As mentioned by Marta, my colleague, creating a good relationship was the first goal that we have set.We analyzed the levels of each student to best fit all the exercises and to ensure that everyone could improve.This allows us to have a good tune with each of our students and to be able to push them forward and improve.The exercises are explained with the instructors in the water and also out of the water depending on the context.
I have been reading through your comments and I woudld firstly like to say "great job" to all of you:) You are paying attention to individual needs of the swimmers, you are not focusing on what you want from them but what they want. It is an easy thing to confuse - but it is what they wish for that matters, even though you perhaps see that they could improve even more.The second thing I like about your comments is that you appear to focus on play and fun, even in competitive situations. Explaining what the purpose of each exercise is is also important and paying attention to their social motives matters very much. So when you see a group of recreational swimmers going for coffee (:)) after practice means you have a good group.It may be difficult and exhausting for a coach sometimes to do all he/she has to do, but I'm sure the reward of seeing your swimmers improve is far greater and the purpose you are all in this:)I wish you successful work also in the future.
Our group is formed of people who did not swim before (only 3 of 10 swim before at a very beginners level)we try to offer a positive experience in order to make them love these sport. They love the fact that they are meeting twice a week .we adapt the exercises for each of them according to there level in order to improve. I observed that there confidence is getting better and better in time as they improve in swimming. we always gave them a positive feedback about something that happen in the pool so their self confidence improve. i build my swim teaching strategy from easy to more complex exercises so they will be able to do the task i give them. We play a lot, these is good for them to know each other and socialize , They want to meet afterwords and do activities together.Another thing I use for motivate them is that I always tell them: ' I thrust you can do it I would newer give you an exercise you can not do ' (of course my exercises or never to hard) the feeling that I see them capable give them the ambition to do it.
We created a relationship of esteem and trust with our students, we propose often new exercises to experience to improve and not be boring.We adapt every exercise to the swimmers' skills and sometimes we propose even more difficult things to stimulate their self-esteem.We explain, in addition to the correct execution, the usefulness and the goal of each exercise.When someone has difficulty (especially with Alessandro and Laura) we explain that it is normal and we give suggestions to learn and improve step by step.We often ask if they have any doubts and insecurities and we trying to help them with different solutions and we try to explain the causes of some of their behaviors in the water like (stiffness, difficulty in breathing).We also get in the water to show and help in the execution of the exercises.Sometimes we make small races (in the form of a game) to stimulate the students.
Because I know how much praise and compliments affect each individual when trying to learn swimming from scratch, I try to compliment every new accomplishment they do in the class and I get excited with the swimmers when they master something new. Urška is very motivated from day one so she doesn't need too much help from me with that. She is determined that she will learn every new task I gave her. Even though I always congratulate her when she masters something new and I can see that it means a lot to her. Špela doesn't have high ambitions for herself when it comes to swimming, even though she learns with ease. She tends to swim a lot less than she could and prefers to swim in the slower lane so she can get more rest. So with her I have to be strict and give her a little push, so she doesn't rests to much. I tell her :,,you can do it!'' a lot and than she laughs and starts swimming. Jure takes it easy when it comes to swimming. He doesn't pushes himself to the limits, but still swims in the faster lane in order to swim a little bit more during the class. I try to compliment his improvements a lot and I think he likes to come to classes a lot. Brane listens to everything I say carefully and tries to do every exercise the best that he can. I just have to motivate him a little bit to take less rest time and to swim longer distances without stopping. If I tell him he is doing great he always tries to live up to my words and starts swimming. Željko needs the most encouragement to start swimming the exercises correctly. He is a pretty fast swimmers but prefers to do his own thing instead of what I say to him. So I try to correct his technique a lot and compliment him every time he swims correctly. I have to watch him a lot, because everytime he sees I'm looking at him when he swims, he tends to start doing the exercise like I said he should. So the praise and thumbs up from me are a great motivating factor for him.
My group of swimmers is facing a new and challenging experiment. Most of them have few or any experience in swimming and they all have a reasonable/poor physical fitness. So one thing i always do is to highlight and congrat every improvement they accomplish, even if it is in a small scale i try to let them know that their effort is working. With Claudio, who had some previous experience in swimming and is in a superior level comparing to the others, i try to use him as a good example for the others encouraging him to help his partners as well. I always enhance the fact that they will indeed improve if they practice regularly. I think it is also very important listening to to them, what are their fears, problems, doubts and barriers so they can feel that someone is there to help them and get motivated to overcome their difficulties.
Dr. Tanja Kajtna is a doctor of sports psychology currently employed at the Faculty of Sports in Ljubljana at Department for Sport psychology, she gives lectures for students on Sport psychology, Social psychology, Developmental psychology. She has been working in the practical psychological preparation of athletes for many years and cooperates with many professional athletes - swimmers, athletes, tennis players, figure skaters, sailors, golfers, cyclists, skiers and also with athletes with disabilities.