Category Archives for Sessions
Using Gagne’s steps for instructional design to develop e-learning for swimming teachers
Gagne’s events of instruction applied to helping swimming teachers develop a specific stroke.
1. Gaining attention
The scene opener, even the preview or title sequence. e.g After – then before. A competitive ten year old swimming a beautiful stroke, and then a weak swimmer showing how it starts out with problems and mess galore.
2. Informing the learner (their guardian and coach/teacher) of the objective. Presenting the destination and what milestones have to be reached, or what crests to climb. e.g A programme of development over two years, over six terms, with as many galas and assessments, with fun too.
3. Stimulating recall of prerequisite learning
Tapping into what has already been understood – creating empathy. The known to make the unknown less scary. So swimming as play.
4. Presenting the stimulus material
Presenting the case, offering evidence that might impress or inspire, that could be controversial and memorable. The interactivities, or e–tivities, or interplay between person and PC, or other people online. More than passive viewing or being taught.
5. Providing learning guidance
Offering a way through the maze, the thread through the labarynth or the helping hand. The programme of events, the menu.
6. Eliciting the performance
Now it’s their turn. Having a go in a measured way, making it progressively more difficult, returning to some learning, building on it, adding more …
7. Providing feedback
Sandwiched, constructive feedback on which to build. Where social learning is vital to provide support, guidance and motivation.
8. Assessing the performance
How are targets going? Assessment, as in testing, as part of the learning process, whether a multi–choice or practical. How are they doing? Have objectives been met?
9. Enhancing retention and transfer
Did it stick, could they pass it on and so become the teacher? What event or events can embed, even celebrate the achievement so that others may benefit from it?
The Swimming Drill Book
Breaststoke (our grades 4,5 and 7)
Two weeks in a row makes since for breaststroke, giving some swimmer four shots at it over this period. It is encouraging to see that I am building in their pervious efforts, that I don’t have to repate all the drills.
I concentrate on the glide which most swimmers rush yet is so vital to competitive breaststroke. this is achieved. by getting them into the streamline position: from ‘dead swimmer’ to streamlined, also the streamlined bounce up the pool, as well as push and glide ( or slide) then adding the underwater ‘keyhole’ stroke. This and drills such as : two kicks, one pull and two second glide on evwry kick couting out the seconds as: one missippi, two mississippi.
With one swimmer unable to dive or somersault I do a set in the lane agsinst the side of the pool aimed at helping. This takes from ‘Flip and Fun’ the forward and backward s canonball roll. I get close with K but fer it is going to take a while before she can somersault or dive. Swmmers get stuck in a rut with this one, raising the head, jumping in not diving, unable to get their head tucked in.
Breaststroke (Our grades 4,5 and 7)
These are ASA NPTS equivalents of grades 6,7 and 9. you teach the swimmer even if they are in a group, so adjust or add activities.
See The Swim Drill Book, Ruben Guzman
(We purchased 8 copies for the club and like every teacher to have one)
Grade 7 are technically superior and have more stamina and may be a little older. The ones I watch out for are the 7 year olds in with 10 and 11 year olds as they need a different approach, TLC and play.
3 x 50m warm up of front crawl and backstroke, always giving a tip before starting them off (and accommodating the odd swimmer who is invariably late), say ‘smooth swimming’ or ‘long legs’. i.e. reducing splashing and creating a more efficient swimmer.
Constantly adjust lane order, trying to keep them in speed order or to give others a go leading off.
Make sure too that there is 5m between each swimmer too.
(I know all their names within 10 minutes having used their name repeatedly and been corrected if I get it wrong, the name or the pronunciation).
25m of Breaststroke to see what I’ve got and potentially adjust accordingly.
Kick on front with a kicker float.
Taking tips from ‘The Swim Drill Book’ I remember to put as much emphasis on keeping the chin in.
Streamlined bounce just to help make the next instruction clear, which is to do breaststroke kick on the back.
The glide is key; this is where to put the emphasis.
May start the ‘Kick, Pull, Glide’ or better ‘Kick, Pull, Slide’ mantra to get it into their heads.
Standing demo of the arm stroke, from Guzman, forming an equilateral triangle and keeping the fingers pointing away. Will ‘describe’ the triangle poolside then ask what it is and what kind of triangle. Anything to get them to think about it a little.
I show this as a single action. Other things I might say include ‘heart shaped’ *(upside down). And making a sound effect ‘Bu-doth’ as I push my arms out.
Repeat the need for a pronounced glide, even asking fo a 2 second count (one Mississippi, two Mississippi) which I support by showing images on an iPhone or the Kindle
(I’m yet to drop either in the pool. I doubt I will ever risk taking the iPad with me, either in a bag or poolside. What we need is a kicker float sized tablet. One that is waterproof too!).
Leading into the turn we do in sequence (from the shallow end):
- Push and glide for count of 5 seconds
- Same, then add the underwater stroke and See how far you can go.
- The whole BR transition counting 3,2,1.
(May only add later in the season, or with higher groups as the last thing we want them to do or to keep doing is dropping their hands to their ‘pockets’ on every breast stroke).
Up to the deep end as ‘sea otter’
This is a fun one but has a lot going for it:
- Duck dive
- Swimming together
- A giggle
BR transition with the dive. Getting the depth is often a problem.
For the stronger, more ‘advanced’ swimmers, our Grade 6 or 7 (ASA NPTS Grades 9 or 10) then Breaststroke kick on the back holding the streamlined position. Aim to keep the knees below the surface bringing the ankle into the bum
Dive practise running through:
Topple and jump
Topple and dive
May do back, breast, FC. With the Fly as a length on its own.
Usually add in somersaults and a handstand at some stage.
Swimming in from the flags in the shallow end, may get them out to walk through ‘elbow your brother, phone your mother’ as a way to get them into a pivot turn.
Usual problem is that they are too shallow for the BR transition.
At some point I will do a couple of 25m race pace swims starting them off with the whistle.
Butterfly – Grade 5
Fly has to be taught. More than any other stroke it should be introduced over a number of teerms/grades with emphasis on the fluid kick from the hips before adding the arms.
3x50m FC with increasing emphasis on the legs during the transition so that the fly kick becomes something they do a good deal of in all sessions.
Dolphin Kick : bum back, bum forward x 2.
Resting on the lane ropes with legs straight down doing a dolphin.
Fly kick with Woggle held out with extended arms.
Otter to the bottom of the pool using fly kick.
Bounce to the deep end in streamlined position.
Fly kick on back with arms raised in streamlined position.
Fly kick on alternate sides, arms raised
Fly kick with BR arms.
Fly kick with single arm.
Dive and glide
Glide with extended dolphin kick
Jump with topple
Dive with topple and glide
Full length of Fly
Shallow end final minutes:
Hand stand with long legs and pointed toes
Sitting/lying on the bottom of the pool.
The response was mixed. The only swimmer who has fly (they are 8-11, our grade 5, ASA NPTS 7) was away. I was very happy with the kick though with several showing the right progress, fluidity and confidence with the kick.
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Introducing Butterfly to 8 and 9 year olds
Three groups of Grade 5 Swimmers (NPS Grade 7/8)
The introduction of Butterfly takes time. I have learnt to concentrate on the correct leg kick, initiated in the hits though running from the chin to the toes, before tackling the arms. I certainly see little purpose in introducing the full-stroke for more than a few moments and only once all the parts of the stroke have been introduced and worked on.
I have ages ranging from 8 to 11, with three competent swimmers while the fourth struggles. It is a shame when someone lacks fluidity, who is uncomfortable, even ungainly in water. Ideally such a swimmer ought to be doing a programme that develops confidence through fun. It is always apparent when someone is confident in water, better still, as with a couple of these swimmers, when they clearly feel joy at being in water.
The plan I run to for this grade and age on Butterfly is typically:
A warm up of 2 x 5m Front Crawl, asking for ‘long legs, smooth arms’. Followed by something similar on Back Crawl, asking for ‘steady leg kick, straight arm recovery’.
I then get them out of the water (perhaps better to do this before they get wet, which I did with one group).
Have them against the wall, ankles to the wall, bum to the wall, shoulder blades and head to the wall, then stretch into the streamlined position. I will bring the head forward and invite them to see if by stretching they can make their elbows touch (possible only with the most flexible). I don’t push for the impossible, but rather emphasize (as they are told all the time) the important of streamlining.
(See the Ruben Guzman images in ‘The Swimming Drill Book).
They then step away from the wall and rest their hands at their sides. I invite them to imagine they are wearing a fish tail. I will physically role-play putting on such a thing, over my toes, the ankles together, up to the knees, also together and up to the navel. Some will copy, on reflection I’d get them all to do this and then hop around a bit). Next, to make this tail work they have to move the hips back, then forwards. The point is made that fish do not have knees. We run through this a few times, then they get into the water.
Ideally the swimmers have short fins on. In the deep end an introductory exercise is to have them rest their arms on the lane rope, feet pointing straight down and to do the ‘butterfly wiggle’ trying to gain some purchase on the water in the upright position (far easier with fins on). They are then challenged to do this first away from the lane rope and then with arms raised. From this we go into the kick in the horizontal position.
Whist kicking with a stiff float is potentially painful for the lower back, using a noodle, with outstretched arms offers enough flexibility to do 4 x25 fly kick, perhaps with some of it on the back. As they swim up the pool I will repeat something like ‘bum back, bum forward’ or ‘imagine you are a mermaid,’ or ‘imagine you are wearing flippers’. No surprises that the boys prefer to be dolphins.
From this we go into ‘dolphin’ with the hands at the side, raising the chin to breath, and then jamming to chin in to go down. This might be tied into ‘sea otter’ the game whereby they play being otters, or mermaids, swimming to the bottom of the pool for either oysters or pearls They have to do a butterfly kick throughout. The next step is to do the kick on the surface, ‘stitching’ through the water raising the head with a kick and ducking the head down with a kick.
Then a single arm pull, with emphasis on the straight arm recovery. This can take quite a while to get right, may require a short session on the poolside and usually works best if they are encouraged to turn their head and watch the arm describe an arc through the air. They are also encouraged to think about ‘kicking the hand in’ and ‘kicking he hand out’.
To get them up to the deep end ahead of diving practice I may have them get into the streamlined position then bounced along the black line from one end of the pool to the other. It’s a break, and fun and of value as a drill for diving and streamlining, even controlling breathing.
Diving practice here uses the butterfly kick, so a dive a glide, followed by a dive, 2 second glide then six fly kicks, then 2 second glide, 2 kicks and 2 full arms strokes before swimming out the 25m on Front Crawl. After this, I may ask them to do a 25m of full stroke FLY but only if I am confident they will be able to give it a realistic shot. In my first group one swimmer executed a delightfully fluid and effective 25m of Fly. Most bend the knees and drop the body then struggle to get their arms out of the water.
With a minute or so left they might quickly run through:
• A handstand with pointed toes
• A mushroom float
• ‘Dead swimmer’ straightening out into the streamlined position
With a little variation this is repeated with the three groups I take in the morning. They are all aged 8-11. Some are more able than others, with one or two struggling with coordination to such a degree you wonder if they’ll ever get it: all do, if they stick with it. Sadly only one of the swimmers in the three groups swims more than once a week. This, not surprisingly, makes a huge difference, as in any one week they will repeat similar drills, with a different teacher, who may introduce an idea or approach that makes more sense to them.