Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Swimming Lesson Ideas: Jump in and turn around Improvement

Improving the Method Of Jump In Turn Around

I watched a training video by a very famous Swimming instructor in which he gave the process by which you could teach a young child(around 2yo) to be able to enter the water turn around and come back up to the edge by themselves. This has always seemed to me a good thing to teach little ones.

Logic tells you that there is a limit to what you can teach young children, but how to enter and exit the water safely and have something that they can do should they fall in is the goal of a every babies swimming teacher.

It seemed simple enough. Just encourage a child to jump in the water and repeatedly turn them around. Eventually the child starts to turn around themselves as part of the game. Whilst the concept seemed sound, I was just simply unable to get all but the smallest number of children to do it. The only reason that I persisted was that, if a child should fall in, there was the remotest possibility that the training may kick in and they would turn to the edge of the swimming pool gaining enough time to be rescued.

After thinking about the teaching process for some time I decided to get the children to put one hand on the edge in order to start to learn this deep water entry skill. Just as if I were teaching them to enter the water in the shallow end of the pool.

How is it that it is always the simple things that we miss. Suddenly I had children happily jumping in the swimming pool deep end and turning around. Always under my supervision or that of a parent of course.


It is of absolute importance that a child is taught never to enter the water unless they are under strict supervision. This small point is one that many infant swimming teachers seem to forget.

All too often I see beginner infant teachers encouraging children to throw something in the water and jump in after it. Are they INSANE!

Make Jumping in the deep end a game and they will do it. Always Always Always (I'll say it again ) Always only ever encourage children to jump in the water to a person. Never by themselves. To do so teaches a child to be unsafe in the water and our objective as swimming teachers is to teach them to be safe.

Sorry about the rant!

Image of Child holding the edge of the the pool: How to teach jumping in and turning around
How To Hold The Edge Fro Turning Around
In any case, getting a child to sit down facing you, placing one hand on the deck beside them and jump in whilst holding on with that one hand, then getting them to turn around and grab the edge of the pool once in the water, works a treat. You end up with the beginnings of independence in the water.

One caution before I finish. Make sure that you help them leave the edge of the pool the first few times. Don't leave them to jump by themselves or you could end up with a few bumps and bruises as the children hit their heads on the edge when they enter the water.

Children don't naturally jump well to start with when they are holding the edge.

Enjoy
   Richard

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