Monday, July 4, 2011

Do Goggles Help A Child Put Their Face In The Water - Learn To Swim Children




In all my twenty years of swim teaching I have never seen any evidence that would support such a statement as "Goggles Help A Child Put Their Face In The Water".

I'm going to write a book one day called 101 Myths about swimming. I think one of the first myths on the list is going to be that one.

If someone can truly show me any research that shows that children will put their face in the water faster if they have goggles on, I will be very happy to revise this view but the fact is there is no such research. Like most things in the learn to swim field anything you come across is most likely to be anecdotal.

In contrast I have run classes with children all being required to wear goggles and other classes where the requirement was to be without and I could not notice any difference in the speed in which children would put their face in the water.

I've had people tell me that children will much more readily put their face in the water when they have goggles on because they can see what is under the water and I am a great fan of children being able to see what is under the water. But as any adult who is afraid to put their face in the water will tell you, knowing it's safe is not enough.There is fear of the water on your face, fear of the water going up your nose, fear of not being able to breath and the biggest one when it comes to children, fear because it's new; to name a few. And then there is irrational fear!

Making a child feel safe by calm, gentle, reassurance using step by step and sometime very small increments, with a big dose patience is the most effective tool you can use to get child's face underwater: not goggles!

I have seen children who come to the pool and be unwilling to get in the water unless they have their goggles on and it is always a source of great amusement to have children in the water with goggles on but not daring to put their face near the water. Such cases are far more of a fashion statement than anything to do with progress in swimming lessons

I won't allow my new students no matter how old they are in the pool with goggles on!

My argument is that a new swim student should learn to put there face in the water without goggles first. When they are comfortable with that experience then they are ready for goggles. If new swimmers are comfortable with putting their face in the water without goggles the risk of panicking is minimized should they fall in the water. Anecdotal I know but in view of no other facts I prefer to err on the side of cation.

There are exception to this. Sometimes it is true, that in some cases, I have had to eventually give in and concede that the only way to get a particular child to put their face in the water is for them to wear goggles. But more often than not the need to wear goggles in swimming lessons has more to do with the parents needs than the child.

But what about sore eyes you say? I teach all my student not to rub their eyes after they come up out of the water. Unless there is something seriously wrong with pool water balance then as long as the swimming student does not rub their eyes when they come up out of the water they should never have a problem.

Enjoy
  Richard

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