Embury Institute for Teacher Education

Physical Education and Sport

Swimming Teaching Course in water safety and proficiency 2013


The following should be regarded as the minimum number of points to note:  Children are not allowed to run in the pool area. When giving instructions use simple concise terms. Swimming is no different so you are going to need to repeat each new skill until the children become confident. It is not advisable to have a group of more than 4 or 5 children by yourself in the pool area. SAFETY PRECAUTIONS As the teacher you are responsible for the children’s safety in the pool area. 2 . Before each lesson indicate safe limits beyond which they must not go. The learning of any new skill requires lots of repetition until the skill becomes a habit. Neither can they run and jump into the water. It is preferable to have another teacher who can swim with you. The teacher must always face the class and should never turn his/her back on the swimmers.    No one should be allowed to enter the water until permission has been given. Explain to the children that must never take anything made of glass into the pool area and they must never cry for help unless they really need it. nor dive bomb.1. In this way they understand their boundaries and what is expected of them. DISCIPLINE You will need to tailor your rules to your specific situation. It is a big responsibility. they are there as another pair of eyes and hands. Parent assistants do not need to teach. Whenever they enter the water they must make sure that there are no children underneath them in the water. Rather than deal with issues on a reactionary basis you need to explain the behaviour you expect to the children before they enter the water.  Children must obey whatever signal you have prearranged with them – a whistle etc. If children are unwell or have any open sores they should not be allowed into the water. It is important however that you have clear boundaries and expectations in mind before you enter the water. 2. If this is not possible approach parents to assist you. Make sure you count the children in and out the water before and after each lesson.

Let them kick their legs and make splashes. Once in the water the children’s feet must retain contact with the ground. then taking the weight on both hands and dropping into the water. CLASSIFICATION OF PUPILS Swimmers can be classified as follows:  Non-swimmer “has not yet become waterborne and still has to maintain contact with the bottom of the pool. Ask them how the water feels.”  Swimmer “uses a clearly recognisable stroke. It is preferable for at least one teacher on the pool deck to have completed a basic First Aid course. is not permitted. and is able to regain a standing position. At the very least teachers must know where a First Aid kit is located and where to call for help in the event of an emergency. Now get them to bend their knees 3 . A (2009) 7] 4. pushing others into the water or dunking them.” [ Noble.g.”  Beginner “is able to move through the water using very basic stroke movements.  Rough play. either on the front or on the back. If an emergency does occur remember to get all the children out of the water immediately. If there are steps into the pool allow the children one by one to walk quietly and calmly into the water. J and Crequeen. with appropriate breathing and is able to cover a minimum distance of 25 metres. INTRODUCTION TO THE WATER AND SAFE WATER ENTRY This must be done safely and calmly. Never push. Ask them what sensations they experience on their bodies. e. Their feet must remain on the bottom of the pool. then their shoulders and lastly to ‘wash’ their faces. pull or throw a cautious or anxious child into the water. 3. Encourage them to cup their hands and pour water over their torsos. chewing gum or any other food should be banned during swimming lessons. If there are no steps get all the children to sit on the edge of the pool and dangle their feet in the water. Entry may then be made into the water by turning sideways to place one hand across the body onto the poolside. Sweets. or strokes.

Once they are comfortable doing this they can let go of the wall and make waves by sweeping the arms sideways and forwards.and submerge their shoulders. with the palms leading. MAKING WAVES Swimmers face the pool wall and hold the wall with both hands. It is also warmer this way. movement away from the wall can be made in a manner similar to walking on skis. Progress to standing sideways with a single hand and. This is all allowing them to develop confidence in the water. Following are activities to assist balance and initial movement in the water [these have been exerted from Noble J and Crequeen A (2009) 10 – 13]: BOBBING Swimmers stand facing the pool wall and hold the wall with both hands. CRAB WALK Children stand spaced out in shallow water along the edges of the pool. They grasp the edge of the pool with both hands. as confidence grows. If the water is deep enough they must keep their shoulders submerged. By sliding one foot after the other along the floor of the pool and using their arms for balance. For greater stability they should keep their feet apart and hold their arms in a spread out position. pressing on the water to assist balance. They must rise and sink gently and continuously. move to a free standing position. Line them up in groups against one wall in the shallow end and get them to walk from one side of the shallow end to the other. DUCK WALK 4 . with the shoulders submerging. in this way the all-around support of the water can be felt. lift their feet off the bottom and start walking crab-like along the sides of the pool. Pressing backwards against the water with the arms will assist forward movement. make waves with the back and chest. By pushing backwards and forwards continuously. changing direction on the signal ‘Move right!’ or ‘Move left!’ SKIING Children stand in the water with their shoulders submerged.

Fountains – suck up a mouthful of water and blow it out like a fountain. Pull with the arms just below the surface to assist forward movement and make appropriate sounds by blowing into the water. BREATHING PRACTICES It is important to explain to the children that when swimming it is not how much air you take in but how much you let out that is important in swimming. MIMING As the teacher calls out words the children attempt to perform an appropriate mime. then suddenly to see who can make the loudest sound. MOTOR BOATS Each child needs a kickerboard which is held out in front and used as a steering wheel. BLOWING BUBBLES: Scoop up as much water as possible in cupped hands and then blow it away vigorously. raising the feet slightly from the pool floor. The children walk freely in different directions. Keeping the chin at the water surface walk like a duck. 5 . Lower the face into the water and blow bubbles first slowly to see who can make the longest blow. This could be used as a relay. then imaginatively to see who can make different animal sounds. Cut lengths of garden hose and get the children to blow bubbles into buckets of water. A child who has perfected breath control will be relaxed and will be able to learn new skills relatively easily. For those children who struggle to establish breath control encourage them to blow bubbles in the bath at home. Imitate the sound of a motor boat by blowing vigorously into the water.Children stand with knees bent and shoulders submerged. CHEST BALL Moving around the shallow area of the pool children attempt to propel a ball by pushing it with the chest.

J and Crequeen. keep head erect. Children should try develop a rhythmic action [Noble. This activity could be modified by pouring water over the head and watching it trickle down. steady exhalation throughout the period of submersion. Children stand facing a partner and hold each other’s wrists. SUBMERSION EXERCISES Submerging refers to the action of submerging the whole body under the water. Following are activities to encourage submersion:  DIRTY FACES [Noble. Repeat until children only need to take one breath on each surfacing and succeed in slow.  BOBBING AND SUBMERGING – first in twos. 6 . chin on surface. continue breathing out when the head is out of the water.scoop two handfuls of water and wash the face vigorously. shoulders submerged. as if it were really dirty. count fingers. Now children submerge on their own.OPENING EYES UNDER THE WATER It is essential that children are able to open their eyes under the water.J and Crequeen. Eyes open under the water assists balance and develops confidence. the other partner submerges and exhales. When children are comfortable submerging in the shallow end take them to the deep end and practise submerging there. A (2009) 13] . Furthermore it encourages anxious children to let go of the side. After taking a breath. bend knees and submerge exhaling all the way down and up. Children submerge in pairs or larger groups and each child has a child to mime an action under the water which the others must watch and say what was being mimed. To encourage the children to open their eyes under the water play games: Face in eyes open – put your hand up under water and look at it. they have to say which colours were being shown. In pairs children show fingers to each other under the water and the partner has to say how many fingers are being shown. A (2009) 13]. On returning to the surface for a breath. one partner bends his knees to submerge and blows out through the mouth and nose. Children squat. thus encouraging the children to keep their eyes open. Children submerge with eyes open and teacher shows coloured rings.

Explain to the children about being streamlined – when we are streamlined that is when we move through the water the fastest. teddy bear. blow bubbles. SKILLS FOR BUOYANCY. POSITION AND BALANCE  Kicking holding on side . Once they are confident with blowing bubbles and kicking encourage them to breathe to the side – ear stays in water. blow bubbles. PRONE FLOAT – explain how our bodies are like see-saws in the water – if the head is out the feet will drop. Hold kickerboards – straight arms at back of board (make a window.   Kicking on side blowing bubbles. It is the same when we swim. Encourage the children to put their faces in and blow bubbles. This helps to make them more streamlined. face goes into window) kick with straight legs and toes pointing to wall. Kick comes from the hip. breathe in normally and carry on. Next submerge. Submerge. no bent knees. Kicking on side – bilateral breathing. To stand (this is also known as a recovery skill) . teacher counts fingers under water to encourage children to keep eyes open. Hands can be used to press downwards in the water. It is important that the children’s hands are level and not out of the water (if they lift their heads their feet will drop). blow bubbles. 7 . If some children struggle to gain momentum with the kickerboard hold the front of the board and pull it while they kick.straight legs – point toes to other wall. Children to hold the wall or teacher’s hand and put face under the water and allow feet to float to the surface. then we turn our heads to the side. Submerge. play teddy bear. we blow bubbles so that we blow all the old air out. SITTING ON THE BOTTOM – submerge and blow bubbles on the bottom. show rings.pull knees into chests and place them on the bottom of the pool. Then lift faces to stand up. Explain to the swimmers that when you are talking do you ‘talk talk talk’ then take a huge gasp of air and then carry on? No.

Repeat until children can float on their backs unaided. BACK GLIDE – same as back float position but push off from the side of the pool. Children squat or walk with shoulders submerged and practise doggy-paddle. Demonstrate hand movements – deep digging. or they can pretend to play the piano. lift feet gently off the bottom and using dog-paddle movements. Push off from the wall and pretend to be a canoe. torch(on top of head) pointing to the other wall. gradually extend head backwards until hips rise. BACK FLOAT – children squat until shoulders are submerged. children sit on bottom. STREAMLINING AND GLIDING – faces tucked in. legs together. When stopped gliding draw knees into chest. STREAMLINING AND KICKING – push off hard from the wall (make friends with the wall) and kick (flutter kick – knees must be kept straight). Tell the children it is like they are lying on a bed in the water! It is very important that the chin is pointing up to the sky. holding breath. These are very useful as they keep the swimmer buoyant but arms are free. Having something else to focus on helps the children who are not confident. Children must put faces in and blow bubbles. otherwise the feet tend to sink. bring themselves slowly to the surface. Teacher can help. children try continue supporting themselves using the doggy paddle hand movements For those who can’t use pool noodles to help them. Teacher can give slight support with hand under head. DOGGY PADDLE: Very important as is the basis for front crawl/freestyle. When face surfaces. squash ears. 8 . Children can pretend to carry a kitten or cup of tea in their hands. arms extended sideways. Head erect.When the children are more confident they can release their hold of the wall/teacher’s hand. put feet on bottom and then lift face out of water. They will then experience the buoyancy of the water and the lack of need for support. Basic doggy paddle movement is digging and kicking. and gradually remove support until child floats. To stand children bend forward and lift head.

DIVING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL – with the arms in front they are pulled back strongly. The body then rotates forward and the legs are extended. Continue with doggy paddle hand movements. This will cause the body to rotate forwards with the back rounded (like the top of a mushroom) just above the surface of the water. pg 17). This dive can be used to retrieve objects from the bottom of the pool. Mushroom float – Take a full breath. pg 17).BACK KICK GLIDE – the back glide will progress to the back kick glide. the ‘torch’ on the head is pointed to the ground and the knees are brought forwards into a tucked position. Ankles must be relaxed and toes point to the opposite wall. put the face in the water. squash the ears with the arms pointed straight up. put face in. Chest and hips must be held high (Smith. knees not bent and only the big toes breaking the surface. Star float – take a full breath. Once children can do this it is a good indication that they are ready to learn the formal strokes. E. legs must be straight and together so that the whole body is long and thin like a pencil. put the face in. Eventually aim for the children to be able to take one breath and do all three floats in one breath. TREADING WATER – children swim/glide into deeper water (should only be done with as many children as the teacher can manage. Emphasise that the legs must remain under the water. STROKES (Adapted from Smith. tuck the knees into the chest and clasp the arms around the lower legs. After a few seconds they can put their faces back in the water. Elementary Course notes) FREESTYLE/FRONT CRAWL 9 . their feet will rise and they can kick to the shallow water (Smith. probably no more than 4 at a time) and drop legs. E Elementary Course notes. At the same time they can use any large bent knee underwater leg action. E Elementary Course notes. FLOATS: Pencil float – take a full breath. spread arms and legs out like a star and’ lie’ on top of the water.

e. LEG ACTION: kick comes from the hip. ARM ACTION: baby finger out first. Use rhyme (Tick tock. On the glide head may go right under the water. Toes pointed in a relaxed manner with ankles relaxed and loose. BREATHING: encourage children to blow bubbles – blow old air out so that when they need to breathe they turn their head to the side (ear remains on the water) and all they need to do is breathe in. Head must remain still except when breathing. When breathing look under the shoulder i. Toes pointed in a relaxed manner with ankles relaxed and loose as though kicking a ball. ________________________________________________________________________ BACKSTROKE HEAD POSITION: water should cover the ears so that the “torch” points in the direction the swimmer wants to go. ARM ACTION: elbows out first and fingernails in first. The head needs to remain still. Baby finger in first. LEG ACTION: kick comes from the hip. BREASTROKE HEAD POSITION: Head rides naturally on the shoulders with eyes forward. tick tock. straight knife that “cuts” off the ear and then “hug” mom. look not where they are going but where they have been. The pull is in the shape of a half circle. BODY POSITION: very flat in water (correct position is maintained by keeping head down). Top of hand(‘headlights’) facing in direction the swimmer wants to move.HEAD POSITION: crown of head(torch) points in the direction that swimmer wants to go. pull to the leg with fingernails leading. not the knees. I’m a grandfather clock) and get children to repeat it as they practise arm movement. BODY POSITION: body very flat with chest and hip high – not “siiting” in the water. Fingernails pointing to the floor of the pool when pulling the water. 10 . Knees remain under the water at all times (the water should ‘boil’) BREATHING: no special rhythm with backstroke. Entry of fingers into water is an arm’s length away (stretch arms) pulling under the tummy. Chin up with eyes looking at the sky.

then pull. baby finger out first. DRILLS FOR STROKES (as adapted from Elizabeth Smith’s Elementary course notes) Drills are series of exercises that are used to improve technique. BREATHING: breathing occurs when the arms are pulled and the head comes out and breathing out occurs when arms are stretched forward. TIMING: kick the hands in and kick the hands out. Pretend you have eyes on your knees – knees must keep “looking” at the floor. 11 . LEG ACTION: legs act together as a fin – like a dolphin dive. on entry a second kick occurs on top of the water. When arms are forward and head is down legs will rise. When swimmer goes into the glide the head goes in and the legs will rise. When hands are pulling eyes are looking forward. eyes are looking at the bottom of the pool. As the arms are pulled back – head and shoulders come out so legs will drop. TIMING: kick into the glide. ________________________________________________________________________ BUTTERFLY HEAD POSITION: the head leads the stroke. The pull forms a half circle. For each arm rotation there are two ‘kicks’. Body should remain as close to the water as possible for least resistance. As arms are pulled back head and shoulders will emerge and legs drop. BODY POSITION: The body will see-saw in the water. There is no stopping of action until the glide is achieved. Breathe out in the glide. ARM ACTION: upside down heart which is cut in half. LEG ACTION: bend – out – push or round – together. As arms are pulled back a deep kick occurs.BODY POSITION: body flat in the water but during the stroke it has a see-saw action. Hands enter thumbs first. BREATHING: breathing occurs when the arms are pulling and the head and shoulders are out of the water. ARM ACTION: butterfly is like double arm freestyle except the arms are straighter. Try to keep knees as close together as possible and always ensure that swimmer finishes the kick with a “big toe kiss”. When hands are forward. pulled under tummy.

Chicken wings. Kicking with fingertips touching water behind. Kicking holding board like tombstones. wide arms. Kicking – elbows tucked into waist. Kicking with arms at sides and pool buoy between legs – water must ‘boil’.FREESTYLE DRILLS         Kicking holding the front of the board. Kicking holding the back of the board with bilateral (side to side) breathing. Catch-up with kickerboard. BACKSTROKE DRILLS        Kicking on back. Kicking with hands on chest. Swim with pool buoy between legs ie no kicking. Polo sprint – push ball with chest. hands out of water. Catch-up with short pool noodle. Kicking rolling with shoulder pointing to the sky – hands at sides.   Kicking sitting on board – water must boil. Kicking holding the back of the board blowing bubbles. Swimming with dragging hand – fingers drag in water. focus on arm technique only. hands must be relaxed.   Swim with fists. 12 . stopping and changing above eyes. Kicking with hands and arms out.

13 . side of foot must kick hands. Dolphin kick with flippers Set of 6 kicks – 1. bottoms down on top of water. 3 x bottoms up. Kicking without board. 3. bottoms up (exaggerated movement to show how to see-saw)  Breastroke 1-2-stretch BUTTERFLY DRILLS     Bottoms up – bottoms down. On left side. face out. Kicking sitting on board. hands straight ahead. face out. 4. Kicking with board holding at back blowing bubbles.   Kicking with one hand reaching for the sky – other hand does backstroke. On right side. Kick on back (life-saving kick) Breastroke dive under the water. On bottom. Double arm backstroke. 2. 3 under.   Right arm only with dolphin kick. Kicking without board arms outstretched and thumbs pointing at the sky. On top. BREASTROKE DRILLS     Kicking with board holding in front.     Kicking. hands at hips. Left arm only with dolphin kick. One arms stretched above head other arm pulling.

Forward header – stand on side of pool with legs apart and bent. 1. head down between arms and “torch” (head) pointing to opposite side and fall in. hands touching toes. Full stroke concentrating on stretch. Very important that head does not point to the bottom of the pool – must point to the opposite side. Full stroke concentrating on breathing with chin on water. knees apart. fun race etc 14 . 3 strokes. point arms into water. come up. repeat Dolphin kick under x 6.    DIVES Dolphin kick x 6 and 1 stroke. Humpty Dumpty (for very young swimmers) – sit on edge of pool with legs hanging in water. Your aim is to keep the children motivated and interested and the way to do this is to vary activities and to make the lessons fun! A general lesson plan which can be adjusted to all classes would include the following:       Period of adjustment to the water Warm up Progressions to arrive at doggie paddle action Progressions to arrive at free style action – kicking. 2. toes over the edge. fetching rings. LESSON PLANS When planning your swimming lessons it is important to consider the abilities of the pupils and to ensure that all of them have a reasonable chance of achievement. Hands swing forward and toes push off. Repeat. catch-up etc Introduction of another stroke Warm-down period – diving.

Smith. E Elementary Course notes.   Pool buoys Coloured rings – used under the water to encourage the children to open their eyes under the water and to encourage blowing bubbles under the water. Baby. J and Crequeen. 15 . and they can be used for diving and retrieving games. they can also be cut into 30cm lengths to be used for catch-up activities and for streamlining. A Swimming Games and Activities London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd.   Weighted hoops Flippers – to encourage the correct kicking action Developed by Nicky Mazoue (BEd. Elementary and Intermediate Swim Instructors Certificates) BIBLIOGRAPHY Noble.USEFUL SWIMMING AIDS   Kickerboards Pool noodles – the value of these cannot be underestimated – they can be used for group games (eg crocodile or caterpillar races). they are positioned under the child’s arms – this frees both their arms and legs for doggy paddle movements. 2009. as well as as flotation devices.