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Ask the ALTS Lead Instructors

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This issue's questions answered by Lead ALTS Instructor Bill Meier

Q: I have a student whose legs sink, no matter what I try. Any tips?


A:
When trying to float on either their front or back, some students will find that their legs donít float to the surface. This lack of buoyancy is natural and as an instructor, reassure your student that she'll be able to counteract this. Remind your student that head position will have a direct effect on the position of the body in the water. When the head is raised higher out of the water, the legs will sink. Have your student try to float with her head deeper in the water. For some students, the legs will come up if the head is all the way under on a front float. If the legs are still resting on or close to the bottom of the pool, ask the student to kick gently. If this doesn't work, which would put your student in a very rarefied group, have your student put on a pair of fins to make the kick more efficient and keep the toes pointed.

Q: My student wants to learn sidestroke while keeping her face out of the water,but she keeps tipping onto her front. What can I do to help her correct this?

A:
Have your student grip a kickboard from the top so her whole arm is supported by the board. If fins are available, have her put them on. With the arm holding the board extended above the head, the student should lean on the board so that the shoulder of the arm holding the board faces the bottom of the pool and the other shoulder is out of the water, pointing toward the sky or ceiling.

Now, the student should be floating sideways in the water and begin flutter kicking side to side, not up and down with her ear on the side of the kickboard as she looks up toward the sky or ceiling. Once the body position and kick have been established, introduce the scissor kick, reminding the student to "kick, glide, kick, glide." Next, add the pull with the free arm.

Finally, take away the board, explain the whole stroke, demonstrate this yourself, and ask your student to try the same motion without the board. Once she's comfortable with the motion, take away the fins, and she should be swimming sidestroke.

Q: My pool has a significant drop-off about 10 feet from the wall. My students freak out when they see the water getting deeper. How can I convince them that it's OK to keep swimming?

A:
If your student assures you that she's not afraid of deep water, but then freaks out when the bottom falls away, let this happen only once.

Tell your student to get out of the pool and ask her to tell you about what she just experienced. Then explain that the water that supported her in the shallow end will do the same in the deep end--the only difference is the distance between her feet and the bottom.

Next, with you in the water holding a floatation device that can support two people, have your student enter the water by the ladder. Move to the side as she holds on to the ladder. Remind your student that you are there to help, if needed.

Have your student do a supported front float, asking her to look around the pool while her face is in the water. Remind her to focus on the positive. Once your student relaxes, have her glide short distances diagonally at the corner of the deep end, extending the distance as her comfort and confidence increases. Swim along the side toward the shallow end, explaining that she or can stop and hold the side at any point. And don't forget to congratulate your student on her remarkable progress.

Send your questions to Education Manager Holly Neumann!

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Updated April 12th, 2016 at 03:07 PM by Adult Learn to Swim

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