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The Importance of Repetition in Swimming

You are watching your little one at swim class, and it appears like she’s doing the same thing each class. You may be wondering what is actually happening in class, since she’s not seemingly making much progress yet. Let us give you a little insight to what is actually happening here: She’s learning the building blocks of swimming and increasing her stamina, skill and confidence, little by little.

If you have kids, you know they tend to be repetitive— especially when learning. First, it’s drawing a straight line repeatedly; then a curved line; and then —finalllllyyy — they’re writing definite letters. There is a method to this madness, we promise! They have worked hard at mastering the little skills that all need to melt into place in order to write letters; things like holding a pencil properly, crossing the midline, and focusing on the task at hand. The exact same concept is seen when a child is learning how to swim (or any other skill)!

I mean, you wouldn’t expect your kids to be writing full sentences on the second or third month of preschool, right? It takes a lot of work to master a new skill, whether it is writing, swimming or tying a shoelace.

Practice, practice, practice

When your little swimmer first starts swim lessons, you may be giddy over how quickly she becomes adept at acquiring new skills — such as putting her head in the water or kicking her feet or even blowing bubbles. But then it seems like she’s hit a plateau and she’s not making much progress, when in fact she really is!

Take it from Dory, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” But really, like Jim Russel, the baseball player said, “ Repetition is your best friend, the more you do something, the better you become at it.”

Why repetition is crucial

It’s common for infants to grow in leaps and bounds in their swim skills, but then appear to plateau around 3 or 4 years old (or even 5 or 6). However, that’s not really the case — they’re just being introduced to skills that are much more difficult and they’re working harder and longer to attain them.

For example; blowing bubbles. You may see your little one blowing bubbles and practicing breath control and water adjustment at the beginning of each lesson. Why are they wasting your time, my child can do that already, you think to yourself? What your missing, however, is that breath control and blowing bubbles is a crucial skill in the development of your swimmer from Level 1-Level 8. If your swimmer cannot blow bubbles or hold their breath when necessary, they will have trouble popping up to breathe, side glide breathing, and may even struggle with the timing of their Breastroke later down the line! You may see her floating multiple times a class, but last week she was floating with help, while this week she’s floating with little help, for a little longer…and next week she’ll be working on floating completely by herself!  Celebrate those hard-earned results!

But there’s something just as important at play when it comes to repetition in swimming lessons, something that you may not be able to see: Confidence. Your little one is gaining confidence — in her abilities, in her instructor and in knowing what’s coming next. And confidence may just be the key to taking the next step off of the platform and swimming out on her own!

 

Year-round swimming is important

Kids shouldn’t take a break from swim lessons in winter (or summer). Why? Because you want them to retain that confidence and continually build upon those skills they’re learning every week. The repetitiveness helps it become second nature — plus it’s important for muscle memory and all the physical aspects involved developmentally.

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