Swim Lesson Guide – Removing “okay” from your sentences

Drop this word at the end of your sentences to teach better.

When you remove ‘okay’ from the end of your sentences you empower your language to produce results.  Do you want to teach a better class? Would you like to be heard, listened to, and have your instructions followed? There is a simple trick you can do to get the attention of your class and ear both respect and get results: drop “okay” at the end of your commands.

Most of us when we are new at something use “Okay” after a command to really ask:

  • “Did you understand”
  • “Do  you hear me?”
  • “Will you do it now?”

Instead of shortening all that into an “okay?” actually ask those questions! Give your command, “do 3 bobs” and if the participant does not comply or do your activity, repeat your command, then follow up with, “Johnny, did you hear me?”Using an ‘okay’ turns your command into a question. Check out this excerpt from the

A part of saying “okay” at the end of your sentences and how that turns your command into a questions is the rising inflection, or the rising tone of your voice when you ask, “okay?” When you read the commands, “Billy, we’re going to do a front glide, okay?” Read it by giving the command before the “okay” as a strict command, then change the tone of your voice to say “okay” as a question. Most of you will speak in a higher voice to signify the questions. When you do that attached to a command, you effectively turn the whole instruction and command into a question itself when you originally intended to give a command, and then ask a follow-up. Feel free to take the time to communicate well by asking in detail the actual question you want to ask; “did you hear me,” “do you understand?” When the word “okay” and the rising tone, or higher voice at the end combine, you get a confusing and unsure command and instructor that will not produce the results that you could be getting. Drop the okay, and keep your voice stable and firm.  

Take a look at this training video that is meant to supplement the SLI Swim Instructor Training Workbook.


Let me know what you think, if you’ve enjoyed this video, or found any use for it, let me know by commenting below. Your honest feedback helps shape a better swim lesson tomorrow!




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