A swimming instructor teaches all types of swimming strokes and water safety rules to a diverse student base. His students typically range from infants to seniors. He may work for a private club or public facility. If he is self-employed, he may offer private lessons at home or public swimming pools. A considerable number of people in this profession work at summer camps or educational institutions.
Instilling confidence in his students is typically a major part of a swimming instructor’s job. Some of his pupils may be fearless and willing to participate in all water exercises and swimming rituals, but a significant number may have a fear of water in general or phobias related to submerging their heads in water or being in water deeper than their height. A competent swimming instructor traditionally uses a wide range of approaches to these students, as each one responds to different stimuli to overcome fears and apprehensions.
While a swimming instructor may be competent in teaching all ages of people, if he teaches groups or classes, he typically categorizes them by level of expertise. This enables him to concentrate on teaching specific skills to a group without being distracted by the needs of less experienced students. Students also generally benefit from being part of a class populated by peers at their level of competence.
A swimming instructor sometimes specializes in certain types of training. He may only work with physically or mentally challenged students or specialize in teaching lifesaving techniques to aspiring lifeguards. Experienced swimmers frequently seek instruction in perfecting a certain stroke, a service offered by some swimming instructors. Middle and high school athletic departments may employ a swimming instructor to coach their swim teams.
Since there are no established curriculums or guidelines for swimming instructors, most have unique approaches. If a particular tactic or method proves successful, a swimming instructor commonly incorporates it into his teaching practice. Regardless of the basis on which the program is based, most swimming classes concentrate learning basic strokes, breathing techniques and water safety.
To be qualified to be a swimming instructor normally requires certification by a nationally or internationally accredited organization that teaches swimming strokes as well as lifesaving classes. Certification through these groups normally requires being recertified every few years to ensure the instructors’ skills are sharp. Swimming instructors at educational institutions are frequently required to be certified physical education teachers. Those seeking employment at other youth-oriented facilities are sometimes required to have experience in working with young people in educational or recreational environments.