his is one of the most popular times of year when people look for a private swim instructor, whether for their child or for themselves. While there are many benefits to joining a swim club, some of us would feel more comfortable having the individual instruction and coaching that private sessions can offer instead.
Working with a swim instructor is great for many reasons: you're able to learn at your own pace, you can fine tune your technique with individualized attention, and possibly make a friend for life. Before hiring anyone, here are some things to consider.
1. Professional Certifications
One of the first things you can do to ensure you are getting a qualified coach is to ask for their certifications. On the safety side, you should look for a Red Cross certification in Adult, Child or Infant CPR, depending on who is taking the lessons, First Aid certifications, and Water Safety Instruction, the Red Cross’s designation for a certified swimming teacher.1
Beyond that, ask for the instructor's technical background. Ask them questions about their professional training and experience: did they swim professionally, how many years of coaching do they have, where did they earn their swim training. Feel comfortable asking for a reference, too. Many of the best coaches and instructors will be able to provide you with some names of satisfied clients.
2. Motivation Techniques
While perfecting your dolphin kick or backstroke is one thing, you want to make sure that your swim instructor knows what motivates you or your child and can use related techniques to keep you coming back to future sessions. Sit down with your coach and understand their style: do they motivate by challenging you and helping you to see your potential, or are they more of a drill sergeant type? Choose someone whose style works with you so that you feel comfortable, energized, and motivated to attend class!
3. What's the Content?
Before hiring someone, find out what the lessons are like and what type of content you'll be focusing on during your swim workouts. And make sure you have your own focus and goals too, and bring that up with your instructor. Sit down and put an action plan together and make sure that your instructor has a way to measure your progress at regular intervals.
Also, find out your instructor's area of expertise. Do they specialize in working with children? Or do they have mainly an adult clientele? If they're used to providing content and teaching lessons to 8 year olds, they may not be the best choice for your teenager and vice versa.
4. Personality Plus
You, or your child, will probably be spending lots of time with this new instructor, so make sure that there's a personality match. In the same way that you're not best buddies with everyone at the office, you may not relate
well to every coach out there. This is especially true for your child. Have your child meet the instructor before the first lesson to get comfortable, and observe the first few sessions to see if your child is learning and enjoying themselves. And check in with your child and see how they are liking the sessions, too. Getting their feedback early on will be beneficial for everyone.
5. Odds & Ends
In addition to the things above, there's a few other items to consider to make sure you get the best instructor for you. Don't forget to ask about scheduling, access to pools, refund or rescheduling policy, etc. If you're hiring someone for your child, definitely ask about rescheduling policies since there might be last minute academic issues that come up, which might prevent your son or daughter from attending their session.
Once you've made a choice, one thing is for sure - you are doing something positive for your health and fitness. To learn more about nutrition for swimmers and how you can achieve top performance, subscribe to our P2Life blog today!