You may often wonder “why is my child doing the same thing over and over and over again” when you go to watch their swim lesson. It may seem like your child is an expert floater or bubble blower so they are ready for the next step. Why would we keep practicing these same skills once a child has gotten the concept of a specific foundational swimming skill?
The ancient Athenians created democracy, modern philosophical thinking and even the first educational program. One of the core Athenian concepts was picked up by the Romans, who turned it into a proverb: “repetitio mater studiorum”, or “repetition is the mother of all learning”. They were not referring to mindless consumption or superficial understanding of a skill set...they were simply emphasizing the importance of repetition for the mastery of a skill.
Aristotle once commented on the importance of repetition in education by noting, “It is frequent repetition that produces natural tendency.” Many professors strive to help students acquire new skills and repetition can be a highly effective way to do so. It is how tasks and knowledge become second nature for students.
Repetition provides the practice that children need to master new skills. Repetition helps to improve speed of learning, increases confidence and strengthens the connections in the brain that help children learn. Repetition is one of the foundational keys to learning because it helps transition a skill from the conscious to the subconscious. A skill is practiced and rehearsed and over time, it gradually becomes easier. As a child improves, he or she does not need to think consciously about the skill and in return, frees up mental resources to learn new skills and concepts.
In swimming, there are a few foundational skills that are vital for brand new swimmers and are equally vital for the most elite swimmers in the world.
Floating is one of the most important skills we teach in swimming lessons. WE REPEAT IT OFTEN! It is important for every lesson to include some aspect of body position floating. The most competitive swimmers in the world include floating as part of their daily training regime. Why?
Regardless of swimming experience, individual strength, stroke style, kicking strength or rhythm, the most important core principle of an efficient swimmer is the ability to have a buoyant body position on the surface of the water so ALL effort and momentum can be transferred into a forward propulsion. Floating helps conserve energy, which reduces the fatigue level and is crucial for water safety.
Floating is just one of many skills often repeated in swimming lessons. Remember, each skill has a unique and extremely important purpose. It is well thought out for short term and long term success in the water. Practice alone doesn’t make perfect...perfect practice makes perfect. It is our daily goal to help every swimmer repeat skills so they are better equipped for a lifetime of fun in the water!