What makes a world class swimming teacher?

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Swimming teaching and coaching is an active and challenging role so it’s important to keep up to speed with changes and developments to continue to enhance your knowledge and skills.  Sometimes though you may need help to develop those special skills needed to really inspire confidence, motivate and get the very best out of your swimmers.

We asked some of our top swimming teachers what they think makes a world class swimming teacher and found some common themes – so here’s a few quick tips and suggestions you can use to improve your lessons today. 

A world class swimming teacher will…

  • Continue to learn and adapt - continual professional development sessions are a key part of your improvement – we would say at least 4 times a year to keep things fresh.
  • Keep it interesting and appropriate - you do it day in day out. How do you keep it fresh, interesting, new and correct?  There are some great CPD seminars where you can learn how to vary sessions to keep them fun and check out the Games packs here
  • Share and find good practice - speak to other teachers to find out what they are doing.  Those ‘water cooler’ moments are immeasurably useful in developing your skills as a teacher.  Again, by attending regular CPD sessions you will get the chance to share ideas and it’s another great way to meet and interact with other like minded professionals. 
  • Be fully qualified - nationally recognised qualifications provide you with the basic tools to do the job and progression through the levels of ASA/UK Coaching Certificate (UKCC) courses will qualify you from becoming a support teacher right through to a senior coach.  
  • Be safe and have the backing of a professional institute - unlike other swimming teaching membership schemes, the IoS provides personal accident, corporate and loss of income cover as well as civil (public) liability of £20 million. Find out how at www.swimming.org/ios/membership
  • Be tech-savvy - the best teachers make sure they are taking advantage of technological developments such as online learning and the ability to use electronic registers.  Online study options, although not providing the benefits of interaction with others, are a time and cost effective route to boosting your knowledge and at the end of the day, improving your job prospects and earning potential.  
  • Be multi-skilled - it makes sense that to make yourself more employable you should have the ability to cope with whatever is thrown at you.  A truly world class teacher is trained and knowledgeable in lots of different things – ranging from school swimming, disability, aquafit,  adult and child, maybe mini polo.  Find out how to expand your role with the IoS.

This is an extract from an article which appeared in Swimming Times November 2011 issue.

Many thanks to the teachers & coaches who contributed their thoughts to this article:- Julia Jarvis, Andi Manley, Andrew Holt, Mo Brocklesbury, Spencer George, Babs Lee, Roger Puxley, Julie Stanley & Wendy Dalton


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