Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Learn How To Swim:- Shallow Water Over Deep




It makes me sound like an Old man I know but when I was a child it was still considered a legitimate teaching method to throw non swimmers in the deep end and let them flounder till they learned to swim.

It's absolutely true!

I have spoken to several people my age who wont go near a swimming teacher because they still carry trauma as a result of a parent or well meaning adult throwing them in the deep end as a child and when they didn't make to the edge without help they were ridiculed as being "little babies" or "sooks".

Fortunately swimming teaching has come a long way since.

But I have taught at swim schools that only have two levels of water; deep and really shallow.

By deep I mean any water that your student cannot stand up in and really shallow, is water that toddlers can stand in. The really shallow was great for the toddlers but nearly killed the teachers as they were always, not only on their knees but crouched down as well.

As a result of my experience I am convinced that if you can't provide new swimmers with water at a level that your students can stand up in or at the very least that the teacher can comfortably support every student as they do their drills, then you are slowing you student development.

Now I'm not saying that you should never take new students into deep water. That would be silly. At some point they have to get their confidence up in the deep water or they can never be competent swimmers.

But there is one big advantage to the new swimmer if we use the definition above of shallow water: "provide new swims with water at a level that your students can stand up in or at the very least that the teacher can comfortably support every student as they do their drills".

"It builds confidence".

The child is allowed to build confidence at their own pace. Somewhat like training wheels. Under proper instruction students become, over time less dependent on the instructor.

An instructor can assure a student that they can swim by themselves and encourage them to let go. As long as you do not try to trick the student. That is if you say that you will keep your hand available then you must have your hand available for them to grab.

I personally like to encourage the student to let go of my hand rather than me letting go of them. I assure them that my hand will not move and I don't move it. Sometimes (but only when I have tried everything else) I may remove my hand to show them it is safe despite the protests. But I always tell them I am going to do it and how and when I will put my hand back: before I do it. I never break a promise.

I realise that sometimes there is no alternative but to teach your students in deeper water and I am not saying that swimmers taught this way won't be good swimmers. I'm just saying that if  I'm given a choice I will always choose to teach in definition of shallow water I have set out above.

Enjoy
  Richard

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts