The aim of this page is to help you as a swimming instructor. We hope you will start to think about how SwimFin could be used within your lessons and learn to swim programmes – whether this be in group classes or one to one settings.
Before we get started here are some key points to remember:
- There are no rules on how to use SwimFin
- Imagination and teaching knowledge is the key to delivering a successful lesson
- How it works for one user is different to how it works for the next
- The child’s perspective of a SwimFin needs to be taken into account
The advantages of SwimFin compared to other buoyancy aids are as follows:
- Essentially it’s fun
- Used on the back so it’s out of the way
- Allows freedom with no restriction to the arms and legs
- Works on all ages, all strokes and all abilities
- Strong and durable
- Teaching aid
- Buoyancy aid
- Fun water toy
- Psychological tool
Primarily every swimming lesson has to be in a happy environment if the children are to enjoy their time in the water. When a child first observes a SwimFin sitting on the side of the pool, they are immediately drawn to the ‘fun’ factor. In almost every case when given a choice between armbands etc or a SwimFin, their sense of play comes into force.
Unlike armbands, body vests and costumes with floats attached, SwimFin is placed high on the back by two adjustable elasticated hook & loop straps allowing total freedom of the arms and legs. It’s very difficult to move through the water with other buoyancy aids due to the resistance they cause. SwimFin’s patented profile design allows easier movement through the water.
No other piece of equipment can be used on all four strokes from beginner level to more advanced. Plus it has the ability to replace a kick board (floats) and pull buoys.
SwimFin isn’t just a buoyancy aid, it’s the only piece of equipment in the world that can be used on every ability from the very young, (generally from around 18 months up to adults, and one size works for everyone). It is recommended that a young child needs to have the ability to control their head – ie: be able to lift it above the water level. Although not designed to tip a child forward, on the very smallest – youngest child this may happen in the early stages until the child is strong enough to work with it. The positioning of SwimFin is above the centre of gravity so this should suspend the child with their chin on the water and legs hanging down. The development of SwimFin allows it to support the heavier user. It is guaranteed to keep an adult afloat (tried and tested by adults/instructors).
*Important please note* – SwimFin must NEVER be worn on the front of the body.
SWIMMING STROKES – the most common teaching practices
The teacher needs to bear in mind what works well for one child might not necessarily follow on the next. It is a huge advantage if the teaching knowledge and ability is imaginative and adaptable.
LEARNING TO BREATHE
This will save complicated instructions generally given, i.e., working with centre lines and shoulder lines. They work it out for themselves as they are aware of what’s happening due to the demonstration between a shaky SwimFin and a steady SwimFin. More complicated drills can be used for more able swimmers, for example, one arm extended whilst the other works, or one arm behind the back. This exercise will encourage awareness and develop a stronger stroke.
Once comfortable the legs can be used as a continuous and alternating action giving the child gentle propulsion, but support at the same time. Once balance is established then by simply rolling a shoulder SwimFin will rotate the swimmer into an upright position. This action gives the user vast confidence as they are in control and may stop whenever they feel. But because of the support they generally carry on allowing the strokes to be practiced. SwimFin will teach them how to use their body balance, usually the lazier swimmers find this a little more taxing. This rolling movement becomes a massive advantage for the more able swimmers, it will let them know if their body is straight.
The profile design will allow only minimal resistance when travelling through the water. By using different drills, arms beside the body, arms extended in line with the body, one arm exercises etc, all shift the centre of gravity encouraging inner core development.
By copying the arm movements of the instructor and by using the correct teaching points then the swimmer will improve the prone position and in return raising SwimFin out of the water thus offering less support.
If we imagine the arms have improved and we start to focus on the leg action, the problem arises where the arms are working at one time in one direction and the legs are working at a different time in a different direction. How long did it take you to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time? Full stroke is confusing and takes lots of practice and the swimmers always struggle, possibly panic or simply have arms and legs all over the place. The reassurance they have knowing they are supported will allow them to slow the exercise down and practice, practice, practice. Breast stroke legs can be practiced similarly as they would be on back stroke, i.e., the invisible hand but the freedom and confidence to continue.
As previously mentioned, SwimFin is out of the water, so no arm restrictions. Once the undulation improves and the body submerges under the water, then in theory SwimFin will assist them (with a powerful leg kick) to gain more height out of the water to assist recovery of the arms. What is really useful, fun and demanding for the advance fly kickers is to set challenges. See who can swim the furthest under water (not on top). SwimFin now becomes a training tool. If the swimmer is off balance, SwimFin will try to turn him or her over. If the swimmer has a weak leg kick SwimFin will bring him/her to the surface. The only way the swimmer can maintain submersion is to super stretch, keep straight and power kick.
Set distances within the group, who can get the furthest etc. After all when they are at this level they are here to work hard (but have fun at the same time).
The above are just some examples, the teacher should be able to work with the scientific principles SwimFin uses. As mentioned in the header, there are no rules.
SwimFin is useful for teaching forward and back rolls. It assists in maintaining the body from rolling sideways and once past the centre point of the roll will assist in a quicker recovery, aiding the children to surface sooner with less panic. Progression will take them to turning at the wall.
SwimFin is a great tool for playing all types of water games which always boosts confidence. Simple games like tag, one shark chasing all the fishes. SwimFin can be used to identify a beginner, (eg red for danger). Progression within the groups, similarly to graded belts in judo (black belt = black SwimFin). It can be used as a reward, the best achiever gets to wear the Orange SwimFin for example.
This is all imagination….. what can you think of?