The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Demonstration Tips for Swimming Instructors

When giving demonstrations in your learn-to-swim classes, there are a number of critical factors that should be taken into consideration. In fact, numerous studies have been conducted to support the following demonstration considerations:

  • Status of the model (Landers and Landers, 1973)
  • When the model should begin demonstrating (McCullagh, Weis, and Ross, 1989)
  • Correctness of the demonstration (Landers and Landers, 1973)
  • Observing incorrect demonstrations (Weir & Leavitt, 1990)
  • Frequency of demonstrations (Sidaway 1992)

My goal in this blog/video on demonstrations, however, is to focus in on how the age and skill level should influence your demonstration.

Here are a Few Demonstration Guidelines:

Young Beginners (Swim 101):

      • Limit your demonstrations (one or two is sufficient).
      • Have them seated on a step or bench (keep them in the water).
      • Perform your demonstrations toward the students so you can see them at all times.

Stroke-Ready (Swim Strokes 201) or school aged beginners(Swim 102/103):

  • Limit your demonstrations (one or two is sufficient).
  • Keeping your students safety in mind, you may want these students to stand so they get a better look at what you are demonstrating (Standing gives them a higher vantage point which may be helpful).
  • Keeping safety in mind (each class is different), providing your students a look at the skill from different angles can be especially helpful (see video embedded below).

Advanced Strokes (Advanced Swim Strokes 300 or Lifesaving Strokes 400):

  • Provide a third demonstration if you feel it would be helpful and that you still have your student’s attention
  • Keeping your students safety in mind, you may want these students to stand so they get a better look at what you are demonstrating (Standing gives them a higher vantage point which may be helpful).
  • Keeping safety in mind (each class is different), providing your students a look at the skill from different angles can be especially helpful (see video embedded below).

Three More Helpful Tips for ALL Ages and Skill Levels:

  1. Don’t just demonstrate when a skill is new.   Demonstrate anytime you feel that feedback alone isn’t getting the job done. “Seeing it” again can be huge!
  2. Make sure that you are performing the skill correctly.       Students are very good at replicating what they see (right or wrong).
  3. Compare and contrast. Show the skill correctly vs. the skill incorrectly vs. the skill correctly again.

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  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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November 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm Comments (0)

Swim Lessons University to hold Swim Instructor Training at ASCA World Clinic in New Orleans

The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) has partnered up with Swim Lessons University to offer a post conference workshop at their Annual World Clinic in New Orleans this fall! Swim Instructors, Aquatic Directors, and Learn-to-swim coaches can now take advantage of the event. This affordable conference will feature four information-packed, entertaining talks featuring BRAND NEW VIDEO FOOTAGE throughout the Swim Professor’s power point presentations. The topics covered in those presentations are as follows:

Talk #1: NO MORE TEARS! Secrets to Teaching Parent & Tot Lessons using a Progressive, Child-Centered Approach.

Talk #2: PRE-SCHOOLERS CAN SWIM! An Innovative, Child-Centered Approach that Creates a Lifelong Love of the Water.


Talk #4: THE BUSINESS SIDE: Using Social Media, Marketing, Scheduling & More!

Look what these instructors had to say:

“Thanks for the great workshop. You are a terrific teacher. You are very thorough and insightful. You clearly have a desire and an ability to connect with everyone, regardless of or perhaps with an extra appreciation for our respective backgrounds. We are all teachers and our time (my time for sure) with you added to our tool box so we can be better, more effective teachers. Thanks Jim. Keep sharing your insights and passion for safety, teaching and aquatics.”
– Allan Kopel – USA Swimming Coach
Haverhill, Massachusetts

“Today I have been blessed. I am here at Jim’s Orlando Conference. I have already learned so much. Anyone who follows Jim on his website and through facebook gets to see great clips and I have always appreciated that, but to meet with him in a class you get to see that the love for kids and swim he speaks about is very sincere. Thanks Jim for the inspiration and confidence to be the “BEST” instructors. You have made me a better instructor and for that I will forever be grateful. What an awesome day at the conference! Thank you so much Jim for offering a “wealth” of information.”
– Michelle Smith, Instructor Swim School Owner

The conference will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at the New Orleans Marriot on 555 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. The Swim Lessons University workshop led by Jim Reiser will be held from 10:00AM – 5:00PM. If you don’t want to attend the entire ASCA event, you can simply book the SLU workshop for just $95.00. Call ASCA today at 1-800-356-2722 to secure your spot. You can book your hotel for just $115 per night with ASCA rate!

“We are honored that ASCA has made our workshop an official post-conference event for this year’s World Clinic,” says Jim Reiser, Executive Director of Swim Lessons University. “While you can simply pay for and attend our workshop at ASCA through ASCA, you will find attending ASCA to be an awesome opportunity. I would strongly encourage you to consider attending both our workshop as well as other ASCA talks and events.”
For more information, email Jim Reiser at To enroll, go to the ASCA Website and enroll today for just $95.00!

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June 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm Comments (0)

Swim Instructor Online Training

Swim Lessons University training videos, testing, and swim instructor certifications are now available online!

  • Have you ever had trouble getting your entire staff of swim teachers together for training?  In other words, you would have 2 or 3 instructors not show up, resulting in YOU having to teach the entire training session over just for those few that were absent?


  • Would you like your current Red Cross Water Safety Instructors, Lifeguards, SwimAmerica coaches, YMCA Swim Instructors, etc. to further their background, add to their credentials, and improve the quality of your learn to swim classes?

Swim Lessons University can help and we now feature online videos and online testing in addition to the actual DVDs.   Not to mention, you can pick which SLU courses you want your swim instructors to take!  Pick one, two, three, or all seven–that’s up to you!  You’re the boss!

Up until March 1, 2011, we were basically able to offer the DVD course to purchase, and then after showing it to your staff, you would send them to the Swim Lessons University website to take the online tests for just an additional $10.

But now you have a CHOICE!  For smaller swim schools, you may still find the previously mentioned method of training and testing the most feasible.  However, if you have a large school or you simply like the convenience, you can have your swim instructors purchase the online video and test for $35.00.

Check it out today!  Here’s a link that will show you the options for ordering the TEACH LIKE A PRO Instructor’s Course, for an example.

Questions!  Email me for a FREE phone appointment at

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March 3, 2011 at 12:32 am Comments (3)