Advanced Lessons: Lesson / Swim Team Bridge

Advanced Lessons: Lesson & Swim Team bridge classes for swimmers that want to join a competitive team

Are you looking for a way to prepare your swimmers for the next level of swimming? Do you want to give them a taste of what it’s like to be part of a swim team? If so, you might be interested in our Advanced Lessons program, designed to bridge the gap between swim lessons and swim team.

Our Advanced Lessons are based on the Level 3 and Level 4 classes from Swimming Ideas, a website that provides fun and effective swim instruction tools. We have adapted these classes to run just like a mini swim team practice, with the following features:

  • Seperate lanes: We divide our swimmers into different lanes based on their ability and speed. This way, they can swim with others who are at a similar level and challenge themselves to improve.
  • TV or projector: We use a TV or projector to display the lesson plan and the activities for each session. This helps the swimmers to see what they are supposed to do and follow along with the coach.
  • Coach leader: We have a coach leader who guides the swimmers through the lesson plan and the activities. The coach leader explains the purpose and the technique of each activity, demonstrates the skills, and gives feedback and encouragement to the swimmers.
  • Lane instructor: We have a lane instructor who assists the coach leader and works with the swimmers in each lane. The lane instructor helps with physical manipulation, feedback, and guidance on each attempt. The lane instructor also makes sure that the swimmers are following the rules and the etiquette of the lane.

Advanced Lessons cover a variety of skills and topics, such as:

  • Stroke development: We work on improving the four competitive strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly) and their components (body position, kick, pull, breathing, timing, etc.).
  • Turns and finishes: We teach the swimmers how to execute proper turns and finishes for each stroke, including flip turns, open turns, and touch turns.
  • Lane and rotation method ettiquet: We review how to circle swim using the rotation method and discuss lane mechanics like going down on the right and coming back on the right (opposite side), like driving.
  • Establishing swim team language: We use specific swimming terminology like we do in the rest of our lessons; streamline, freestyle, flip turns, etc.
  • Drills and games: We use drills and games to reinforce the skills and to make the sessions more fun and engaging. We also use challenges and races to test the swimmers’ abilities and to motivate them to do their best.

Advanced Lessons are a great way to transition your swimmers from swim lessons to swim team. They will learn new skills, improve their existing ones, and experience the thrill of swimming in a team environment. They will also gain confidence, endurance, and speed in the water.

Staffing and swimmer to instructor ratios:

In order to set up staff and lanes for our Advanced Lessons program, we follow a carefully designed approach that focuses on providing individual attention to each swimmer while maintaining an efficient and safe learning environment.

To begin, we allocate one instructor for every four swimmers. This ratio ensures that each swimmer receives proper guidance and supervision throughout the lesson. With one instructor for every four swimmers, we can effectively address individual needs, correct technique, and provide personalized feedback.

When setting up the lanes, we divide our swimmers into different lanes based on their ability and speed. This division allows each swimmer to practice with others who are at a similar level, creating a supportive and challenging atmosphere. By swimming alongside peers of similar skill level, swimmers can push themselves to improve their performance.

In terms of maximum numbers per lane, we aim to maintain a balance between providing individual attention and ensuring efficient use of the pool space. Typically, we limit the number of swimmers per lane to a maximum of four. This allows each swimmer to have adequate space and reduces the risk of collisions or overcrowding.

To ensure smooth coordination and effective instruction, we have one staff members assigned to each lane. The coach leader takes the role of guiding the swimmers through the lesson plan and activities. They explain the purpose and technique of each activity, demonstrate the skills, and provide feedback and encouragement. The lane instructor works alongside the coach leader, assisting with physical manipulation, providing additional feedback, and ensuring that swimmers adhere to lane rules and etiquette.

By having two staff members wawtching the lane, each swimmer can receive more personalized attention and support. This setup also allows for better observation and supervision of the swimmers, ensuring their safety and progress throughout the lesson.

Overall, our approach to setting up staff and lanes in our Advanced Lessons program prioritizes individual attention, skill-based grouping, and a safe learning environment. This enables swimmers to benefit from focused instruction, improve their technique, and gain confidence as they prepare to transition to a competitive swim team.

Class offerings:

Offering a wide range of classes throughout the week is essential for meeting the diverse needs and schedules of swimmers and their parents. Here are some reasons why it is important to offer as many classes as possible:

  1. Flexibility: Providing multiple class options allows parents to choose the days and times that best fit their schedule. Not all families have the same availability or commitments, so offering a variety of classes ensures that more swimmers can participate.
    • Full session Enrollment: For example offering classes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for 8 weeks, at the same time every day. Parents would enroll for the full session and their child can come to all or any of the classes. There should not be any make-ups or refunds. Price this at a discount to encourage more people to enroll.
    • A la carte enrollment: Using the same calendar as the full session, allow parents a way to only sign up for specific days they want to attend. Encourage at least 2 days per week. This gives parents flexibility at a reduced cost. The per lesson cost should be significantly higher than the per-day cost of the full session enrollment. The price of convienence is more money.
  2. Convenience: By offering classes on different days of the week, parents are more likely to find a class that aligns with their other activities. This convenience factor increases the chances of swimmers consistently attending lessons, leading to better skill development and progress.
  3. Maximizing Pool Space: With multiple classes scheduled throughout the week, the pool space is utilized more efficiently. This helps accommodate a larger number of swimmers and reduces overcrowding during each session. It also provides an opportunity for more swimmers to join the program, increasing participation and revenue potential.
  4. Individualized Attention: Smaller class sizes can be maintained when there are multiple class offerings, allowing instructors to give more individual attention to each swimmer. This personalized instruction helps identify and address specific areas for improvement, enhancing the learning experience and fostering faster progress.
  5. Skill Development: Regular practice is crucial for swimmers to improve their skills and technique. Offering classes on multiple days allows swimmers to attend more frequently, leading to increased practice time. Consistent practice helps reinforce muscle memory, refine stroke mechanics, and build endurance, ultimately resulting in better swimming performance.

To encourage regular attendance and provide incentive for enrollment in a full session, it is advisable to offer a discount for those who register for the entire 8-week session. This discount recognizes the commitment of swimmers and their families, while still allowing some flexibility in attendance. It is important to communicate to parents that while their child is not expected to attend every single day, the full session enrollment provides benefits such as cost savings and the opportunity to fully immerse in the program.

By offering a range of classes during the week and providing incentives for full session enrollment, swimming programs can accommodate various schedules, maximize class sizes, promote skill development, and foster a positive and flexible learning environment.

How Level 3 and Level 4 is similar to Developmental swim practice:

Level 3 and Level 4 of Swimming Ideas are similar to a developmental swim practice in several ways. First, they both emphasize the importance of learning how to breathe properly while swimming. Breathing is one of the most challenging aspects of swimming, and it can make a huge difference in the swimmer’s performance and enjoyment. Level 3 and Level 4 teach swimmers how to breathe to the side on front crawl, how to keep their head still and eyes up on backstroke, and how to coordinate their breathing with their strokes on breaststroke and butterfly.

Second, they both introduce the swimmers to different strokes and drills that help them improve their swimming technique. Level 3 and Level 4 cover the four competitive strokes: front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. They also teach the swimmers how to do the elementary backstroke, the sidestroke, and the dolphin kick. These strokes and skills help the swimmers develop their swimming repertoire and versatility. Moreover, Level 3 and Level 4 use various drills, such as rotation drills, sculling drills, and arm drills, that help the swimmers practice specific aspects of each stroke, such as the catch, the pull, the recovery, and the timing.

Third, they both use games and fun activities that make the learning process more engaging and enjoyable. Level 3 and Level 4 incorporate games and challenges.

You can leverage the same general formula for swimming success with “Activity, Activity, Challenge.” Check out our blog post on how to leverage this formula for both lessons and swim teams.

Lesson Formula: Activity, Activity, Challenge (swimminglessonsideas.com)

SIP 101: Routine for Developmental Swimming (swimminglessonsideas.com)

What are the benefits of following Swimming Ideas’ level structure and lesson plans?

Following Swimming Ideas’ level structure and lesson plans has many benefits for both the swimmers and the coaches. Some of the benefits are:

  • The level structure provides a clear and logical progression of skills and goals for the swimmers. The swimmers can see what they have learned and what they need to learn next. The level structure also helps the swimmers track their improvement and celebrate their achievements.
  • The lesson plans provide a detailed and comprehensive guide for the coaches. The lesson plans include the safety topics, the review skills, the new skills, the games, and the equipment for each session. The lesson plans also include the testable skills and the performance metrics for each level. The lesson plans help the coaches plan and deliver effective and consistent swim lessons.
  • The level structure and the lesson plans are based on the best practices and the latest research in swimming and coaching. They are designed to help the swimmers develop their competence, confidence, character, and connection in swimming and in life. They are also designed to help the coaches enhance their knowledge, skills, and professionalism in coaching.

Tools for success: What to use

You’re going to need a way to show videos, pictures, and write out sets. We use the Lesson Plans found on this website with a short throw projector and a Google Chromecast.

Projector we use:

The projector is awesome because we can load up Lesson plans for levels 3 – 4 and follow them together.


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