Swimming Short Distances Vs. Swimming Long Distances in Learn-To-Swim.
Parents often ask us why their child isn’t swimming laps and longer distances in their lessons. Some parents think that swimming longer laps is going to help their children develop swimming skills faster. We know that parents want their children to excel in their activities, and that parents want this to happen quickly. However, there are reasons why swimming shorter distances can actually be better for the development of a child’s swimming technique.
Swimming Short Distances
Take a moment and think back to your child’s first lessons. In most cases, this was a babies class. There was none or very little independent swimming, and every task was repeated. The idea is to develop the child’s learning patterns, and set foundations through muscle memory for the rest of their lives. By practicing in short distances, your child will have the chance to perfect the skill with little room for mistakes. There are benefits for the instructor as well. They will have better class control, easier access to address any minor errors, and be able to provide instant feedback to students.
At Splash-A-Bout Swim School, our preference is to focus on technique rather than distance swum. We firmly believe a child that can swim with good technique is much safer in the water than a child that swims with poor technique. We prefer that children practice swimming skills over shorter distances in our lessons until they have perfected them. If a skill is practiced incorrectly, it will have a negative impact on the child’s muscle memory. This makes it harder to correct these bad habits if the child takes up swimming competitively when they are older.
Swimming Long Distances
All this said, swimming longer distances outside of formal lessons isn’t a terrible idea. There are legitimate reasons for your child to occasionally swim longer distances. They might want to practice for an upcoming school swimming carnival. They can also practice longer distances for safety reasons if they are around the water for recreational purposes. Longer laps in swimming lessons just doesn’t work unless the child has perfected their skills first. Take comfort in the fact that once your child has mastered the basics, they will progress to swimming longer distances.