swimming lessons

How do you give swimming lessons in an outdoor pool?

When the Swimming Lifeguard Class was introduced around 1997, a distinction was made between teaching in an ideal indoor pool, a deep-water pool and an outdoor pool. It is hardly possible to develop an effective teaching method that can be applied under all circumstances. This piece takes a closer look at methods for an outdoor pool.

A swimming teacher will take biomechanics as the basis for developing and applying a teaching method.

  1. Are we assuming the natural buoyancy and balance of the human body in water?
  2. Or do we give that buoyancy and balance a hand by using flotation devices?

In addition, the swimming teacher will consider the principles of training teaching in the structure of the lesson.

The two principles are very difficult to combine. Approached from practice and summarized in two statements:

  1. First build up condition and only then move correctly.
  2. First learn to move correctly and only then condition.

In discovery learning without flotation devices, the child will experience for himself which movements produce results and how they do not work. Technical errors in the thrust movements will therefore be observable during the learning process. But because of the much exercise, the condition will increase quickly.

When using flotation devices, the child can quietly explore the correct technique in phases. The conditional aspect is only added with a completely correct movement.

In an ideal swimming pool with a movable bottom and nice warm water, both options are possible.

In a deep-water pool, safety should always be paramount. The choice for propellants is then quickly made. Not necessary, by the way, because “swimming lessons together” also provides opportunities. But that is an other story.

There is no such thing as a standard outdoor pool. The water depths can vary. Sometimes the water is even cloudy if it is a natural bath. In warm sunny weather, in principle, anything is possible. But in cold rainy and windy weather, those conditions are sometimes disturbing.

So how do you develop a perfect teaching method for an outdoor pool?


I shouted “eureka” around 1997 during the implementation of the Swimming ABC in the outdoor pool in Oudewater. Why one method at all? So I started experimenting and developed the dual teaching method along the way.

  1. In good weather, use the primary method without flotation devices.
  2. In good weather, the movement rhythm is low and the method is discovering.
  3. In good weather you swim in swimsuits without shoes.
  4. In bad weather, use the secondary method with flotation devices.
  5. In bad weather, the rhythm of movement is high and aimed at making meters.
  6. In bad weather you swim fully clothed with shoes.

This list is much longer.

Both opposing teaching methods are merging for the summer holidays. So about after 10 weeks of lessons halfway through the training. In the remaining weeks of the season, the children can bridge fairly long distances with a technically correct gross to fine motor movement. In addition, safety and orientation underwater are already quite well developed.

Measured over a respondent of 80 children in the first season, 70% already obtained the A diploma within 20 weeks of lessons, or 20 hours of swimming lessons. During the 1998 and 1999 seasons, the method was sharpened and this percentage increased to 80%. It should be noted that the subscription system strongly encouraged extra swimming outside of class times. These children often had 40 or more hours of water experience during diploma swimming.

Category: Education

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