A recent Saturday morning swimming lesson was just wrapping up, and I was giving “high fives” to my four Beginner 1 students. Three of the kids quickly exited the dock but 10-year-old Allison peeled back her steamed goggles to reveal her misty, brown doe eyes.
“You can't put a limit on anything.
The more you dream, the farther you get.”
Unfortunately, many little swimmers often come to the pool with a limited view of their own abilities. Before we can really begin to ‘push’ little swimmers we have to remove those limitations from their minds and instill a belief in their own abilities. Because without this belief, little swimmers are not likely to succeed.
Goal setting is an important tool in eliminating limitations and motivating little swimmers to do their best. Often attributed to business and athletics, goal setting isn’t just for grown-ups anymore.
“There were times I wouldn't come to practice because it didn't excite me. It wasn't interesting. I was kind of going through the motions.” - Michael Phelps
We all have certain needs that we strive to meet. Your little swimmers are no exception. In his famous Hierarchy of Needs, Abraham Maslow's identified 5 needs and explained how these needs motivate us all. According to Maslow, a student’s basic needs of physical and emotional well-being must be met before the student can begin to learn and achieve their potential. So, let’s start with the most basic needs and how they relate to swimming lessons.
I come from a family of swimmers. Not professional swimmers, mind you, but we can all at least float and get from point A to point B in the water. My brother, cousins and I were all taught how important it is to know how to swim from an early age.
For your health. For survival. For fun. All of us grew up hearing the story of how my grandfather swam the widest part of the Hudson River near Haverstraw, New York, as did his sister Florence, apparently setting a record at the time. That is about three and a half miles wide. (I cannot verify the record, but it always sounded good.)