Swim Please!

April 7, 2013

7 April, 2013 15:07

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 3:07 pm

[private] one of the big benefits of teaching is the mood lifting qualities of children. They try so hard, and are so honestly themselves, that it is nearly impossible to retain a bad mood around them. They deserve emotionally involved teachers, so i need to at least pretend happy and upbeat.


March 17, 2013

17 March, 2013 00:11

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 12:11 am

[private] it is reassuring when i’m handed a child because she’s tired and needs something fun to finish class. Fun turned out to be bouncing her up in the air, spinning her around, and then parking her on my back to go catch a friend and tow him across the pool to then start singing.

March 8, 2013

8 March, 2013 16:34

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 4:34 pm

[private] I’ve been teaching a lot of body rotation.We are designed to have limits to shoulder range of motion. The shoulder is a limited ball joint. However, it means most people don’t have the ability to take a stroke and then lift their arm up, out of the water, and around in front of the head. Our arms usually go to a 180 degree angle, but it’s a physical rarity to move arms to a 270 degree angle. When swimming freestyle and backstroke, the axis of rotation should be aligned with but not the same as the spine. When preventing or caring for back troubles, people are taught to move with hips and shoulders aligned.

8 March, 2013 16:33

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 4:33 pm

[private] My little angry and reluctant swimmer is now swimming more than 10 feet at a time without assistance. He doesn’t transition very well. Getting in is an issue, getting out is an issue, a different teacher for the day used to be a major issue. He used to run away when it was time to get in. He definitely LIKES swim class, he just doesn’t like getting in the pool. I no longer need to catch him. He will let me scoop him up, but then it’s the problem. He won’t let go. Finally, halfway across the pool, i inform him it’s time to let go. for multiple weeks he started every lesson as if i was attempting to bathe a VERY unhappy cat.

December 8, 2012

8 December, 2012 00:08

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 12:08 am

[private] muscle memory is huge. It is a nice, non-scienctific term for brain plasticity. It is THE function that allows us to walk, talk, and chew gum at the same time. If you loose the brain connections for balance and walking, there is no way to think about walking while walking AND do anything else. Basically, if one does a motion enough times, the brain connections are stronger for the recently practiced action than the prior, less desired action. From the brain science i have read, i understand the brain is actively making and repurposing neural connections lifelong. The chemical soup our brains bathe in controls how easily connections are formed and reformed. Too easily, and skill retention is sacrificed, too hard, and the time to basic competency is exponentially increased. mastery often means the entire skill has moved to non-concious control, so the skills occur without
thought and the skill can be broken down into pieces for analysis to increase the unconcious mastery.

December 3, 2012

3 December, 2012 01:14

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 1:14 am

[private] i have a six kid combined flock of polliwogs and guppies. They find me five to ten minutes before class. They follow me into the water at the deep end, some with reluctance, some with glee. They’re starting to fall under the spell of being willing to attempt something just because i believe they can- it’s sometimes definitely against their better judgement. We do a fair amount of distance. As of 8-12 weeks ago- most of them weren’t willing to let go of the wall, my hand, or a noodle. Currently, 3 attempted the length without an ifd, 2 succeeded. 4 finally let go and slowly paddled the length, with only a bubble. We’ve done a lot to work up to this point. We’ve spent time in and out of flippers- done god only knows how many slow hard nervous lengths of the pool propped up with bubbles, noodles, kickboards, barbells, and anything else i could imagine- but now the polliwogs are
horizontal with a good flutter kick, and the guppies are swimming half to full lengths of the pool!

December 1, 2012

1 December, 2012 13:44

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 1:44 pm

Saturday swim lessons are always a little chaotic. Something about the number of people in a day, the number of classes, and the lack of wiggle room involving start times results in a tight schedule. Unexpected work on a transit line can spell temporary disaster and ongoing chaos as a staff member spends her half hour of transit safety time stuck underground and is 5 minutes late, and then as swimmers throughout the day allow less than enough time for travel. Kids showing up for up to 40 minutes into a 45 minute class spells chaos.

November 25, 2012

25 November, 2012 18:14

Filed under: Uncategorized — maybe an idealist @ 6:14 pm

[private] the most stubborn swimmer i’ve encountered, ever, is a little girl. She is tiny, relatively soft spoken, and has a cast iron will. She doesn’t see why going under water is a remotely good idea, so it is a long process of negotiations. She does not like swimming on her back, but she would rather swim on her back than go underwater. She can and does dependably bubble. She handles rather large waves to the face just fine- most of the time, and when not, it isn’t a disaster. Thankfully, i always teach her in a rather busy pool time, so waves are a part of life. Thankfully, as a 5 year old, she has a vague understanding of physics. We’ve been experimenting with a step down of floaties. We did no floaty for a while, for months, and she started swimming short distances without the floaty. Now, in a given class, she jumps into the deep end holding my hands (i go under, she doesn’t)
starts with no floaty and holding one finger, kicks a few lengths with half a floaty,

November 21, 2012


Filed under: beginning, swim, swimming — Tags: , , , , , — maybe an idealist @ 5:14 am

Leaving the wall is a huge skill for beginning swimmers. It is a literal leap of faith into the unknown. It is also a challenge of coordination and balance. Below is the top and side view of a young swimmer pushing off from the wall. The swimmer starts with two hands and two feet on the wall, goes up, across the water chest first, submerges, frequently pauses to give a “just-in-case” tug to the swimsuit, then gets arms forwards, head down, and remembers to tighten the body into a streamline.


In contrast, here is the top and side view of a swimmer going from standing to streamline. Note the consistent hand position.


November 1, 2012

Hand paddles

Filed under: adult swim lessons, beginning, swim — Tags: , , , , — maybe an idealist @ 5:23 pm

Hand paddles are for the upper level lap swimmer, for the serious swimmer, right? What about for someone that needs to start using his or her hands as more than decoration? The cognitive leap from moving the body in a way that looks right, to moving the body by applying force to push or pull oneself through the water in an efficient way as possible is not always intuitive.
With our little ones, there is a time to get them to start using arms. A favorite trick is to put pairs of kids atop 4 or 5 noodles and let them only use arms to move. It helps if it’s enough noodles that they have a raft with feet sticking out and no chance of kicking. In that exercise, not only do they start using their arms to move forwards, but they also practice team work.
For adults, the noodle game doesn’t quite go as well. Instead, we use hand paddles, looped on only over the fingers, and crawl across the pool hands only. Many people struggle to feel the difference between sliding the hand through the water or pulling the hand to move water. A give away sign is when someone goes faster just kicking than kicking and using the arms. When someone can’t seem to figure out how to move the water, we use hand paddles before frustration kicks in and takes over.
A reason to practice sculling, as silly as it sometimes seems, is to develop more of a feel for hands in the water. To feel and know the angles to go through or to move the water can make the difference between decorative and useful arms.

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