All work and no play?
One of our guiding principles is that we believe that purposeful play inspires success in both our coaches and swimmers. How can swimmers be making progress with play?
Play builds relationships.
A solid teaching (or working) relationship begins with a relationship. Especially with a hesitant or fearful swimmer, trust goes a long way to learning swim skills. Songs, games, or even a silly handshake help the coach and swimmer get to know each other...that's when the work can begin!
We all need a break.
Learning to swim is hard work. It takes physical stamina and mental focus to make progress. Sometimes skills can be challenging and stressful - whether it's going underwater for the first time or doing a flip turn. A song or fun activity gives these kids a break. Plus they might actually be learning something too (see next point)!
Play can actually teach.
Diving for rings is super fun for many swimmers! But it takes a strong kick and good air exchange to actually get to the bottom of the pool and back up, so kids are practicing swim skills while "playing."
Songs during the Infant/Toddler program are critical for learning. Not only are the songs fun, the words are teaching language, the motions are developing brain cells through vestibular stimulation, and the facial expressions are teaching social cues.
Have you watched child drawing with chalk on the steps? She's hesitant to put her face in the water, and this "play" is helping make that uncomfortable skill fun. "Red Light Green Light" is a really fun game to teach kickers. These are just a few of the ways that purposeful play can make a difference in your child's lesson. If you ever see your child's lesson and think "all they did was play today," think again! (Of course, ask the Site Supervisor if you ever wonder about what skills all those games are teaching.)