SIP 070: What you need to start teaching swimming

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Question from John from the UK. He asked me very generally what he could do to get started. He had bought the swimming ideas lesson plans which you can get here:


But he was uncertain in how to start teaching swimming lessons. It made me think about what the key things someone would need to begin. Like what if you’d never taught swim lessons before!


I’ve always assumed that someone that was going to start teaching their own program had done what I did: work at their local pool as a teenager and over time and apprenticeship learn how to be a good teacher.  Most of the content on is driving at how to run your swim lessons as either a private instructor who wants to hire some new staff, or as an Aquatic Professional that knows how to teach already and is looking to manage a large staff  like a park district.


I intitially wanted to direct john to the SLI Swim Instructor Training workbook; on Amazon. It is awesome. It takes you through the 15 essential swim skills which we build off of for our lesson plans. But it isn’t comprehensive for a beginner. I think it needs to be.


I’m working on that.


Then I figured that there was a ton of content in the blog section of that he could read, but it was more designed around people that already know swimming; it is guides to help those already established.


There are plenty of articles under the Swim Lesson Guide category:


More in the Lesson plans:


And the most distilled in the resources:


But that wasn’t enough. I’m working on a walkthrough for total beginners to get you moving on your swim lessons. This episode is for the starter who has not taught swim lessons before, and has nto been in a large program but knows how to swim.


Essentials to teaching swim lessons.


Before you start:


  • Pool or water to teach out of
  • Liability insurance
  • Bank account
  • Website with a way to register or a phone number dedicated and scheduling software
  • When you’re available. Define days and times and stick to them. Do not spread yourself thin; if they want lessons they’ll work around your schedule. Clear boundaries.
  • Lesson duration
  • Lesson type: group vs private
  • Scheduling by week, day, session
  • Level structure or progression.
    • Intimate understanding of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
  • Toys and props
  • Make up lesson policy?
  • Rain policy
  • Cancellation policy


During lessons:

  • What about parents?
  • What language will you use to teach? Scripts
  • Skill focus
  • Time and place for games?
  • Misbehaving? Consequences?
  • Refund policy
  • Trial time?
  • Parking
  • Showering
  • Towels
  • Swim suit requirements

Better swimming.
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