Swim Please!

October 24, 2012

Flippers for new swimmers

Filed under: class management, kids swim lessons, swimming — Tags: , , , — maybe an idealist @ 2:54 am

Flippers can be a valuable learning tool, provided there IS learning. Flippers all the time for swim class and for play can end badly with a false sense of confidence. I gave one of my tiny swimmers flippers so she could keep up with swimmers twice her size. She is at a similar technical level, but less than half the weight of the majority of the class. The amount of effort for her to swim the same distances at the same speeds will result in exhaustion before she makes it through class. If she gets flippers 400 yards into the day, she is then the swimmer setting the pace and the one everyone else is trying to catch.
Flippers frequently provide the extra time and boost to beginning swimmers. At some points I prefer them to other ifds because they don’t get in the way of arms or mess up the sense of balance
I tried flippers with a nervous adult. She can swim at least twenty feet on her front, or twenty yards in her back. She agreed to experiment with flippers again, and she was presently surprised by how much they helped. Flippers had previously been unnerving due to the sense of her feet being pulled upwards. Yes, the flippers float, but float barely. I wanted her to experiment with flippers to get a feel for effortless swimming. She isn’t going to easily swim until she can stop fighting the water. The issue, is that she won’t trust the water until she can swim, but needs to trust the water in order to swim.
We started with training fins, shorter bladed fins meant for a fast tempo kick, frequently used by experienced swimmers. The fins are sometimes less intimidating for the swimmers that feel very wary of being pulled off balance. These shorter fins also get used to step down from swimming with flippers to swimming without flippers.

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After she started to feel balanced, we upgraded to longer bladed flippers. The dramatic boost to the flutter kick worked wonders for treading water. Flippers don’t help develop a good kick for treading, but they are useful for practicing the idea of treading water (kick, move hands, keep breathing, stay vertical, don’t panic) and give swimmers a chance to figure out their hands.

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An interesting exercise we did after treading was attempting to hold the flippers and use them for buoyancy. The exercise is a good transition out of flippers to end class without an instructional flotation device.
Flippers are one of the swim “toys” that is usable across a wide range of ages and abilities. They are in the top 5 tools we use in a swim class to challenge all swimmers.

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October 19, 2012

Baby swim class

Filed under: swimming — Tags: , , — maybe an idealist @ 3:54 pm

Baby swim class today. There’s a few that are about to launch into independent swimming. My goal is to have everyone learn to swim back to the wall before turning 3, but i’m not 100 percent how to get there.

There is lots of nearly independent progress through the water with assorted floatation, lots of submersion, and lots if safety routines, but my current flock (that I exclusively have taught for the 12-18 months) is all on that nearly ready to launch cusp of swimming.

Maybe I’m not supposed to admit that I’m making it all up as I go along.

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