Who is a swimming coach?
Regardless of whether the children are on the grass, ice, water, it is the coach who has a significant influence on their growing up. Why? Because it depends on the coach's first encounter with the child, the future athlete, his attitude, look, tone of voice, whether the child will kick the ball today, tomorrow, or enter the pool, stand on the ice, jump high, jump over a hurdle ... do sport and enjoy it!
Who is the person who teaches children good habits, life skills, sports, swimming?
For more than two decades now, apart from being in the pool, I’ve spent a great deal of time in the stands ... Why? Because I like to observe how much the coaches are dedicated to children who encountered water and swimming for the first time: the reaction of children, and how coaches react to children's reactions in the pool. I'm not talking here about coaches who are preparing "big" swimmers for competitions, but about coaches who teach young children to swim, who introduce them to water and its benefits, but also dangers it brings along.
It is a great thing when as a coach, but also from a parental point of view, you observe other coaches working with the youngest children on a daily basis. I’m always happy to see that there are quality young professionals who know what and how to work with children both in water and on the dry.
Who is a swimming coach?
A five-year-old child comes to a swimming class for the first time. He is observing the environment and other swimmers. You can see anxiety in his eyes, despite his love of water. That quiet little child tells his name and meets new friends by the pool. He meets his swimming coach for the first time. He takes his hand and enters the water. Who is that person who teaches your children the life skill - swimming? Yes, that person has a name.
Who is the swimming coach of your five-year-old child?
The swimming coach is a constant SUPPORT for children in and around the water. His COMMITMENT to teach a five-year-old child to swim and relax in the water is a boon for every parent. First of all, the swimming coach is there to encourage MOTIVATION in the child, to develop the DESIRE for swimming not only today, but for the lifetime. To make children FEEL IMPORTANT, but not by flattery, but by words and deeds supporting those words. A swimming coach is there to help the children feel PROUD of themselves when they get out of the pool. To point out mistakes, but also to PRAISE children's work. A swimming coach always gives children a CHOICE, because swimming should be a pleasure the children carry both in their hearts and their heads. That is why the swimming coach DOES NOT FORCE ANYTING, he DOES NOT give DEADLINES to your child for learning how to swim, but he OBSERVES and ADJUSTS swimming to the child. He has the ability to read what the child feels like. He pays ATTENTION to every child, no matter how many of them are in the group. He knows the NAME of your five-year-old child and he knows the parents of all those children. He builds TRUST with the child and the parents in the water and by the pool.
A swimming coach is not a parent of the children in the pool, however, he is often a TEACHER and PSYCHOLOGIST. Every day, he finds the best way for the children to learn to swim, and has answers to a thousand questions the youngest swimmers make every day. It is very important that in addition to his expertise and experience, he also knows how to ENTERTAIN children and make them LAUGH. He should not be a clown of course, but an AUTHORITY in the water with a good sense of HUMOUR. That’s why his FOCUS is always on your five-year-old child in the water, learning how to swim and enjoying the play in the water. A swimming coach is ABLE to PREDICT the most diverse situations that may happen during swimming lessons, in and around the water. It’s great when everything goes in line with the plan, but there are also those less pleasant situations from which children and parents come out stronger, having a smile on their face, most often owing to the coach's EXPERIENCE.
Such swimming coaches make knights in the water and on dry land, as well as great people who are ready for life, from the earliest age.
A swim coach is also…
When children learn to swim, groups are formed that are homogeneous in terms of the skills and age of the child, but not in terms of their character and behaviour. In such situations, the swimming coach KNOWS how to "smell" the problem and RESPOND adequately, in order to ensure safety of each child in and around the water. The swimming coach is not a POLICEMAN, but he is RESPONSIBLE for the behaviour of children who are in the water and on the edge of the pool during swimming lessons.
There was one swimming course when I had a great group of five-year-olds in which a mischievous boy "stood out". The boy was quite clever in water and on the dry, but at the same time he was restless and disobedient. He constantly distracted other children while swimming in a group with his inappropriate actions: diving, jumping, splashing when it was not the time for it, skipping the line, shouting, challenging other children… Sounds familiar to you, doesn't it? In such situations, it is the swimming coach who lets the naughty children know what is allowed and what is not allowed during the swimming lesson. Because a tiny mistake or a harmless joke in the water can easily put in danger both the boy and other children in the water, who are just learning to swim and enjoy themselves.
With years of experience, I have had the opportunity to see the most diverse approaches of swimming coaches, both in my country (SERBIA) and around the world. It’s a great thing to see how a swimming coach TURNS the fear of water into love. Mistakes can be made with those children who do not want to enter the pool or do some of the elements, and someone "forces" them to do so!
Here is an example from "my" pool: One girl came to me to learn to swim. She wasn't five years old. She was 12 and had some experience with water. However, she was afraid of jumping into the water. The swimming coach in the pool tried patiently to MAKE HER FEEL CONFORABLE in the water and jump into the deep part of the pool. Everything went smoothly, until the moment when the other coach, walking around the pool, approached the girl. The girl's focus was no longer on the pool and the water, but on the coach who was supposed to pass behind her. You know what the twelve-year-old girl did? She started to get away from the pool towards the wall.
That was a terrible realisation!
By sneaking and pushing someone from behind, no one will ever will teach anyone how to swim and get rid of the fear of jumping into the water. Every child is an individual and has his/her own pace and timing, which they need in order to become safe and skilled swimmers! The swimming coach is the one who knows the TIMING of every child.
Do you now know who the swim coach is?
It is an amazing experience to watch from a seat how your child, from the earliest age, enjoys spending time with a swimming coach, who is not only an experienced professional, but also has that childish spirit in his eyes and knows how to make a child laugh. The best feeling for the parents, but also for the swimming coach, is when the child comes out of the biggest "playground" in the world - water and wants to come back to it tomorrow.
Life is more beautiful when you’re swimming?