The Short Story:
Every swim school has different methods, but at the end of the day a 4-6 week season at school isn't going to debunk what we've been working on. I believe that any time in the water is time well spent. The best approach to a swimmer managing different coaching methods is to tell your children to have fun and do what they’re told at school lessons and then do what we tell them at our lessons. School swimming teachers have a hard gig dealing with multiple skill levels and evaluating them quickly and then trying to get some learning done. They don’t need swimmers saying, “That’s not how Tanya does it”.
The long story:
Our goals for swimming
- Water Awareness
- Water Safety
- Water Independence
- Stroke Development
We are a little unique as a swim school in that our approach is to teach a stroke that won't require stroke correction – teach it right the first time. It can be challenging to teach this way but I strongly believe that learning this way is more rewarding and effective.
The biggest difference between our program and some others is the arm and hand pattern in freestyle; windmill arms vs. high elbow recovery. Children regularly come to my lessons after school swimming proudly showing me their ‘windmill’ arms. Windmill arms are an easy motor movement to teach (it’s the reciprocal spinning of each arm like a windmill). This movement creates a torso rocking motion that requires correction before a controlled stroke is developed. This type of movement also uses your large muscles groups for the entire stroke and slaps the water at the top of the stroke, both of which are very tiring. From very early in our program we teach a high elbow recovery that prevents a rocking torso and utilizes small muscles groups (tricep and bicep) in recovery before harnessing your large muscles groups (shoulders and chest) in the active part of your stroke. In early freestyle development the elbow recovery happens under the water and as the arm and hand patterns continue to develop the elbow and hand begin emerging from the water during recovery.
I don’t believe in dumbing down learning of any kind and we don’t dumb down stroke development because in doing so you may require more time in Learn to Swim to correct stroke faults before moving on. Unlearning a technique is so much harder than knuckling down and doing it right the first time.
Your swimmers will not develop long term changes to their stroke development in the short time they spend in school swimming lessons. So what I’m saying is this; enjoy your school swimming, be excited for your child to have some fun at school and get a break from the classroom and don't forget about the wet togs at the bottom of your school bag because it won't take long for them to begin to stink!