Choosing The First Swimming Lessons
When choosing swimming lessons, every parent wants to know they’re buying the best for their children. After all, swimming lessons are one of the most important investments into your child’s future. It gives them not only an essential life-saving skill but also a sport they can enjoy throughout their entire life, through injury and old age. It is one of the best ways to stay fit due to the fact there is little resistance.
However, signing up for their first swimming lessons and regularly attending is only half the battle. If your child goes to music lessons, you would expect them to practice in between lessons, wouldn’t you? Of course, you want to see a progression from week to week, for the money you are paying for lessons. It’s the same with anything; football, ballet, tennis. Kids go out and practice in between.
We absolutely understand the convenience issue at hand, as not everyone has a pool in their garden and making it to the local pool can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why we’re writing this article, on a few simple things you can work on with your children, to reinforce what they’re leaning with the experts.
Tip 1: Blowing Bubbles One of the most important aspects of learning to swim is breath control. The way we teach this is to get the children to hum or blow bubbles every time their face is in the water. This then allows the child to easily lift their head and take a breath in, rather than having to explosively blow out all their air and then breathe.
At home, practice in the bath! Ask them to hum their favorite song under the water and come up for a quick breathe then head back down, humming away. This will reinforce everything your teacher should have been working on. Another way to practice is the simple, straw in a glass of water game, which every child loves. This is particularly useful for very young children to learn how to exhale and see bubbles as a result.
Tip 2: StreamliningAnother fundamental aspect of swimming is good body position. This is crucial because if your child can hold themselves and push off in a streamline shape, they will move much more efficiently through the water. At home, there are a few things you can do, and we’ll also leave it up to your imagination.
Simply, they can have fun and make a game out of walking around the house holding their arms up in a streamlined shape. You can also ask them to lay down and see if they can hold the same shape. Why don’t you get them to lie down in a streamlined position and ask them to stand up without breaking it? This is all to remind them and instill the correct body position so that it comes naturally when they get back to the lessons.
Tip 3: Leg KickThe final thing we want to talk about, which is the biggest source of power in swimming, is the leg kick. It is important that most of the power from the kick comes from the hip, which means your child should kick with a relatively straight leg. There should only be a small, natural flex of the knee. The most common problem children, and adults, make is bending their legs excessively to kick. This, in turn, takes away any power from the quads, glutes, and hips.
At home, get your child to lie down on the floor, either on their front or back and ask them to lift up their quad from the floor, one leg at a time, without bending their knee. It will be a surprisingly tricky task as it involves a decent amount of core strength. You can help by lifting their legs a little, but makes sure their knee doesn’t bend! This will go a long way to helping your child get as much power from each kick, without expending more energy. In fact, they’ll most likely not get as tired because they will be much more efficient.
ConclusionThese are our top three tips to get you started with practicing at home. Remember, the idea is not to make it seem like homework, but to turn it into a game. With moms and dads, all they want to do is have fun, so leave the more technical teaching to the experts in a structured lesson. If it were a music lesson they’d be practicing, so why not give it a go with something that could save their life one day? In the future, they’ll be glad you made learning swimming fun for them, as those skills will stick with them for life.
Author’s Bio: Connor Mollison is a recently retired competitive swimmer for Scotland's most prestigious club, Warrender Baths. He was a multiple district medalist and competed in Scottish and British Championship finals. Connor has coached for Warrender for four years and was a manager and teacher at SwimEasy, Scotland's largest independent swimming lesson provider.