Swim England

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Best practice within your swimming lessons

Teaching Swimming

As swimming teachers, we must provide the safest learning environment for our swimmers. This article details the best practice techniques that teachers should be following during their lessons.  

Appropriate holds

It has been identified that using a Level 1 assistant is beneficial to both swimmers and teachers when supporting swimmers in the lower stages. Teachers and assistants must be aware of the appropriate positioning of their hands when providing support in the water.

We should avoid physical manipulation of the limbs and encourage more verbal and visual instruction to increase the swimmer’s discovery of movement in the water.

When in the water, as an assistant or teacher, support should only be delivered using the following positions;

These supporting hand positions offer protection for the swimmer and the teacher as there is minimal contact and it is only provided when absolutely necessary.

Appropriate clothing

The appropriate clothing that should be worn by the teacher and assistant, whilst in the water, includes rash vests or other full-length t-shirts, as well as shorts. These must be worn over the top of standard swimming wear.

The purpose of wearing the above-recommended clothing;

✔️ The teacher is easily identified.

✔️ It provides a barrier between the teacher’s and participant’s skin.

✔️ The teacher is able to keep their modesty if a swimmer was to hold onto them.

Tone and language

When teaching, it is essential we use the correct tone and language when conveying with our swimmers and peers. The language used must provide encouragement to the learner and avoid any negative undertones.

Effective language consists of clear direction and positive reinforcement when learning or improving skills, as it provides an increase in confidence and clarifies their progression.

The type of language that is listed below is harmful and unacceptable;

❌ Racist or discriminatory

❌ Sexual nature

❌ Belittling or derogatory

❌ Frightening or threatening

We must remember that we are creating a safer environment and positive experience for all swimmers to see them continue through with life-long participation.

Our benefits of teaching from the poolside article also touches on best practice within swimming lessons and the advantages for both swimmers and teachers. 

Safeguarding CPDs and courses

Swim England provide a number of courses that increase your awareness and knowledge of safeguarding.

The free ‘Swim England Child Safeguarding Basic Awareness’ course guides you on how to understand; what child safeguarding is, the responsibilities and the procedures to be followed if you have a concern. It is a great way for coaches, teachers, assistants and operators to stay up to date and aware of new procedures when working with children, and how they can play their part in providing a safe environment.

Our Swim England Safeguarding CPD goes into more detail than the basic awareness course mentioned above. This workshop will raise your awareness of signs of abuse, and give you the tools and confidence you need to deal with any issues sensitively, appropriately and effectively should the need ever arise.