How To Teach Swimming Lessons

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Learn how to teach swimming lessons that make progress and ensure results and you will open the door to one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.  Having the knowledge, patience and knowhow to install one of life's most important skills and changing lives, is truly awesome.  

how to teach swimming to adults and children

Swimming Lessons That Get Results

The essential elements needed to teach professional, progressive and outcome-based swimming lessons include:

  • a specific aim of the lesson
  • a specific lesson plan
  • entry and warm up
  • main theme
  • contrasting activity

Check out all of the above parts in more detail by clicking here and viewing a detailed 30 minute lesson plan. 

The magic ingredient in a successful swimming lesson is FUN.  Make your lessons fun and children will learn.  It's as simple as that!

FREE Butterfly Stroke Technique eBook

Ready-made Swimming Lesson Plans 

The hard work of planning has been done for you. 101 ready-made lesson plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels, covering everything from first entering the water, building confidence to swimming all four basic strokes.  Simple, comprehensive and progressive. 

Don't miss out! Click here to check them out!

There are some key areas that must be covered when teaching people how to swim.  Click here for details about each essential area. 

Essential Qualities of a Swimming Teacher

Teaching children to swim will be a whole lot easier if you have a warm personality.  A friendly personality makes building trust and rapport with a child much easier and believe me, without the trust of a child you're in an uphill battle. 

As well as the right character and personality, there are many essential skills needed to be a successful swimming teacher.  Some of the most important when learning how to teach swimming include:

  • Effective methods of communication
  • How to motivate pupils
  • Effective lesson planning

Communication When Teaching

Have you ever thought about HOW you communicate, when teaching?  Some  points to think about:

  • How clear and concise are you?
  • How appropriate is your teaching to the age of your pupils?
  • Are you interesting and enthusiastic?
  • Do you ask your pupils questions or do you just bark orders?

Pupil Motivation

Do you plan for motivation?  An essential skill for a swimming teacher is to be able to motivate their pupils, and that comes from a careful combination of planing and communication.  Consider adding the following into your planning:

  • Goal setting
  • Praise
  • Feedback

All of the above are great forms of motivation, when used correctly and appropriately.  Click here for more details on these essential aspects of motivation.  

How To Teach Swimming Lessons- The Essential Guide

Discover my book 'How To Be A Swimming Teacher', and get all the planning tools you will ever need, including  82 separate pool exercises covering all four basic swimming strokes.

Click below to download your copy of The Definitive Guide To Teaching Outstanding Swimming Lessons, or click here for more details

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Since Covid, it is harder keeping my swimming pupils focused. 'Something that I’ve done, with a degree of success, is to turn each exercise into a competition. Whatever the aim of the exercise, they get a score at the end of the length.'

I would like some help teaching adults to swim easily. Can you give me some teaching tips, please? 'By “swim easily” I will assume that you mean teaching adults to swim in a relaxed, smooth and easy way.'

I am wondering how to hold a swimming float correctly. 'Both ways of holding the float are correct, it just depends on which part of the stroke is being practised or which teaching point is being emphasised by your son’s swimming teacher.'

I have encountered two swimmers who have a problem with front crawl and back crawl leg kicks. 'The alternating leg kick action for both front crawl and backstroke must be a relaxed movement. If the leg kick is tense or rigid then the swimmer will not move through the water.'

My student is afraid to breathe when swimming. 'It is very common for students to be afraid of breathing in the water, especially young children. Breathing in or on the water is unnatural and, therefore, can cause some anxiety.'

I have a problem with a pupil sinking when swimming freestyle. 'First of all, ensure you are not emphasising the leg kick to provide momentum. The propulsion and subsequent momentum for front crawl come mainly from the arm action.'

I have a problem with parents interfering with swimming lessons. 'If the parents are the problem or contributing factor, they must be removed. As a swimming teacher, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your pupils learn.'

I have an adult beginner who has a problem with his shoulders lifting and rolling when kicking. 'The first thing that needs to be asked is what you are attempting to achieve from kicking with a kickboard.'

I would like advice on teaching teenage girls to swim. 'The most important point to keep in mind at all times is the safety and control of your class.'

I teach adults to swim and am having problems with a class of middle-aged men. Three of the four are having trouble with the head rotation. 'This is a common occurrence that I have come across myself teaching swimming over the years. And, just like you, I recall it was with middle-aged men.'

I have a problem knowing which is the best way of teaching kids how to breathe when swimming. I need to know what is the best way. 'You are quite right to start with blowing bubbles but even that does not always work on every child, particularly very young kids.'

I have lost confidence as a swimming teacher. 'Your attitude to your swimming lessons is one to be admired. Many swimming teachers out there do the job just for the money...'

Do you have any tips for a swimmer whose body position is causing her to have a very difficult time coming out to breathe? 'If your swimmer is a child, then this is an age-old problem I have encountered many times.'

I have a problem with the default breaststroke leg kick with some of my pupils. Two boys, ages 8 and 10, who default to breaststroke legs with every stroke. 'From your question, it sounds like you have two different but similar problems: a breaststroke kick when swimming butterfly and a breaststroke kick when breathing for front crawl.'

I would like some tips for teaching swimming. I have a pupil with really good breaststroke legs but try as I might, I cannot get him to flutter kick for front crawl. 'Firstly you could try a backstroke kick exercise with a woggle under the arms. The kick is essentially the same but upside down. The point of the exercise is that your pupil can sit up slightly and actually watch his legs kicking.'

How can I teach gliding to an 8-year-old girl afraid to push off from the wall or bottom in shallow water? 'A young lad I was teaching was too afraid to push from the side and glide. The bottom line is that they have no confidence in floating and therefore think they will sink like a stone.'

I was taught never to use a float for butterfly stroke, which could damage my pupils’ backs. So I just wanted to know what sort of float if any, would be appropriate to use when I am teaching butterfly. 'The powerful leg kick and undulating body movement cause small pressure on the lower back even without a float. Using a float may increase that pressure on the back due to the frontal resistance caused.'

Why are your swimming teaching materials better than other sources, especially those with DVDs? 'Teaching adults, particularly one-on-one, is very different from teaching children. Children’s swimming lessons are more formatted and structured because that is what they are used to from an educational point of view.'

Teaching toddlers to swim: Safety in water. 'It is said babies are good swimmers. They have a pair of reflexes, also known as a bradycardic response, allowing them to control their breath underwater.'

One of the most important life skills. 'Teaching swimming and water safety can be an enormously rewarding job. Being able to swim allows us to take part in fun, enjoyable water exercise and maintain cardiovascular health.'

Teaching Butterfly - where to start and preventing potential faults. 'In response to those who seek advice on teaching the butterfly stroke to young swimmers, I would like to offer the following notes for their consideration.'

I am wondering how can I correct my pupil's leg kick. 'I’m completely with you on this one! Nothing is more frustrating than explaining and demonstrating until you are blue in the face, and your swimmer still continues to swim as if they have not heard a word.'

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