Throw Those Swim Floaties Away!

We all know that floaties are very popular for young children, especially the ones who do not know how to swim on their own yet.  Just because they keep your child up and out of the water, does not mean that they will help them in the long run and can even cause dangerous habits.

Most young swimmers use floaties before they even start swim lessons and this causes them to have the understanding that if they lift their heads out of the water they will be just fine and naturally float.  Anyone who knows about swimming, knows that the slightest lift of your head will have the opposite affect of a float.

When in a standing position your legs will not float but in fact will start to sink, the sinking sensation then causes people to panic and the panic leads to going under and drinking water.  This is a very important reason why we should not be encouraging that upright position which is created by floaties.

Floaties also give a fake sense of security, for both children and parents a like.  The reason I say this is because when young children use them, they are convinced that they already know how to swim.  This leads to young children taking more unnecessary risks around the pool.  Some children will jump in thinking they can float just like they did with the floaties and instead will go under. Other children may wonder off the ledge thinking they are safe and realize too late that they are not able to swim in that area or stand.

Another thing to think about if your child uses floaties is that they limit movement.  So what happens if you turn your back for a second and your child some how gets tipped over?  They can’t move, they can’t breath and they cant flip on their back, these are other dangerous circumstances that could arise from using floaties.

Floaties also create bad habits that are hard to break once your child starts swim lessons, for example lifting their heads to breathe is something that children are told not to do from the very beginning of most swim lesson programs.  This is because we want the children to start learning the habit of rolling on their back to breathe.  This roll makes sidebreathing a lot easier to learn in the long run.  It also makes it so they can relax on their back when they get tired or if they fall into a pool they can roll on their back and call for help.

So parents please throw away those floaties and get your child started in on swim lessons!

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How Can I Help Improve My Child’s Swimming Skills While At Home?

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I know not everyone has access to a swimming pool while at home and not everyone can afford multiple days of swimming lesssons either, so how can you help your children improve while they are at home?  Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help your child improve even if they can’t be in the water every day.

If your child has never taken swim lessons before and has recently started, here are some tips for the beginning swimmer.

1. When in the bathtub get them working on bubbles inside the water.  This is sometimes the hardest thing for children to learn because they always seem to want to open their mouth.  Once they have this nailed it is a lot easier to get them to start swimming on their own.

2. Learning to point their toes can also be a hard concept to learn, so have your little ones practicing while their feet hang off the bed.  (Ask them to show you pointed toes and then have them show you flexed feet, do this multiple times so that they start to learn the difference)

For the more intermediate and advanced swimmers, here are some tips they can do at home even while they are relaxing.

1. We all know this is the tech age and most of our children are on a computer, tablet or electronic device at some point during the day.  This is the perfect time to do something constructive.  While on the device have them go on YouTube and look up different strokes/technique.  This method can also help with flip turns and dives if those seem to be the biggest challenge.

2. If breastroke is the most challenging for your child to learn then have them lay down on their stomachs and hang their legs off the bed (just above the knee).  Have them repeat (Monkey, Airplane, Soldier or Up, Out, Together), this motion will help them start the muscle memory for the breastroke kick.

3. If arm strokes are the major struggle for your child whether it is freestyle, butterfly or anything in between have them stand up and tuck their chin.  Then have them slowly go through the motion of the arm strokes.  Not sure of the correct form?  Not a problem have the instructor show you the correct form during your child’s swim lessons that week.  If your child or maybe even yourself forgets what the arms should look like throughout the week, then go to YouTube and check out a video.

Looking for more tips and tricks?  Then go ahead and comment below or send us a message on our Patti’s Swim School Facebook!

 

 

Is My Child Ready For Summer Swim Team?

I know that it seems a little too early to be thinking about getting ready for swim team, I mean it’s winter, it’s cold and 6am practices, polyester swim suits and the perfect pair of goggles aren’t exactly at the top of your list. However Summer will be here sooner than you think and now is the perfect time to figure out if this year is the right time for your child to start swim team.

Every child is different, some are born water babies and ready to dive right in, some are a little more cautious when taking that first plunge. What happens after that though? After all the tears, the laughs, the toys and the basics, what is the next step?

The first thing to do when thinking about whether your child should join swim team is to take in to account how they feel about it. Do they like it? When you tell them that it is time for swim lessons, do their eyes get wide with excitement and their dimples appear from grinning ear to ear? Or do they start to get anxious, cranky or maybe even cry? Depending on how you answered those questions will give you a pretty quick answer on whether you should even consider having them join swim team this year.

If they really enjoy it, great the next step would be considering their age. The local summer leagues start with the 6&Under group and end with the 18&U group. However the average starting age is probably 5- 6 years old. This in no way means that a younger student couldn’t join, but there would be a requirement/ swim test for them to pass.

*The swim test would look something like this*

-Swim 25 yards of freestyle without assistance

-Swim 25 yards of back stroke without assistance

-Must be water safe

The technique needed will vary depending on the team your child is trying out for as well as the coaches preference.

You should also take into account that the older your child is the more requirements they have for them before they join. Which means in some cases your child would be expected to already know how to swim all four strokes as well as dives and turns.

Which brings us to the next step in deciding if now is the right time, ask your child’s swim instructor what they think, is your child ready? What they need to work on? Tell them that your child is interested in joining swim team so that they can gear the swim lessons towards meeting that goal. This also makes it possible for you to get timely updates on whether they think your child is ready.

Finally check out the local summer leagues and find ways to contact the coaches. The sooner the better, because spots on the local teams do fill up pretty quickly. Once you are able to reach them, find out the days and times for try outs, what they will require your child to do based on their age and anything else you may want to know.

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Why Does Our Method of Teaching Work?

Here at Patti’s Swim School we pride ourselves on finding the right teaching method that works for you and yours.  We know that everyone has their own way of learning, so why teach only one way and exclude 75-80% of our would be customers?  You would think every swim school would come to this conclusion and although some of them have, a lot of them just don’t have the ability to do so.  This is because most are crowded and squeezing 4-14 students into one class.

That is why we at Patti’s allow no more than 3 students in one class and we get to know them as individuals, not just numbers.  This helps us to be the best swim instructors we can be for all of them.  If your child is better at being shown than told, that’s great!  All of our swim instructors are great swimmers themselves and have the ability to model every aspect of the stroke they are asking their students to perform.

Your child needs a hands on approach? That works for us as well, all of our instructors have either been teaching for many years (some as long as 12) or have been trained by Patti herself.  This means they know the best way to help guide your child into the correct position for each and every stroke as well as turns and dives.

Maybe your child responds a little better to a stricter instructor or maybe they shut down when someone gets a little stern and that is ok.  Our instructors know how to get the best out of their swimmers whether it means giving tough love or gently guiding them at their own pace.

This is what is so great about the teaching method used at Patti’s Swim School.  No matter the style that works best for your child, you will find the right instructor here!

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How Can I Make Myself Float?

Do you ever see two different people in the water and notice that one of them can stay up without having to do anything and the other has to constantly use their arms and legs in an exhausting manner to barely stay afloat?  There are numerous reasons as to why this may be happening but it doesn’t mean that it is impossible for some people to swim.

Here are some reasons as to why people sink and some different tips to help them stay afloat.

1. Some people have more muscle, especially (bulky) tends to sink more so than others.  This doesn’t mean that people with muscle can’t swim it just means they have to work a little bit harder than others.  One way to stay on top if you have a lot of muscle is to use your legs more than your upper body.   Legs tend to be stronger than arms and will make you less tired, therefore kicking harder and faster will keep you on top without getting too exhausted.

2.People who sink more often than not tend to tense up, this tensing causes the body to panic and leads to more sinking.  Therefore the best thing to do is relinquish control (yes this hard to do for everyone ) but the water will do a lot of the work for you if you let it.  This also has to do with confidence and comfort, the more confident you are the more relaxed your body gets, which again will help you float.

3.If you are one of the people who sinks more so than floats, ask your swim instructor how to tread water.  Worried that you will just go under?  There are different ways of kicking and head positions which will make it easier for you to stay up without too much work.  Treading can also be used not only in the pool but also in lakes and oceans as a survival skill.  This will help a person not panic in different scenarios.

4.  There are also some people who can float on their stomach but once they are on their back they start to sink slowly.  If this is the case for you, here are some tips to help you stay on top:  Place your chin up toward the sky far enough so the back of your head stays in the water, push your chest and stomach towards the sky which will cause you to stay up.  If however the upper part of your body is floating but your legs are starting to drop go ahead and walk your legs up to the service and relax.

If you have any other questions, comments, concerns just give us a call at Patti’s Swim School or write a comment on this blog.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of the friends and families of Patti’s Swim School.  We are so excited to see what this year has in store for all of us and can’t wait to see everyone back in the water.

As a reminder if you sign up for both our Winter and Spring I sessions at the same time you will be entered into our Raffle for a chance to win Spring II, completely free!

Tomorrow, January 2nd is the first day for our Winter 2017 session.  We still have a few spots available so go ahead, give us a call and sign up!

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