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To expect more from swimming lessons?

(73 Posts)
sophielouise Sun 20-May-18 20:33:10

My DD (7) has weekly swimming lessons at the local pool. There are often up to 10 other children in her lesson. I've noticed that during the lesson every week they just do the same thing, and the teacher just gives them an instruction such as, "now swim one length with the float doing the right arm front crawl.." "now do the left" etc. but doesn't actually seem to 'coach' them. E.g he will never comment on their swimming, telling them what's good, or how to improve. Is this normal? How are they expected to get any better if the teacher doesn't actually tell them? I was going to complain but didn't want to come across as expecting too much. What's supposed to happen at a swimming lesson? I have memories of being followed along the side of the pool and being shouted at/ encouraged as I swam...

User467 Sun 20-May-18 20:36:38

I changed pools for that vey reason. Ploughing money in to make zero progress. We're at a much smaller pool now but the teaching is MUCH better.

delilahbucket Sun 20-May-18 20:39:14

It depends on what level the class is at as to whether they need to be doing things "correctly" yet.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sun 20-May-18 20:39:48

We go to a private swim school for this reason. The lessons are 50p per week more but there are a max of 4 in the class and our DCs learned really quickly and have been taught and corrected in their swimming very effectively.

Ploppymoodypants Sun 20-May-18 20:42:04

Yep I tried group lessons and could see I was sinking money away and it would be years before any progress was made.
I dug very deep into my pockets and paid for 2 terms of private 121 lessons, DD now swimming front and back unaided and we have our Thursday evenings back.
In the long run I know I have saved loads of money and about 3 years of the gaff if blinkin swimming lessons every Thursday evening.

sophielouise Sun 20-May-18 20:45:49

She is dong something called stage '4' and wears a green hat. It's a national scheme I believe. She can do front crawl and back crawl. Her front crawl technique isn't great at all and I think she isn't getting into bad habits if that possible at this stage. The alternatives seem to be to choose one of those swimming clubs which always seem a bit competitive..

Melamin Sun 20-May-18 20:50:59

DS got sent down a class at the local pool because his breast stroke was not deemed good enough by the teacher, after several weeks in that class.

So he got put in with much younger children, they were in the wrong point of the lesson cycle to be doing breast stroke and I think he did it about once or twice in the 2 1/2 terms that I took him - so no chanc of improvement there then hmm. They just kept doing the stuff he had done. He was also going every week with school at that time, so that was twice weekly.

Then they had a substitute teacher who sent him down to the shallow end of the class for arsing around with the boy next to him, who was left there (DS was much taller). So I took him out.

I just wish I had been more switched on like pp above and used the money elsewhere. I was paying for 3 dc in that time, so not cheap.

I came to the conclusion that the lessons were fine for natural swimmers who would go on to join the swimming club etc but no use to actually teach a child who needed it.

UnimaginativeUsername Sun 20-May-18 20:51:51

We switched DS2 to a different pool and then into individual lessons. The difference in progress with both switches was amazing. The first pool was hopeless. The new pool was great, but then he did an intensive course one half term that was accidentally one to one and we saw what a difference individual lessons made for him. We figured it would probably save money in the long term over group lessons as he’d learn so much faster.

However, it didn’t quite work out that way. He did learn fast, but he discovered that he loves swimming and wanted to do more if it. So it hasn’t saved us money as now we pay for more advanced coaching! After he finished stage 9 he went into the dolphin squad at the pool, and now he’s transferring to one of the city team’s development squads. He did a gala today and won 2 gold medals, so he’s delighted with himself.

FullOfJellyBeans Sun 20-May-18 20:52:41

Know what you mean at my pool private lessons were about twice as much as huge group lessons where the DC's learned nothing. The kids learned about 5 times faster in the private lesson so it paid off.

TheNoodlesIncident Sun 20-May-18 20:53:29

In the swim school we use there are about five coaches teaching separate small groups at varying stages of development. There are also additional helpers in the pool for the beginners, not just the coach on the side. Our coaches will tell the children where they are going wrong, as it will be harder to put right if the wrong arm action (for example) has become a habit; it might also have repercussions long term if the wrong swimming style causes eventual muscle damage (a coach mentioned this but I don't know what the likelihood of its actually happening are).

If I were you I would be investigating other swim schools. A better one might cost more money but if you don't get results in your dc making progress, you're wasting your money on inadequate lessons anyway.

My ds is in a group with a variable number of children, but it's usually around 3 or 4. It varies due to children moving up a group as well as if one isn't well, etc.

twinkydink Sun 20-May-18 20:57:27

Stage 4 they should most certainly be working on stroke corrections. I am a swimming teacher and I give individual children feedback throughout each lesson. some weeks some children will have more than others but it generally evens it's self out across a term. At that level there will be something every xhild can be doing to improve so there is a huge amount of scope for feedback.

It's the same with everything though not all teachers are of the same quality. if you aren't happy move. private lessons aren't necessary if you have a good group teacher but obviously if you are 121 the focus is on your child alone so you should see improvements sooner.

Ask to have a trial at another swim school and see what you think before you commit. I've worked with some amazing teachers and some rubbish ones you just have to find the good ones! ask on local Facebook groups for recommendations too.

CheeseAndTomSandwich Sun 20-May-18 20:58:23

Is your pool an Everyone Active pool OP? 4 of my kids do lessons through them too. There's a max of 10 per group. In terms of what your daughter should be learning, look on the back of her stage 3 certificate and it should tell you what they'll be learning in stage 4. If you're not happy, I would suggest you see if they have another stage 4 you can get her in to with a different teacher as some seem to be a lot more thorough than others with their groups. One guy I see teaching (who my son had for st3) gets in the water and shows the kids properly. I like that he does that.

UnimaginativeUsername Sun 20-May-18 20:59:48

The alternatives seem to be to choose one of those swimming clubs which always seem a bit competitive.

Not at stage 4 they won’t be. At all.

Even DS2’s dolphin squad isn’t at all competitive (they’re all stage 7 and up). They can choose to enter local galas a couple of times a year just for fun, but the club sessions are not at all competitive.

twinkydink Sun 20-May-18 21:00:23

one more thing don't be put off by a club, they aren't necessarily competitive at that stage. There are opportunities to compete but at the level you are at its not a requirement. But again go and have a trial and see if it fits for you.

UnimaginativeUsername Sun 20-May-18 21:09:36

Even the galas that DS2 has been to haven’t been intimidating and competitive. They’re more set up to be fun, encouraging and supportive for the children. Everyone got a medal (some just for taking part; others for coming first, second or third in their age category for a race) and the parents were encouraged to cheer loudly for everyone.

That’s not to say that your DD will need or want to compete - just that swimming clubs are not necessarily anything to be wary of.

I was a bit skeptical about it the while club thing (for the same reasons as you), but it really has all been much more supportive than I was expecting. They want children to enjoy swimming and want to keep at it.

sophielouise Sun 20-May-18 21:21:17

Thanks for all your suggestions and input. I will mention it to the pool and see if they have a different group. There is a club based there too and I have emailed them. It sounded quite official on their website though as she would need to go for a 'trial' which sounds quite off putting!

UnimaginativeUsername Sun 20-May-18 21:27:56

Trial tends to make it sound worse than it is.

DS2 was really nervous about his trial with the city team but afterwards said he didn’t know what he was worried about.

Whatever the trial is should be appropriate to the level and, if it’s horrible, you’ll know that the club is not right for your DD. The trying out process works both ways!

CaptainCarp Sun 20-May-18 21:29:03

The problem is a teacher can have up to 12 children in a lesson depending on their qualification BUT it can be hard to get round every child in 1 width.
The best pool I taught in has 2 teachers in each lesson. At level 4 the teacher sboulders be helping with comments such as "remember keep you fingers together" / "tummies up" but more to the whole group not 1 individual. It's common to not individually coach until blue hats as they prepare to move to lane lessons.

Level 4 is building a basic understanding of strokes. Looking at encouraging arms out of the water / starting butterfly. Building up confidence & strength in the water.
Some instructors definitely just "go through the motions" & the children do run a risk of stagnating.

Please, Don't send your child to a club. The coaches are there to refine techniques & build speed or stamina not to teach your child how to swim.

UnimaginativeUsername Sun 20-May-18 21:37:29

Please, Don't send your child to a club. The coaches are there to refine techniques & build speed or stamina not to teach your child how to swim.

I can think of several clubs near me that start with non-swimmers and go right up to competitive squads. The ones that are about refining, stamina and speed will usually specify that they take children from level 6 or 7. But there are quite a lot of clubs that have a lesson structure before anything else (it’s how they ensure that they get children through into their competitive squads).

missymayhemsmum Sun 20-May-18 21:45:02

Can I ask for curiosity, if you are a competent swimmer yourself, why you choose to send your child to group swimming lessons? I mean fine if they want to join a swim club, and for the discipline of going every week, but otherwise? Just curious.

siwel123 Sun 20-May-18 21:49:32

It is better to be taught by a coach then an emotional parent imo

Alwaysrushingaround Sun 20-May-18 21:54:22

Can I ask , what is the best age to start swimming lessons? My DS is five and has had lessons since September and is doing well ( small group setting) but maybe he is a bit young to remember everything? Thanks all in advance

siwel123 Sun 20-May-18 21:55:09

5 is a good age, he will remember smile

CaptainCarp Sun 20-May-18 22:07:20

I can think of several clubs near me that start with non-swimmers and go right up to competitive squads. The ones that are about refining, stamina and speed will usually specify that they take children from level 6 or 7. But there are quite a lot of clubs that have a lesson structure before anything else (it’s how they ensure that they get children through into their competitive squads)

Fair enough all the ones local to me don't have the time or space to take non-swimmers & would only take swimmers from level 6 or possibly a level 5 who was close to going up. If a less able child went they would struggle with the distance and/or pace & it would most likely put them off swimming.

It is better to be taught by a coach then an emotional parent imo

I know someone who was a very good swimming teacher but struggled with their own child when they got to the stage of swimming a width so sent them to lessons.

PlasticDaggers Mon 21-May-18 00:01:06

My eldest did the colour coded hat levels ones for what felt like ages. Red and orange hats (stage 1+2)was just pointless imo, it seemed to just be doing widths with arm bands and jumping in, stuff she'd been doing with me for ages. She got up to blue hats before she wanted to stop and by then she was confident enough in the deep end and could swim a fair distance but I don't feel she ever perfected a stroke and they focused too much on crawl (I love a nice comfy chilled breaststroke). It felt like they were dragging the lessons out as much as possible. I seem to remember as a kid having just a couple of terms of lessons and then being a confident casual swimmer.
My 5 year old has just started but it's a different scheme with the teacher in the water and max 6 kids. 5 lessons in and she's already doing stuff it took 20+ lessons for my first child to get to! It's way better, friendlier, much more imput from the teacher. Wish I'd ditched my eldest's sooner and found a different scheme.

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