Swimming Instructor Activity Promoter and Personal Trainer
In recent years we have witnessed a transformation within the swimming facilities, we have passed from copious waiting lists to a significant reduction in the number of members.
Then there was a shift in the interest of users from activities mainly related to swimming, to more varied and complex proposals related to fitness in water. These changes require us to make important reflections. Obviously we must start from the assumption that all the figures that operate inside a swimming facility are important, but in this situation the instructors become of fundamental importance: if you reflect with a little attention, you understand that the direct relationship they have with students, even for prolonged periods, become an element that cannot be renounced. Having a direct relationship with the students, in fact, puts the instructors in the condition of being able to become real promoters of the activities. The necessary condition to be good promoters is to be motivated; essential is the knowledge of all the activities that take place inside the swimming pool and the ability to provide information on all the educational proposals that are carried out in the structure.
We must never forget that in the pool facilities today there is a very large number of activities that are aimed at a very diverse panorama of students.
If the youngest pupil is a baby of a few months, and the older one has more than eighty years, it can be said that the variety of proposals to satisfy such different needs is unequaled in any other sports facility.
We must therefore be able to give the right information to children, adults, the elderly, parents, students with disabilities, etc ….
The direct relationship of the instructor with these categories means that he or she becomes decisive in order to promote the activities.
The good instructor is able to motivate the students, knows how to put the right objectives in the activity, knows how to perceive progress, can find the strategy to retain the student and to keep it going for long periods. We must therefore ask ourselves a question: how to make the instructors also good promoters?
I believe that one of the tools to be used is the organization of periodic meetings in which all the useful and necessary information for the instructors is provided.
The activity manager should organize regular meetings with the instructors keeping in mind these suggestions:
- always give the necessary information concerning the organization of the activities
- give information on the opening and closing periods of the plant
- give information on the new proposals that are being developed
- give information about changes in schedules and changes in activities
- make sure that instructors are spokespersons for the needs of the students and collect their suggestions
- always look for the comparison to find shared solutions
The instructor can in fact become an excellent reference to get information to the students and at the same time to collect their wishes – it must be kept in mind that the secretariat also plays a very important role in this sense.
Respecting this imposition is certainly the task of the person responsible for the activities and can become a strong point for the organization.
In addition to being an activity promoter, the instructor is also a personal trainer. In fact, today we are faced with an audience of students much are more demanding than once and much more prepared: we live in the age of the internet, easy and fast information. In a very short time everyone is able to check the knowledge, compare the answers and have all the necessary information. The students also often come from different backgrounds and from the practice of other sports that allowed him to deal with different organizations and settings.
Therefore, the preparation of the instructor, once aimed mainly at swimming sports, today more and more must be broad and structured to allow him to become a personal trainer at 360 ° and in addition to teaching knowledge instructors must possess the necessary knowledge anatomy, physiology and psychology that can allow him to meet the needs of different age groups. Probably in no other sport, the instructor reaches such wide-ranging skills.
On a daily basis, we verify that the people who frequent the swimming pools demonstrate that they appreciate the level of preparation of the instructors and this aspect must be taken into account. Another reflection must be made on users who come from experiences of activities in the gym where the organization is very competitive, not only in terms of tariffs, but also in terms of organizational methods. For example, in the gyms the organization foresees that there is an initial interview during which people have the opportunity to expose their needs, there is an instructor who formulates work programs, they are made periodic checks on the progress of the activities, the work programs are changed with a certain periodicity, things that are done in the pool in a very different and more tiring way.
In the gym the organization provides:
• Individual interview
• Personalized program
• Program updated periodically
• Specific advice during the activity according to needs
The gym instructor also periodically compares with the student, for example when the work programs change, and has the opportunity to gather information that allows him to check the degree of appreciation of the activities proposed and above all to understand which are the client’s expectations.
In the pool this organization is more difficult to obtain, but it is essential to check some aspects of the activity:
• What relationship does the instructor have with his group and with the individual students?
• Is it able to accommodate students who arrive for the first time in the right way?
• Listen to the student’s needs?
• Can you give reliable advice?
• Can you set goals?
• Can you make students’ progress heard?
• Can you motivate students?
• Is it able to organize activities?
• What teaching strategies do you adopt during the lesson?
Moreover, it should always be kept in mind that swimming school is a group activity and therefore the instructor must be able to exploit the aggregation dynamics that involve the involvement of all the students, in order to bring them to continue the activities for long periods.
With regard to the suggestions that can be given to the managers of the plant it can be said that sometimes it is essential to look at the activity in general terms by doing a self-analysis of their organizations and asking:
• How many promoters do we have among our instructors?
• How many personal trainers?
After this examination, a reflection is obligatory: one can not think that the instructors who have just finished the federal course are able to realize all this, but it is essential that each system provides a path of internal study extended over time.
In terms of training I believe that the winning strategy provides that we start from the practical problems that emerge from the analysis of the activities carried out in the tank to get to give theoretical explanations and to develop strategies to improve them. Updates organized in this sense will be able to stimulate the training of instructors, increase their knowledge and skills, to be able to transform into the engine that drags the students.