Chapter Three-A~Learning The Tasks
The Home Pool


At The Pool (Instructor)


Thoughts to Consider:

If you have already studied the "Individual" instructions, you're probably dismayed because the progressions are slow. An "Instructor" led Water-Shy class, however, is conducted at a faster rate. Keep in mind that without the reassurance of a certified instructor, individuals are less confident. Those who are teaching themselves will progress more slowly than pupils in a class. Task progressions for classes, therefore, will move more quickly than ones for "Individual."

The lesson plans throughout this text have worked well in all my classes. They have been tried and proven effective. Occasionally, pupils with extreme trauma are unable to progress any faster than what is expected for an "Individual," and in some cases may even progress more slowly. Generally, out of a class of ten or fifteen there's likely to be one or two such pupils. Patience with them is mandatory.

Remember, it isn't necessary to cover a specified number of tasks in any one lesson nor is it necessary to keep everyone at the same level of achievement. If you do not have the patience to teach those who are slow, you should teach only standard swim courses. It's normal to want pupils to learn quickly--it gives you a good feeling and makes your efforts seem more worthwhile. That feeling is greater, however, when you are successful in teaching those who never believed they could swim, how to learn and enjoy a few good strokes.

No matter how traumatized my pupils were, if they attended classes regularly they learned at least one stroke fairly well and lost their fear of water enough to enjoy being in it. Some may still have little quirks about safety, like the lady who could only swim toward the deep end if her right arm was next to the pool side.

More than half of my pupils went on to learn how to dive off the board, and several have become ardent lap swimmers. It's important that you give pupils constant encouragement and convince them that they will learn to swim as long as they show up for classes!



1--While wearing your swim suit, have clothed pupils gather around you seated on deck. (Being clothed will help pupils to relieve tensions)

2--Introduce yourself and have others do the same.

3--Explain how classes will be conducted, ie., going at their own pace; individual help; no time limits, etc..

4--Explain the pool's and your own rules.

5--State the importance of regular attendance and practice between classes.

6--Pause for questions and answer them.

The above segment should take no more than ten minutes.

7--Have pupils get into suits and take quick showers. Refer to "The Shower" in "Individual section of this chapter to guide those who are self conscious or nervous about taking them.


After showers, have class form semicircle around you on deck.

1--Explain safety rules about entering the pool (see Individual)

2--Show how to enter pool. Demonstrate three times (3 X), slowly, fast, then slowly again. Answer questions.

3--Stand in water next to pool entry ladder (or terrace.) Have pupils line up on deck. First person begins entry.

4--If there are rails, reach up with hand and hold onto one. Lightly touch pupils' elbows with other hand as each descends. Guide each pupil singly to side. If pool is terraced guide pupils to side after they reach the last step.

5--Have pupils hold onto side and wait.

If anyone starts to slip while entering, slide your hand up pupil's arm with thumb to outside and lift upward. (see illustration) Do not help pupils into pool unless they are losing their balance. Let them enter by themselves. Your fingers lightly touching their elbows will reassure them.



1--Have everyone hold hands and form a circle.

2--Explain that they will get used to the water first.

3--While holding hands forming a circle (including yourself) have class rotate walking counter clockwise.

4--Class walks slowly at least three full circles. Note signs of fear such as tenseness, holding arms close to body, shaking. Adjust speed accordingly until all are at ease.

5--Stop. Class now moves clockwise several times around. As they become relaxed, increase speed.

6--Still holding hands class takes long side-steps moving clockwise and then counter clockwise.

7--Slowing down or speeding up as necessary, continue with above tasks until everyone feels at ease.

8--Still holding hands demonstrate a forward leg swing. On count of three have class swing right leg forward then put it back.

9--Demonstrate backward leg swing. On count of three class performs backward swing with right leg.

10-Demonstrate swinging right leg back and forth several times.

11-Class swings right leg back and forth several times while still holding hands.

12-Class repeats same movements with left leg.

13-Holding hands, class does ten back and forth leg swings with each leg.


You must always remember the four principles of teaching new skills. In order, they are:



3--Class Performance



Most people will be at ease with the following progressions. I cannot recall anyone who was unable to perform these tasks after gradually being led up to them in the manner described above. If you do have ones who are extremely uneasy assure them it's merely a matter of time and repetition before they are comfortable performing them. Lead those who are unable to perform any task (due to trauma) to the pool side where they may repeat everything from the beginning by themselves. These pupils MUST NOT FEEL PRESSURED to "keep up with the class." I've found that they do remarkably well when allowed to practice by themselves, especially if there's another pupil who shares their apprehension and they can work together. Do not ignore them--you must check on them periodically to offer suggestions, encouragement and praise as they progress. Keep in mind it's seldom a lack of physical ability to do the tasks--it's usually all mental.

FIRST SET (Leading to Face Immersion)
1--Still standing in circle at shallow end, have pupils release hands.
2--Scoop water in one hand and dab onto your shoulder. Have class do the same.
3--Repeat above for opposite shoulder. Class does same.
4--Class repeats tasks # 2 and # 3 at least 4 X, or until everyone is at ease with them.
5--Scoop up water with both hands and splash against chest.
6--Class does same and repeats at least 4 X.
7--Class repeats # 2 through # 6 at least 3 X.

SECOND SET (Leading to Face Immersion)
1--Holding hand of pupil on either side of you, explain that on count of three you will bend your knees until water comes up to your neck, then you will stand up. Demonstrate 3 X.
2--Class holds hands. On count of three class performs demonstrated task.
3--Class repeats above at least five times in succession.
4--Move class to pool side with backs against wall and facing you.
5--Explain and demonstrate: With feet shoulder width apart, scoop water into cupped hands and bring to face. Repeat 3 X
6--Class does demonstrated task at least 3 X.
7--Demonstrate: Fill hands with water, keeping backs of cupped hands on pool surface. Bend down, put face into hands and blow air out mouth (blowing bubbles). Perform 3 X.
8--Class performs demonstrated task 5 X.
9--Demonstrate same task again but this time keep cupped hands about two inches below pool surface. Blow air into them. Repeat 4 X.
10-On count of three, class will bend over and perform demonstrated task, then stand.
11-Class repeats # 10 at least 3 X.
When you are certain everyone is comfortable doing above tasks, go to Set Three.

Blowing Bubbles With Hands Cupped Under Water.

In a rectangular pool it's best for class to stand at end and for you to demonstrate from right or left side or directly in front of them. This allows everyone a good view.

THIRD SET (Full Face Immersion)

1--Demonstrate holding onto side (facing deck) with elbows straight, waist bent forward and legs straight back. Describe position several times. Stress straight, locked-out arms and legs and standing on tip-toes.
2--Class assumes above position. Walk down line, critique individually until all are in correct position. Most will do task perfectly without critique if you explain well. Have class stand, then get into correct position 3 X.
3--Go to side, take deep breath and hold above position, this time pushing toes farther back until face is well into the water.
4--Class takes deep breath and performs "straight-arm, straight-leg" face immersion (See Illustration)

5--Critique individually. Class performs full face immersion in "straight-arm, straight-leg" position at least 5 X.
Depending upon the class and your time this may be as far as you can go with the first lesson. I've usually been able to take everyone through the Stationary Float or beyond in the first class as most pupils are merely nervous about learning how to swim and not truly traumatic. Many had simply found that regular classes were moving too fast for them.
Because progressions for the Stationary Float is an easy next step you may wish to go ahead and teach it in this first lesson.

Chapter 3-C--Stationary Float (Instructor)
The Home Pool
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