List of Things to Teach During Swim Lessons

Father helping son swim

Swimming isn’t just a full-body workout -- it can also be a lifesaving skill. Swimming instructors teach students about water safety, rhythmic breathing, floatation and self propulsion. Whether you’re teaching basic water safety skills or advanced swimming strokes, swimming lesson instruction must involve a progression of skills. The American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program is used by many swimming instructors and programs.

Keep it Safe

New swimmers should be taught fundamental safety precautions like how to use a life jacket and how to call for help. Safety topics for intermediate to advanced swimmers may include lessons on non-swimming assists, survival flotation or survival swimming techniques.

Breathe in, Breathe out

Rhythmic breathing is often one of the first swimming skills taught. Beginners are taught to exhale through their nose and mouth underwater before taking a recovery breath. Teach advanced swimmers to breath in rhythm with a swimming stroke by turning or lifting their heads from the water.

Stay Afloat

Although flotation is a natural ability, swimmers may need instruction on how to relax and float naturally. Understanding that the center of buoyancy is in the center of their chests, teach swimmers to float face-down with their faces immersed, and to float face-up with their chins pointed at the ceiling and ears and crowns of their heads in the water.

Go with the Flow

Teach swimmers to move through the water with a progression of skills. Basic glides and recovery to a standing position is taught first, followed by alternating leg movements, called kicking. Swimmers that can breathe rhythmically and float with or without assistance can learn swimming strokes, beginning with the front crawl, then progressing to other strokes such as elementary backstroke, backstroke, sidestroke, breaststroke and butterfly.