Everyone likes to be first, and everyone hates wasting time. It’s as true for learning to swim as it is for anything else. Because swimming is a sport, people often think of it as a race of speed and progression. The problem with this “being first” attitude is that learning is something where quality is as important as quantity. Learning to swim quickly, but learning to swim completely wrong, can be worse than not learning to swim at all and create an opportunity for danger. For example, learning to dive, but not paying attention to learning to check the depth of the water. In this context, you might find you don’t learn to swim as quickly as other people but, at the end of the learning process, learn to swim better; every learner is different and has their own unique challenges and aims.
So, this is a blog about making progress, rewarding success and being patient.
Trust your swimming instructor
At Dolphin Academy, we don’t progress our swimmers to the next swimming group unless they’re ready. Learning to swim happens in stages and must be done in the correct order otherwise there could be difficulties later. If someone can’t hold their breath under water, we can’t move them on to diving under water. It’s that simple.
We don’t hold our swimmers back because we’re mean, we don’t want them to succeed or because we think they’re not getting it. We do so because it’s not in their interest as a learner to progress to the next group until they’ve mastered the things in their current group.
And, we realise that progressing slower than you might want, can be a little bit disappointing for some people learning to swim or for some parents whose kids are learning – but it’s important to recognise how far you or your little dolphin have come already.
Reward and acknowledge successes
All our stages have certificates and clear milestones. To pass Stage 1 swimming, every swimmer must have performed a small sitting dive with streamlined arms and face in the water, as well as developed the strength to regain an upright position from their back without any support. These aren’t insignificant things and they’re important to the process of learning to swim.
Certificates are fantastic reminders that a stage has been passed, you really have achieved something, and you really have learnt something. If you’re feeling that you or your child is learning slowly, the truth is that you or your little one is probably learning a lot more than you realise. That’s why we have signed certificates available in our store for all our stages of achievement, it really does help motivate learners and acknowledge their success!
Is learning slower than others really a problem?
Of course, sometimes learning to swim, like anything else, does indeed take longer for some people compared to others. We understand that learners and parents can get competitive and feel under pressure. But from our practice of helping hundreds of young people and adults around Greater Manchester learn to swim, we know that every single learner is different. People initially scared of swimming will take longer, and should take longer, for example. But its important to ask yourself “Does it actually matter?” because unless you are, for example, trying to swim for a triathlon on a specific date – it’s not like you don’t have more time to learn.
You must ask yourself whether its better to learn quickly and skip over important things or better to learn properly. Similarly, it doesn’t really matter what other learners think of your swimming progression. Comparing yourself to others is not the best way for you to learn.
We are all different, and learn differently, but from our years of teaching people to swim we can say with surety that with persistence comes progress. And for our swimmers to be persistent we think it’s important they have a positive experience – celebrating little successes and milestones goes a long way and is truly important and helps our learners gain confidence. So, give your little one (or yourself) time, be patient and encouraging – learning a new skill takes time and hard work, but it stays with you forever!
Nevertheless, if you are still worried, we are always happy to help! Don’t hesitate to speak to any of our teachers 🙂