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Life Guard Skills: How To Avoid Yelling and Get A Better Outcome

Life Guard Skills

Lifeguard skills are extensive. Even though they have only done a short course to qualify for the job, there has been a lot of training both before and after they get to that course. Being a good swimmer is just the start and that alone takes considerable time and practice.

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As well as swimming there are a number of personality traits such as being observant and a level of patients with people for example.

However a lifeguard, despite common perceptions is not supposed to stand on the side of the pool managing whatever is going on, in and around the pool. Their job is to use their knowledge and training to be a supplement to all other forms of supervision.

These other forms of supervision include: buddy systems, parent or guardians, professionals such as swim teachers or coaches and voluntary supervision such as friends.

Image of indoor swimming pool: this article is about life guard skills
There's More To Life Guarding Than Looking

Supervision is not any means of electronic surveillance or babysitting; such as floating alarms wrist alerts of personal flotation device to be supervision; no matter how cool or amazing they look and seem.

A Life Guard is Expected to Bring Knowledge and Experience

Never the less a lifeguard is expected to bring all their knowledge and experience to control situations. Sometimes that will involve yelling and I can tell you that a well trained, well timed and well-directed yell is a most effective tool.
But often a significant element of creativity is just as important in managing things. I have often used a well-aimed water pistol to get someones attention; it has been very effective.

In fact most of the time the soft response is the most effective.

For example, It is not uncommon for young teenagers to think that it is ok to play rough ball games in the shallow pool. It is not that they are trying to misbehave but rather that they are teenagers and they just don't think. As a result of aggressive actions such as yelling in order to get them to stop, may not be your best response.

What Do I Mean By Soft Response?

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Life Guards Verbal Judo

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Taking the above ball game, you might try calling the young people to the side of the pool with a smile on your face letting them know that they are not in trouble; you take the time to explain to them that throwing the ball hard at each other becomes a problem when they miss each other and they hit or potentially hit some one else.

Now of course, some young people are just beyond reason and no amount of explaining is going to stop them from being stupid. But honestly, I find that most respond very well to being treated with respect and settle down.

Better still asking them to do you a favor and settle down, rather than telling them, will often illicit the very best of results; and stops you from being called "Hitler"; a not uncommon phrase directed at life guards.

This is just the beginning but it is a big start.

I presented a very short course to my fellow life guards, where I work; based on the "Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, Updated Edition" approach,that I think helped a lot.

You can get this short presentation on these particular Life Guard Skills simply by adding you name and email address in the box to the right.

I hope it helps.

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