This newsletter is designed to enhance your education by adding strategies to your toolbox for continued success.  These monthly newsletters can be shared with your entire aquatic team as they provide tips for typical swimmers in private and group lessons, as well.
This month we will be looking at the progression of face in the water to achieve horizontal swim position . Achieving a horizontal position for a vertical swimmer can take extra time because you need to figure out the underlying problem: How Do I Control My Body and Breath, What Did You Hear Me Say, Engagement and Interaction and Success with Swim Strokes.   

The swimmer in the video, Ethan, has always been drawn to the water. He especially loves to be to swim with his brother.  At first, he would not put his face in or allow his face to get wet when he started with Swim Angelfish.  When Ethan swam on his own, it looked more like a panicked Doggy Paddle.  Once he overcame the roadblock of going under, Ethan was able to begin swimming with his face in for short periods of time.

How do I control my body and breath:  Since Ethan is a vertical swimmer; the instructor used the noodle in the prone position so he could gain awareness of the middle of his body. Notice how the instructor modeled and exaggerated his breath so Ethan could imitate with his own breathing.

What did you hear me say?   You’ll notice in this video that the instructor asked Ethan if he understood what was said. Even though it looks like Ethan is listening, he may not be. The instructor should always make sure instructions are clear to the swimmer. In order to achieve this, have the swimmer repeat what you said or allow him/her to finish the sentence by leaving off the last word.  Doing this kept Ethan engaged in the activity and prepared him for what he was going to do next.

Engagement and Interaction: Ethan is very enthusiastic about animals and numbers. Find out what motivates and excites your swimmers and use it to your advantage during the lesson.  For example in this video, when it was time to use the noodle the instructor pretended it was a horse. The instructor used Ethan’s passion for numbers to keep him engaged for a longer duration of an activity. During your lesson, it is extremely powerful to keep the swimmer engaged by reinforcing listening and focus whenever there is opportunity. The instructor was able to avoid distraction by keeping Ethan engaged in the activity. This also allowed for skill progression.

  One of the most important parts of this video is the manner in which the instructor seamlessly navigates the pool to keep Ethan interested and focused on him.  It can be difficult for instructors to move their bodies in such a way that keeps the swimmer contained just enough to facilitate their lesson but give them independence to succeed.
Video Outline
2:17: Allow some independence and time to get acclimated to the water.

4:00 Instructor sees that he will not rest his chin on the noodle so he will now choose to go back to working on the roadblock of submerging.

3:24/3:36: Multiple times during the lesson Ethan requested to dive and points to the deep.  In this case acknowledging the request and then going back to the skill kept him engaged in the lesson.

4:07: Continued difficulty with chin and lips in the water with the noodle prompted the instructor to go back to the strategies of going under the water successfully. 

4:43: Notice the improved chin tuck and the quickness of processing the directions after the strategies for going underwater are used. 

5:52:  Instructor keeps space management in mind by moving backwards and propping student on his knee, while engaging him cognitively for the next skill. 

6:30 Reminder: breaststroke and elementary backstroke are symmetrical stokes that require less strength than the freestyle and backstroke. 

6:44 Instructor pays no attention to the goggles but acknowledged that he was heard, then moved forward with the lesson.
In this video, notice the instructor's voice, his attempts at remaining eye level with Ethan and the continuous prompting. Also note that the instructor acknowledged Ethan’s requests to dive, but redirected him to stay on task by following through with his instructions.
  1.     When you are trying to help your swimmer find the middle of their body
          what would you use?

            a)   Goggles
            b)   Float back
            c)   Noodle
            d)   Have them jump in the water
  2.     When giving instructions to your swimmer what should you not do?

            a)   Have the swimmer repeat the instructions?
            b)   Assume that they understood what you said
            c)   Use simple words, less words
            d)   Use words like, First {this}, then {that} within the lesson