New Phone Number (850) 860.6525
New Phone Number (850) 860.6525
No. I prefer that you stay on deck and listen and learn. I believe that parents and caregivers are the first line of defense against drowning. Children should not carry the burden of saving their own lives; caregivers must be responsible and play a major role in swim lessons and water safety education.
I will speak to parents and caregivers frequently during lessons in order to share water safety information, offer water response analysis (in-water personality, physiology, and performance), and share teaching techniques so that proper form can be enforced outside of lessons and lessons can be continued with the parent and caregiver.
It depends on your goal.
An adult client can sign up for one or couple at a time (between 30 minutes and an hour) and space them out anywhere between once a week to once a month. Adults are disciplined toward "training," can take notes, and can go to a pool and practice.
For kids, it really depends on your goal, your budget, your flexibility, and your schedule. If you really have no clue, then start with the 8x30 minute package. It will cut you a cost break and is a standard number of typical lessons if you were to sign up for a conventional and institutional group class.
I would suggest taking the amount you are budgeting per month and spread the lessons out accordingly. Mix mini lessons with private lessons if all private lessons is beyond the budget and schedule - that is a popular choice. One big lesson a week and a reinforcer!
These are treated a little different. Typically, we want to emphasize frequency. So, If you can do 8 lessons, I'd want them back to back. High fear clients are also bad candidates for the mini lessons. Sometimes after meeting and talking, we decide that 45 minutes is best. I am very skilled with children and adults who are extremely afraid of the water - some will not even go near a pool. Patience and frequency are key.
Everyone's definition of "learning to swim" is different. For me, someone who can swim is calm in mind and body in the water. Their movements are purposeful, not frantic. They recognize, by feel, that the water is a tool and they utilize it in an efficient manner my method introduces, corrects, and refines a series of buoyancy, balance, strength, endurance, and momentum skills that result in a calm, efficient swimmer.
Every child is different at each stage on each day. I can get most children to put their face in the water and hold their breath by the first lesson. Some get to elementary floating on their tummy. However, every child is different. Some take longer than others. A child who struggles to put his or her face in the water, may excel at kicking, so there is no reason to get upset or rush the process...everything works out as it should.
Mini Lessons work best when paired with 30-minute private lessons and as a "second touch" lesson during the week. I usually suggest scheduling the 30-minute private lesson first during the week and then scheduling the mini lesson later in the week in order to reinforce muscle memory and lessons learned during the longer lesson.
Mini lessons do work as stand alone lessons is they are scheduled consistently and frequently over a longer period of time. However, you will get more out of the combination lessons than the mini's alone.
As early as 1, a child can start learning some basic skills like floating on their back and holding their breath. Around the age of 10 months, babies lose the instinctive reaction to hold their breath. So, if your baby is holding her breath underwater at 6 months old, she's not the next Michaela Phelps, she's just doing what she did in your belly. AND when she hits 10 months old or the next swim season, she most likely will have to learn to hold her breath. Therefore, it is my opinion that a 6 month old does not need to be exposed to public or unknown pool water.
Most kids cannot lift their heads to breathe until they are about 3.5 to 4 years old but there are all kinds of swimming and safety skills they can learn between the ages of 1 and 3.5.
The other important age milestone:
Anyone who does not know how to swim after the age of 3 needs to learn how to swim! Parents! Your children learn from you. If you do not know how to swim, sign up for private lessons or family lessons. YOU are the first line of defense against your child drowning. If you cannot swim, you put them at greater risk for being drowning victims either by example or if they ever need your help, you will not be able to help them.
I teach all ages -
1 year to 100.
If you can walk into the pool, you need to know how to swim.
- I offer the 8 lesson packages to encourage folks to sign up for those.
- I recommend beginners start with the 30 minute private lessons or alternating the 30 minute private and the 15 minute private lessons.
- Appointments are first come/first serve, so you want a certain day and time, book as many ahead of time as your budget and schedule will allow. HOWEVER, DO NOT BOOK LESSONS IF YOU DO NOT KNOW IF YOU CAN KEEP THEM.
- High anxiety of special needs students should not sign up for the Mini Lessons until they have gotten used to the program and have been approved by the instructor.
I recommend a wetsuit for spring lessons at Barracuda and for any other lessons that are indoors. It is very difficult for a shivering child to learn. Unlike when a child is playing in a pool, swim lessons require a lot of sitting and listening time. This can cause even the most cold-hardy child to get a little shivery.
Warmbelly.com is my favorite swim lesson wetsuit for children. It is adjustable, protects the core, ships quickly and is economical. I have no affiliation with them - they are simply an awesome company and sell a great product.
No. I am not an Infant Swimming Resource Instructor, nor do I believe in the method. While I am very vocal against the practice, I do believe that parents need to do what they feel is best and research before putting their child in any swim program. The following are my reasons that I am anti-ISR:
1. I do not believe that “lessons by force” are productive in any way. If you teach a child to hate or fear the water, they will not learn to be efficient or calm.
2. Which leads to my second reason. I have yet to have an ISR-taught child who comes to me as a new student who can swim. Even older children "scoot" through the water, using tremendous energy, and worse. They are simply ineffective swimmers. I am sure there are exceptions; every instructor is different. But this is my experience.
3. I cannot say that all ISR instructors teach this, but some teach the children how to vomit. I have had children come up for air and then ram their hands down their throats. As a retired elite female athlete and a mother of a young girl, I found this disturbing and I do not want a child to ever be taught how to forcibly vomit.
4. Parents should always be on deck with their child. There are very few circumstances in which a parent needs to leave the deck. Sometimes I will ask a parent to leave for a short time if I have a child that cannot bond with me because he or she cannot break the gaze with mom. If a swim school says that you can never watch your child swim, I would find another swim school.
5. There is no reason to force a child to go underwater. It takes a little effort and patience and understanding to teach a child how to hold their breath.
6. A child naturally holds their breath underwater from birth to about 10 months. It's not a miraculous curriculum, it's womb memory. Holding their breath underwater at 3-months old does not translate to holding their breath at 12-months old; they will still have to either learn how or be forced until they do it to survive. So exposing your newborn to all of the germs and viruses at a public pool at such an early age is unnecessary. While they do hold their breath, rolling over from the tummy to the back, even when performing it in stages, can be a choking hazard. This is a tiny baby. It is simply not necessary and does not "drown-proof" your baby.
7. Which brings me to this: What is your 3-month old baby doing that they are in danger of falling into a pool and need to be "drown-proofed?" Think about it. There is NO danger of your newborn drowning in a pool unless you throw your child in. And by the time your baby can walk, they have lost they ability to naturally hold their breath, so whatever advances you believe you made in those early months are gone. That does not mean that there are not unique cases. There will always be a Michael Phelps.
or the concept that babies can be drown-proofed.
No, he doesn't.
I'm going to get kind of tough here. NO. Please don't.
"Big Arms" is not swimming freestyle. The majority of children do not have the coordination skills to 1) kick small, quick kicks 2) with one arm completely extended, hip rotated downward 3) with one eye, and half of mouth remaining in the water in order to breath to the side, 4) all the while remaining horizontal in the water on their side 5) and then rotating back to center while maintaining arm rotation and a kick that will keep them afloat. I have seen two 5-year-olds who can do this - not well - showing advanced, early coordination skills in the water. That is the only indicator it is. It does not indicate a future Olympian or even someone with a high level of talent - not yet.
Freestyle taught too early is detrimental for a number of reasons. 1) Once young children start "Big Arms" they do not easily switch back and forth between Big Arms and survival swimming. If they are constantly doing Big Arms and they get into an emergency situation, they will panic and get tired and revert to Big Arms no matter what you have been telling them about puppy paddle. And this is how that is going to look...a child who does Big Arms but cannot breathe to the side will do a couple of strokes and will lift the head FORWARD to breathe. This causes the feet/kick to stop and sink. This sinking pulls the rest of the body lower in the water...the entire body starts to sink. The child panics and starts again but lower in the water. Big Arms....lift head....BREATHE...slip further down. This cannot continue for more than 2-3 rotations before they have sunk below the surface.
2) Allowing or encouraging your child to swim this way is giving them false confidence. They cannot swim freestyle. The goal is for them to learn how to swim safely. Inherent in safety is the ability to breath and stay afloat under duress.
3) Because they do not have the coordination they need to learn the stroke properly, they are developing really bad habits that will have to broken when they are old enough to really start learning freestyle.
So please...don't do this. No Big Arms. There is no point. They are not going to make the Olympic Team at 6-years-old. The safety of your child is so much more important than any bragging rights you think you might have at the next PTA pow wow. And remember, Big Arms are not an accomplishment. They are a danger.
Family lesson classes were created for families with children ages six years old and up and were designed to meet the following goals: 1) promote swimming skills and water safety knowlege within the family unit 2) Encourage bonding, fun and accountability between family members 3) Decrease the number of emotional-response drownings by encouraging parents to learn how to swim 4) Provide younger children who experience social phobia or agoraphobia a softer, more familiar and supportive learning environment surrounded by family. (For children under six, these are special cases and require speaking to the instructor prior to booking to see if this is a good fit.)
Family lessons work best when they include children aged six and older. I sometimes allow for younger kids if 1) everyone is starting to learn a) breathing b) putting face in c) floating and 2) I am using it as a problem-solving technique if baby is problematically attached to Momma or Daddy and they also need lessons or 3) the child is stuck on a skill and I believe that family lessons would be a good way to get them up and over the hump or 4) If there is a special needs situation that I have determined Family Lessons would be helpful. These are all situations in which I have worked with the children in private lessons prior to suggesting Family Lessons.
Family lessons will not work for children under the age of three and a half because they learn by modeling and their coordination skills are significantly less advanced than their parental counterparts. The goal is for every one to progress and this is not possible if someone in the class requires special instruction.
Lessons with children under the age of three and a half who need a parent in the water are referred to ”Parent-Assisted” private lessons and not “Family Lessons.“ Parents will be learning instruction techniques, but they will not be learning how to swim.
Family lessons aren’t a great fit for everyone but when they work, they really are wonderful, but it depends on your goal. If your child is between the ages of 3-5 and you think that Family Lessons might be a way of saving money while everyone learns how to swim, I can tell you that will not be the case ...it would just take longer and more lessons for them to learn. Children between the ages of three and five will be best served in private lessons to start.