When your child begins to like swimming,
it is almost impossible to make him/her quit. There are numerous benefits from swimming;
teamwork, reliance, winning attitude, compassion, fair play, setting and
reaching goals etc.
many children have the option to choose swimming as their main sport or have
the privilege to swim regularly? How many kids have their parents as swimming role
models? How many parents could motivate their kids to engage in swimming? How
could swimming become a lifelong activity? How parents could provide consistent
constructive support to their kid around their practices, games and events?
It is well
accepted that parents are an essential drive for a kid to choose an activity. They
are role models and if they are doing an activity it is very likely that their
kid will follow their example. Swimming,
biking, hiking with your family are not just activities, it is a lifestyle.
love of swimming leads to the next step, the guidance of a professional – a
coach. Being in a team, teach children of the complete set of rules, quality technique
and how to have more fun while doing the sport they love.
Parents must show
a genuine interest about how practices are going and how their children feel. As we all know, the secret is in the good
attitude and the support of children’s interests!
However, between work, school, and home life; it can get very hectic trying to get children where they need to be. Some swimmers could even play consecutive and sometimes concurrent seasons of football, basketball and track. Thus, the process to arrange that support could be super cumbersome, expensive and time consuming! As a result, children could be constantly late or missing practices and events. Overwhelmed parents provide less and less support; in this situation everybody suffers (athlete, parent, and team).
This is a
parent problem that everyone who raises/supports a child who swims can relate
to. However, despite that problem, parents
continue to run down the side-lines because they love supporting their children
and watching them swim. The joy of seeing of how children develop into leaders
and team players both on and off the pool is immense. Therefore, no matter how
hard it gets, parents must keep up with the swimming schedule of their children
by seeking ways to provide their consistent support. That is how parents become superheroes!
Relax, children acknowledge that parents do all that is possible to take them to practice, to do what they love, to swim. If a dedicated kid skips practice because his mom could not find a way to manage her day, that kid could find way to compensate that loss by putting her sports watch or just using an app at her mobile phone to track a run practice in the local park. The most important for kids is to have a great role model and motivation to continue forward because parents and children are also part of one team.
Show your children
your dedication and you will see dedication!
Even though, participating in youth sports is expensive enough on its own, between travel, gear and the food; not to mention policies that don’t allow kids 16 and under to ride, parents should not give up on providing the best support they could give. They should even search for technological innovations. For instance, if a mom has four kids with four different activities, she could think of a trusted ridesharing community. There may be other superhero moms that could make the participating in youth sports not so cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive.
That is how Parents
and kids both become superheroes!
In conclusion, be supportive, get your swim suit and dive into the joy of swimming with your children. When it gets tough, find ways to consistently provide to your children what they love because that helps them be more confident and excited about practicing their favorite sport, swimming.
The following recommendations apply during extreme weather conditions for outdoor programs:
Rain has little effect on swimmers unless it is accompanied by thunder, lightning and/or wind, although it does make it more difficult to hear the coach. If there is electrical activity, the session should be cancelled. Where possible, a classroom lecture should be made available during inclement weather. However, if the rain is not accompanied by wind, lightning and thunder then the session can proceed. Breaststroke is the most appropriate stroke to practice in rain. Fins are also a valued training aid in rainy conditions to counteract the effect of turbulence.
Cold is not conductive to listening and learning. If it is necessary to use a cold environment it is advisable for swimmers to practice frequent repetitions of skills on land. Coaches should develop cold weather practice routines that encourages continuous movement to keep swimmers warm, for example coaches should avoid long-winded descriptions and discussions with swimmers standing stills.
Coaches should be aware of the danger signs of hypothermia (shivering, blush lips, ‘goose pimples’). Swimmers showing event the early signs of hypothermia should be removed from the water and all efforts made to gradually warm them, including:
removal of wet swimming costumes;
covering the body (particularly the head) with warm, dry clothing – ideally natural fabrics like wool;
removal of the swimmer from the environment (ie if cold and windy outside look for indoor or sheltered training facilities).
In windy conditions coaches should ensure that swimmer do not expose their bodies to the weather. This is a good time to practice kicking against the wind and swimming with the wind. Diving into the wind is not advisable for safety reasons.
If the facility has backstroke flags and markings, backstroke is the best activity to practice in windy conditions. Butterfly is the least desirable activity in windy conditions, as a large percentage of the body is exposed to the wind each stroke. It is advisable to use fins in windy conditions.
Coaches must ensure that all swimmers use sunblock (30 Plus SPF, applied at least 30 minutes prior to outdoor activity) of adequate strength and if possible, wear a sun protection suit. All swimmers should also be encouraged to bring their own water bottles and drink regularly throughout each session. Care should be taken to ensure that each swimmer has their own drink bottle with their name written on it, the bottle is kept clean and they never share drink bottles with other group members.
The coach should set a good example by also having a drink bottle and drinking from it regularly.
During extreme weather conditions, it is advisable to have extra teaching support. If there is a problem with pool length and depth visibility, the practice session can either be redirected to the shallow end for turning practice or cancelled until conditions are acceptable. The coach must always have a back-up plan to cope with any adverse weather conditions.
Wet weather lesson plans can include the following:
running – light jogging and relaxed easy paced running;
skipping rope – light easy skipping, with some vigorous skipping thrown in at intervals;
stretch cords – smooth easy and rhythmic to start with then hold race rhythm and rating as intervals;
basketball/football/tennis ball – group games and ball games must be controlled and well supervised!
showers to get warm then stretch;
spa and stretch (if available);
jump starts practice (ie practicing starts by jumping into a sand pit or soft grassed area);
medicine ball or ‘physio ball’ routines;
circuit training with body weight exercises;
breathing and yoga-style relaxations exercises;
reaction games;group-building games.
Swimmers learn best when the sun is not a distraction and water temperature is between 26 and 32 degrees Celsuius, depending on the season. An outdoor pools is great for group training but climatic conditions, such as heavy rain, storms, wind or a scorching sun, can make for a difficult environment.
It is advisable to vary the training environment to enable swimmers to experience different conditions. An indoor center provides reference points, such as beams running parallel to the pool which help the swimmer to travel in a straight line when swimming backstroke. However, in an outdoor pool swimmers can project their vision to a landmark, such as a tree, a light pole or the block at the end of their lane.
An indoor pool is great for learning, because weather conditions are controlled. As long as water quality, water temperature and air temperature are ideal, an indoor pool is the perfect learning environment, especially for young swimmers, children.
Some outdoor pools are cold and have short seasons of operation. In this situation, classes need to be short and sharp, with minimum talk and more action.
Sculling drills may be used to develop a ‘feeling’ of moving effectively through the water. These drills are designed to emphasize four key stroke components:
core body strength;
The sequence of sculling drills is ideally performed immediately following a series of basic Pilates core stability or Swiss ball exercises. The sculling sequence builds upon the principle of trunk stability initiated during the land-based exercises. Swimmers must maintain a strong, stable body position during the execution of drills, kicking exercises and sculling.
Core body strength drill
This drill involves rotating the body on land to develop strength and control within the body. The swimmer lies prone (on stomach) with the arms outstretched, then rotates onto back (supine position), pausing on the side before rotating fully. The rotation is the reversed, again with a pause on the side before the rotation is completed.
Horizontal front skull – flat wrist
With arms extended with body in prone position, and head out of water, the legs gently kick alternately (flutter) to stabilize horizontal body position. Hands and arms with a flat wrist, the palms facing downwards. The body remains in the same position in the water.
Horizontal front scull – wrist up
In the same position as for the flat wrist drill, the hands fingers drop down but the wrists are up. Using this sculling technique, the body moves forwards in the water.
Horizontal front scull wrist down
In the same position as for the flat wrist drill, the wrists angle down and the hands fingers point up in the water, causing the body to move backwards.
Horizontal front scull – with maximum kick
In the same position as for the wrist-down-fingers-up, the swimmer kicks powerfully but sculls fast, wrist down, to prevent forwards movement.
Roll left and right – and right-left combinations
The body rotates in the water, with the legs gently kicking and the arms outstretched and sculling. The swimmer rotates from front to back and the returns. Rotations to both sides can be combined as a rotation drill.
Essential Endurance+ Medalist Swimsuit
Essential Endurance+ Medalist Swimsuit
Front somersault -with scull
The swimmer adopts prone sculling position with arms out in front and sculls before rotating forwards. Sculling continues after the rotation.
The swimmer may also practice this drill by pulling one arm at a time back first. They practice on both arms, alternating a different one pulling first.
Back somersault – with scull
The swimmer adopts the same position as for the ‘front somersault – with scull’ drill but rotates backwards. Again, the swimmer continues culling after rotations.
Knees out of water
The swimmer adopts a tuck position on the back with the head out of the water and vigorously sculls on to the sides to maintain body position.
Knees out of water – left 360 degrees
The swimmer adopts the same position as for the ‘knees out of water’ drill but angles hands to face the right and rotates to the left. The opposite hand to the direction of travel angles to create the rotations. The body travels in a clockwise direction.
Knees out of water – right 360 degrees
The swimmer adopts the same position as for the ‘knees out of water’ drill but angles the hand to face the left and rotates to the right. The body travels in an anticlockwise direction.
Flat body position – right 360 degrees
The body rests flat in the water (supine) and is quite still as the left hand creates the rotations to the right.
Flat body position – left 360 degrees
The body rests flat on the water (supine) and is quite still as the right hand creates the rotation to the left.
Vertical kick – straight arm scull
The body is vertical in the water and the swimmer flutter kicks to maintain position. The arms gradually rise above the head to an outstretched position and the scull to maintain body position. The flutter kick is faster as the arms rise out the water.
Reverse vertical kick – arms extended scull
The swimmer is upside down in the water and the arms extend towards the bottom of the pool. The feed are kept very still to maintain the inverted position. The arms then scull vigorously at the side to maintain this difficult position. It is also important to control breathing (exhalation) in this position.
Scull fly turn
The swimmer sculls out in front in a prone position, kicking gently, and then turns as if hitting the wall for the fly turn. The swimmer continues sculling after the turn.
Scull breast turn
The same drill as the ‘scull fly turn’ but the swimmer angles arm behind the head during the turn which is a recommended technique. The swimmer continues sculling after the turn.
Advanced drills include a series of turns to improve turning technique and sculling efficiency.
Scull fly/back turn
Body start in prone position with arms sculling in front. The body turns from front to back and the sculling continues with arms extended.
The body is in supine position with the left hand and arm above the head and right hand at the side. The swimmer rotates from back to front, with one hand forwards from the body. After the turn the arms continue sculling and the body is outstretched.
The swimmer starts sculling with arms outstretched and then turns. Arms continue to scull out in front of the body.
The swimmer sculls in front of the body and the performs the breaststroke turn. Sculling continues with outstretched arms.
Same routine as for the ‘breast/breast turn’.
Vertical fly kick
The swimmer adopts a vertical position and starts the dolphin kick. As the swimmer stabilizes the position, the arms rise out of the water to an outstretched position and re-enter the water. Then the arms scull at the side.
Fly kick on side
The swimmer dolphin kick on the side. One arm is extended in front of the head, sculling, and the other arm is by the side. The swimmer then turns onto the opposite side to repeat the drill (left and right sides).
The swimmer completes two freestyle arms before rotating forwards and continuing the stroke. The swimmer turns after two, four and then six strokes. After the drill is completed the swimmer sculls. This drill can be repeated after the first sequence is finished.
Effective teaching and coaching is all about effective and appropriate communication. The ability of the coach to present information to learners in a format and manner that is meaningful for each individual is one of the key attributes of the successful introductory strokes development program.
A coach must be able to assess when it is appropriate to use certain presentation styles. In some instances, a combination of several styles may be called for.
It is crucial that the coach is aware of the teaching style they adopt in each situation; that is, they should be proactive in their application of coaching techniques rather than reactive to the stress and demands of the teaching environment.
However, in order to cater for the needs of all swimmers, a flexible approach for any session is essential. An effective communication style aims to get the best out of each swimmer. Coaches should not be concerned if they change their style. What is important is that the swimmer responds positively to the presentation style and progresses optimally.
The personality of the coach plays a big part in the presentation of each session. The age, level of experience and maturity of the swimmer will also have an impact of the presentation style. When a swimmer and instructor work together, there is a meeting of two different personalities. The coach has to assess haw the swimmer will respond best. As the coach learns more about the swimmers’personality, the communication process improves.
Friendly and approachable
Many swimmers respond well to a friendly and approachable coach. As long as the ground rules are set, this style of communication is popular and effective. If the coach is able to maintain discipline within the group, this style works well. The friendly and approachable coach must ensure that swimmers understand that their training behavior will be reflected in their results; their success will be based on their own motivation to achieve goals.
Using first names will help to create a casual and friendly atmosphere. Coaches should take time to learn the names of each learned by the second lesson in the program.
Clear, precise and directive
The coach’s aim is to maximise practice time by giving direct instructions. Swimmers respond well to clear and precise instructions. Good demonstrations and accurate, sharp instructions are what swimmers need in the busy and noisy aquatics environment. A direct approach allows swimmers to complete their tasks, maximize their use of the time allocated and develop their skills within that time.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch
Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch
Humor when appropriate
Humor can help to create a relaxed environment. A joke can often relieve tension and contribute to the groups spirit and good atmosphere within the group. A coach who adopts a serious approach – without any flexibility – may cause swimmers to lose interest because they do not learn to enjoy their training. However, an overdose of humor can cause a decrease in productivity. Sarcasm is not recommended at any time. The challenge for the new coach is to establish a teaching environment that is conductive to effective learning, has defined, clear boundaries in terms of behavior standards, yet is fun and enjoyable to be involved with.
The use of group ‘nicknames’ can work well and create a close group of swimmers who enjoy the common bond of training and having their own swim group names. However, quite the opposite situation can develop if the ‘nicknames’ reinforce poor skill levels or highlight physical features such as body shape and/or size or some other negative aspect. The coach should monitor group dynamics and humor to ensure a harmonious learning environment is developed.
Casual when appropriate
A relaxed, casual coach style may help to dispel tension. However, if the coach is too casual and swimmers take advantage of this behavior, control can be lost.
A coach must create a situation whereby the swimmers respect the coach, and choose a presentation style that will bring out the best in the swimmers.
Organized and efficient
Planning and preparation are the key to any good program. The coach must strive to be organized in every aspect of swimming. This will relay a message to the swimming community that the coach is serious about achieving goals and is a well-trained aquatics professional. The high level of motivation demonstrated by the coach will set an example to swimmers. If the coach is well organized, time will be saved in moving from activity to activity. The efficient coach aims to increase productivity and minize disruptions in the group.
A “critical friend”
Some swimmers do not respond well to criticism, whereas others will use the feedback as a learning experience and strive to improve. However, without constructive criticism a swimmer can’t improve. Swimmers need a coach to point out what they need to work on. They can then focus on their weaknesses until they become strengths. As long as the criticism is constructive, swimmers will respond positively to the stroke development challenges suggested by the coach.
It is important to assess how each swimmer respond to criticism. How it is delivered will have an impact on how the swimmer responds. Any criticism should be done in private. Present criticism as a positive challenge to improve. Some swimmers respond well to harsh criticism, becoming more motivated and thus achieving good results. The good coach is able to use criticism in a productive way. Never underestimate the ‘I’ will show you’ attitude that some swimmers have – it can help them to achieve great goals. This is particularly so with high-achieving swimmers.
It can also be useful to talk as a group when addressing any faults. For example: ‘‘How about trying to get our hands in line with our shoulders when entering the water. This will stop us zigzagging.“
Motivational and encouraging
A coach who shows enthusiasm and energy on the pool deck is likely to motivate the swimmers. However, the training environment will rearely provide a stimulus more exciting than that encountered at a competition.
Motivational words from the coach can have enormous impact on th eswimmer. Motivation is a major factor in determining successful performance. When swimmers understand that true motivation comes from within they are more likely to achieve success.
A swimmer’s motivation is likely to decrease if personal goal are not being achieved. Motivation to improve skills should be high all the time, not just for a short period before any given competition.
The coach should maximize motivation by giving praise sensibly. As swimmers learn and develop, praise must be generous. Every swimmer should receive some positive words in every lesson they have. However, praise must also be earned – and felt to be earned – in order for the swimmer to respect it.If used all the time, the impact diminishes.
Some swimmers performing at high levels respond to a regimented approach. A rigid, disciplined approach is sometimes necessary for elite performance, when the difference between winning and losing can be a millimeter. Champion swimmers respond to a disciplined training environment – they need it to perform at an optimum level. Many high-level coaches are good disciplinarians – they create a productive atmosphere in the group. However, the nature of the discipline needs to develop not destroy.
As with most teaching tools, discipline when used intelligently and with a logical purpose is an important aspect of an effective teaching program.
However, coaches must be flexible enough to allow fun and relaxed period in any group. Their training must be enjoyable and challenging. It is the coach’s role to achieve the right balance – a disciplined yet enjoyable training environment.
Instructors provide important information for swimmers in the form of feedback. Feedback can be verbal, written, visual and tactile. Video analysis has become a crucial part of feedback for any level swimmer (www.swimmind.com). Swimmers are often surprised when they see themselves swimming, not realizing that their stroke often appears different from how it “feels.”
The learner’s brain will learn the correct and incorrect technique equally well. In the early stages of learning, the instructor should correct the swimmer by providing positive, constructive feedback as often as possible. Lack of supervision or quality control at any step makes the next step more demanding or more difficult. This is common mistake in many Learn to Swim Schools that do not provide much individual attention to its swimmers, having large groups of swimmers without following any system. In this respect, it is alsoimportant to maintain the quality of previous skills as a drill progresses or moves to the next step. Thus, if swimmers do not get enough attention from their instructors they could use video analysis which, now, with www.swimmind.com is not only for competitive swimmers.
The instructor must feed regular information to each swimmer. Generally it must be positive, constructive and effective for the swimmer. Giving a simple ‘good‘ is not adequate. The skill practice may be ‘good’ but why is it ‘good’ and can it be improved? If so, how can it be improved?
As long as the instructor is giving effective feedback and the swimmer is progressing steadily, the swimmers is productive.
For example, when Susie attempts a new stroke drill, the instructor says:
“Hey Brian, that was a great effort [start with something positive]. I liked the way you worked your kick during that drill. In this next lap, I want you to think about how your elbows are moving when you do this [give demonstration]. Can you show me? [swimmer gives feedback and demonstration of the key element of the drill before pushing off]
To tailor programs to suit the needs of swimmers, instructors should encourage swimmers to participate in the program design. Swimmers and instructors can meet together to work out a program or seasonal plan for competition. Recent sporting successes of leading competitive swimming teams have shown that swimmer input is very motivating for individuals and the team as a whole. However, they must have the maturity to give useful input. The instructor should provide an opportunity for all interested swimmers to voice their opinion then judge whether their input is useful and worthwhile. This should be done away from the pool deck at group/team meetings to avoid possible conflicts between instructor and swimmers during training.
This is also a good time to have the group set behaviour and discipline standards for the group, such as the following:
Being on time
Listening to instructions
Talking responsibility for own training gear
Bringing a water bottle to every session
Telling the instructor if I am sick or injured
Being rude or disrespectful to the instructor or anyone at the pool
Drinking from someone else’s drink bottle
Fastskin Xenon Male Wetsuit for Triathletes
Fastskin Xenon Male Wetsuit for Triathletes
Modifications to style and method
Instructors must be aware that certain instruction styles and presentations are not effective in every instance. Experienced instructors can adapt their style according to the swimmers’ personalities, the type of swimming group, the swimmers’ level of motivation and what they are training for. The instructor’s main goal is to get the best out of everyone – to achieve productivity requires a flexible approach. Teaching at this level is ‘an experiment of one’ and the instructor must have the ability to modify group instruction to accommodate this fact.
Communication is feedback
The instructor’s body language operates as feedback for the swimmer. A ‘thumbs up’, a smile, a simple clap or a nod can reassure the swimmer, acknowledging the good work. The instructor’s ability to communicate can have a lasting impact on swimmers. It can help form their attitudes to life in general, sport, work and their interpersonal relationships. Therefore, the instructor acts as a role model, with the potential to help shape the life of the swimmers.
Characteristics of a successful instructor:
has great communication and listening skills
has a good knowledge of stroke technique
has good time management and planning skills
is imaginative and flexible when designing programs
is enthusiastic and able to motivate
gives constructive feedback and ground rules
has a good sense of humor
is able to manage staff and interact well with the swimming community, professionally and personally, seeking feedback from all members of the swimming community, from sources such as SwiMMinD, especially the swimmers
has good teaching skills – focusing on the educational outcomes
ensures that the program is swimmer-centered so that every goal is for the swimmers’ benefit
realizes that their own behavior will have enormous impact on the swimmers’ behavior, performance and attitudes
is able to clarify what a swimmer has learnt by questioning and observing any change in performance
sets up a time especially to discuss the program and encourages input from swimmers
solves stroke fault problems or suggest swimmers to use alternative stroke correction methods such as www.swimmind.com