One question we get asked a lot is “Is there anything we can practise during our holiday?” There answer is yes, there are a number of simple swim skills that can be turned into fun and games that everyone can enjoy.
While some children may ‘crack’ swimming in the pool on holiday, for some beginners, the extra hours in the water can simply build up confidence and encourage basic swimming instincts. Below are some simple skills that can benefit a range of abilities.
Sinkers– There are toys/objects that when thrown into the pool, sink and remain at the bottom. There are specific sinker toys made by swim brands that will be linked at the bottom of this post, but you do not need to splash out on swim toys to take part in this activity. Coins and metal keys (please no electric key fobs!) serve the same purpose. For beginners, simply holding the sinker under the water will encourage them to put their face in the water, for more advanced swimmers, diving down to the bottom of the pool will help with controlling their breathing.
Floats– These are particularly good for beginners, but can also be a good life-saving skill for advanced swimmers. A mushroom float is where you tuck your knees to your chest, place your forehead on your knees and wrap your arms around your lower legs, facing the pool floor. The body should look like a ball or mushroom! This float is great for controlling breathing, body positioning in the water and most importantly, water confidence. A star float involves spreading your arms and legs out into a star shape, floating on your back. For beginners this helps with floating in the water – which is key to correct body positioning, as well as relaxation in the water. For advanced swimmers, this float is recommending By the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), Swim England and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as a survival tip. The ‘Float to Live’ campaign encourages swimmers in an emergency situation to float on their backs and call for help, this reduces both panic and fatigue. For more information on this campaign visit: https://www.respectthewater.com
Jumping in– For pools with deeper water, jumping in is great for all abilities. If your child is a beginner, they may be nervous about jumping into the water unaided, starting with holding their hands and gradually working up to jumping in on their own will boost their confidence and get them used to submersion. For advanced swimmers (if the swimming pool permits diving and jumping in) sitting dives, pencil jumps, star jumps etc. are all good for water confidence, breathing control and getting used to returning to the surface unaided.
All of these skills are introduced to our swimmers during our lessons, so practising these when away can help with your child’s progression.