frustrating things for parents, swim teachers, and swim school owners to deal during Summer Swim Lessons is thunderstorms.  Parents get mad when we cancel, parents get mad when we don’t.  As a parent, I am certainly sympathetic.  I know how hard it is to get my three children in the car, go to the pool, and then have to disappoint them that they can’t swim.

I often encourage parents to take lessons with us in the fall, winter, and spring when thunderstorms are less likely.  Mornings and early evening time slots (before 6PM) prove to be less likely to have storms than the later evening times.  My personal experience over the years is that storms tend to roll in between 6-6:30PM most often, and July seems to be the biggest month for thunderstorms.  If I was a gambler and could win lots of money predicting storms, I think I would head to Las Vegas and retire young.  I am not a gambler, though.  I am a swim teacher.  I am a swim school owner, and my family depends on you taking swimming lessons with us (even in July)—so please don’t stop enrolling!

I have been in this business for over 20 years and I experience it every summer.  There is no full proof solution for the problem, including the weather channel and forecasts and even radar, which are right some of the time and wrong some of the time, and we are looking at them when we are trying to make the right decision.   We recently had to cancel class when there was an isolated storm that hung over just one of our 8 locations, and to make matters worse that happened two nights in a row for the 6:30 class.  According to the local weather the night before, the chance of thunderstorms was 0%!   Then there are days when the weather calls for an 80% chance of storms and we get nothing.  While there are few exceptions, we can only occasionally make a decision to cancel for the night an hour or so before classes start based on the weather forecast.

As teachers and swim schools, we can’t control “mother nature.  Fortunately many summer thunderstorms pass over quickly.  For instance, last night by 7:15 pm the storm that had me cancel my 6 & 6:30 class had passed and I was able to coach my swim team kids without a problem.  That’s why on many evenings it’s better to  take a “wait and see” approach the storms often pass over when it seems like there is no hope.  But there’s no way to know how long.  Sometimes it’s 15-20 minutes, sometimes it’s 45 minutes, others it’s an hour or more.

You can also go to most any summer league swim meet and see similar “wait and see” approaches being taken because these storms do pass, and kids will be all over the deck.   You see this often too at neighborhood and residential pools.   What’s most dangerous is being wet on the deck without shoes and not under cover.   Yet I’ve seen countless pools over the years where guards get kids out of the pool but they’re hanging around the pool in bear feet, sometimes even near the side splashing the water.  This is clearly unsafe.

My research tells me the best thing to do if lightning is near is to seek shelter and clear the pool deck which is what we do.   By the way, as far as I know there has never been a person stuck and killed in an indoor pool. I can’t find statistics specifically on outdoor pools.  According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, lightning studies from NOAA over a 35-year period are not detailed and show only generalized activities or locations of lightning victims as below:

  • Open fields/ballparks = 26.8%
  • Under trees = 13.7%
  • Water related (fishing/boating/swimming) = 8.1%
  • Golfing = 3.9%
  • Driving machinery = 3.0%
  • Telephone-related = 2.4%
  • Radios/antennas = 0.7%
  • All others/unknown categories = 40.4%

Statistics also show that one’s chances of being struck by lightning are .34 in one million.

Back to what we do as a swim school when it comes to cancellations, thunderstorms, and customer service.

First we have a cancellation hotline set up which is 803-561-0226.  The moment we decide to cancel classes at a given location I announce it on the hotline.  I usually also announce the make up schedule.   On occasion, if we have multiple cancellations, I will refer our parents to our website for the make up schedule.

As far as make-ups and rescheduling, etc., we offer the following options:

1.  A scheduled make-up class at the same time on a designated day of the week, i.e., Friday, which we currently keep open for make-ups.  In fact, in our outdoor locations, we keep Thursday and Friday open because of the likelihood of cancellations.

2.  If that doesn’t work out, our customers can schedule make-ups just prior to the second week or back half of a session once we are done actively registering new students.  I want to always maintain the integrity of the student: teacher ratios and that’s why we’d need to wait until the back half of the session.

3.  Our customers can take a credit that has no expiration date and use it against any future swim class, including the fall and winter when storms are as not likely to occur.

The last thing we want to do is risk anyone’s safety.  Again, this is the reason we send children and parents to their cars at our outdoor locations to take cover.  We don’t allow anyone on the pool deck if there is a storm close

If we cancelled lessons every time there are isolated or scattered storms in the forecast, no one would ever learn to swim.   We would literally lose half the summer.   Fortunately, most of these storms come and go.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I want every parent to know this:  YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT, AND I RESPECT WHATEVER DECISION YOU MAKE, WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR CHILD’S SAFETY.  I RESPECT A PARENT’S DECISION 100% if they decide that he/she doesn’t want to put their child back in the water after we determined a storm has passed.  I am always happy to honor a make-up, reschedule, etc.  Any of the alternatives I mentioned above.

I am in the business of water safety and have been my whole life.  It is my passion to make children safer in and around the water.   When we decide to get back in the water because the storm has appeared to have passed, nevertheless, it is still a judgment call, and your judgment for your child is the only one that matters.

But I will leave all my readers at this.   My rule of thumb is to make the same judgment call for my customers as I would for my own children.

, , , , , , , , ,
July 26, 2010 at 7:20 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 jnitti@swimamerica.org For your convenience, all major credit cards are accepted. Call Julie today!

, , , , , , , , , ,
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!

Steps

  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.


Video

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


Tips

  • Visit www.swimlessonsuniversity.com

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.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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: http://aiconnect.ning.com

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

How to Become a Professional Swimming Instructor

How to Become a Professional Swimming Instructor

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Do you want to be considered a “Swimming Professional?” In this article, you will learn some simple steps to becoming a pro!

Steps

  1. Become a member of at least one reputable, nationally recognized organizations. Here are the ones I belong to: American Swim Coaches Association, United States Swimming, United States Swim School Association, National Drowning Prevention Alliance, and the World Aquatic Babies and Children’s Network.
  2. Become safety certified. At the very least, get a certification in CPR. If you’re teaching only children, you can get a specialized certification in Infant CPR and/or Child CPR. A First Aid certification is also important, and a Lifeguard certification is strongly recommended, but not required.
  3. Become a certified teacher or coach. The American Sport Effectiveness program has terrific courses you can take right online. The American Swim Coaches Association has similar home study courses that you will find extremely beneficial. There are others as well, including but not limited to SwimAmerica (one of ASCA numerous programs), Starfish Aquatics, the American Red Cross,the YMCA, etc.
  4. Commit yourself to continuously educating yourself and taking advantage of all the tremendous resources available today. You can make up to $100 per hour if you do a great job. YOUR PERFORMANCE DETERMINES THE BOTTOM LINE. If your students are learning and loving your class, if their parents love the way you work with their children–your client list will grow AND FAST! If you do a bad job on the other hand, the word will spread 10x AS FAST!
  5. Use Swim Lessons University. Swim Lessons University will give you a blueprint to success! Not only does Swim Lessons Univ. make it easy, it’s also an affordable way to get a competitive edge. You can order DVD courses for $35 or less where you can see real classes with real students! You can even see FREE SAMPLES of the videos right on the website so you can see the quality of the DVD instruction before ordering, and they all come with a “satisfaction guarantee.” Go to www.swimlessonsuniversity.com


Tips

  • Visit www.swimlessonsuniversity.com for instructional swimming DVDs.
  • Email jreiser@swimprofessor.com for more advice and tips.

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 Become a Professional Swimming Instructor. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
November 4, 2009 at 7:50 pm Comments (0)

New “Teaching Babies Better” video NOW IN STOCK!

If you have already purchased your copy of the new “Teaching Babies Better” DVD, it will be shipped this week!

One of the 22 Success Strategies  in my brand video that I think you’ll really enjoy watching is how you can prevent your new infants and toddler swimmers from becoming  upset.  As you know, keeping your water babies happy is the key to a stress-free Parent & Me swimming lessons class!

In “Teaching Babies Better,” you learn how to take advantage of an often small window of opportunity to be successful.   Keep more of your young students happy . . . order your copy of  “Teaching Babies Better” today at www.swimlessonsuniversity.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
November 1, 2009 at 10:02 pm Comments (2)

Lifeguards!!! Can you hear me?

Teach swimming lessons and make more cash!

5 STEPS TO MAKING $100 PER HOUR

How much money do you make an hour?  $8 – $10 per hour?  Lifeguarding is a nice summer job.  You get tan, you’re around lots of beautiful people, and the spirits around the swimming pool are usually great!

But wouldn’t you rather make $80 to $100 per hour than $8- $10?  Of course you would!  And you probably can!

In this article, I’m going to get you started with 5 simple steps to making a bunch of money next summer!

Now onto the FUN STUFF!

Step #1: Prepare Yourself NOW in the off-season.

If you want the buzz among parents at the pool to be what an incredible teacher are–then you have to do your homework now!

The easiest way to become a Professional Swim Instructor is to visit Swim Lessons University and order the DVD videos that will show you EXACTLY how to teach swimming.  From baby swimming to butterfly, you will find it all here.   Not only will you get to see how the pros do it, but you can also get these DVD’s for no more than $35.00 per DVD course!  You will make that in your first half hour of teaching!

Step #2: Make Yourself Marketable!

On your flier, you want to be able to include credentials that will give parents confidence to hire you in the first place.  Here are several I’d recommend:

  • Swim Lessons University trained
  • Member & Certified Coach by American Swim Coaches Association
  • Member of United States Swim School Association
  • Member of World Aquatic Babies & Children’s Network
  • Certified in Life guarding, CPR, & First Aid

You don’t have to do all of these, but swim association memberships, swim instructor training, and swim certifications sure looks great and they will all help you in the long run.

Step #3: Show that you are “proven” through testimonials.

If you go to The Swim Lessons Company website, you will see a whole link dedicated to “Parent Testimonials.”  When you go to the Swim Lessons University website, you will see a page dedicated to “Expert Endorsements.”  Does it establish a rapport?   Of course it does!  These are real comments by real customers!

So you ask, what if I never taught before?  No problem.  You know someone who has kids right?  You’re good with them right?  That’s all parents need to know to get you started!  Tell the parent what you’re doing and ask the parent to write 2 or 3 sentences on “how well you work with their daughter or son.”   When I interview teacher candidates, I often have them play something or teach something to my son.  To me, it’s very easy with the Swim Lessons University DVD’s to train someone to teach who is great with children.   And that’s what parents want to know too when they are considering hiring you!

Step #4   Start your summer job search in January!
This is critical because you need to have time to explore all your options.  Some jobs are going to be more attractive than others depending on the employer.  But what you most likely want to do is look at all area country clubs (there are other options) and secure a lifeguard job where they permit you to teach on the side in addition to your regular lifeguard hours.

Step #5   Dive in!  Let the fun begin and the money come in!

Promote yourself, your schedule, your rates, and determine how you will collect your fees.  I have tons of personal experience I could lend you here.  For example, at the first country club I taught at they let me put my flier in every newsletter.   All I had to do was stuff’em!   Put together and decide on whether your customers will have to sign up for a session or if they can sign up for one at a time.   Decide what size classes you are going to offer, i.e., privates, semi-privates, trios, quads or a combination.

Congratulations—you are an entrepreneur!  It’s a profitable, fun, and rewarding experience. Nothing is ever the same and you will always be growing and changing with the times.   If you would have questions or would like some personal advice, you will be excited to know that during my off season (August thru January) I offer a very reasonably priced “One–on-one Personal Consultation Service.”  You can call me toll free at 1-866-498-7946 or enroll online at www.swimlessonsuniversity.com I look forward to helping you and sincerely wish you all the success!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
October 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm Comments (0)