Learn how to teach swimming by earning the trust of your participants through repeated honesty
When you follow through with your commands and are honest with what your intentions are, your students will listen and attempt new things. When you trick them or force your participants into doing things they are afraid of or simply do not want to do, they will run away from you and scream crying as they flee the pool and you.
We want to give commands, and when faced with a “no” or a refusal, we should restate the command, then give an alternate option. For example, “let’s go underwater 3 times. Billy, go underwater 3 times. Ok, Billy, put your chin in the water 3 times.” Here we give the command, restate it, and then give an alternate option. When we do this we slowly earn the trust from our participant because they know that we will accommodate their feeling and their fear. That does not mean that we are letting them dictate the flow of the class. It just means we’ll adapt to include them to their comfort level and then push that comfort just a little. Next time we do bobs, we would ask Billy to put his lips in the water too, as we follow the underwater progression.
If you are having your swimmers swim to you, stand as close as they can comfortable get to you unassisted, then plant your feet and DO NOT MOVE. STAY where you are after they start their glide. This is the most important way to earn trust. Remain where you are when a participant does something to you! I cannot stress this enough.
Letting a child struggle to swim as you walk backwards yelling at them is the single worst thing you can do to a swimmer. You should NEVER let this happen.
With that clear warning said, take a look at this supplemental training video. It is meant to be used with the SLI Swim Instructor Training Workbook and comes from Section 2.
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