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Q: Teaching Kids to Swim ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Teaching Kids to Swim
Category: Family and Home > Parenting
Asked by: scottmcd-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 26 Jul 2005 11:03 PDT
Expires: 25 Aug 2005 11:03 PDT
Question ID: 548116

I'm starting to teach my 6 yr. old daughter to swim, and I'd like to
find resources to help with that.  I'm looking for a list of skills,
along with a recommended order for teaching them (probably starting
from around the blowing bubbles stage).  Resources with some guidance
on how to teach the skills would help - I'm a competent swimmer but
not exceptional.

I remember a Red-Cross report swimming lessons report card from when I
was a kid that had a set of skills with arrows among them - you'd
color in the arrows as each skill was mastered.  Something like that
is what I have in mind - plus additional tips on how to teach each one
and, finally, safety guidance.

I haven't been able to find that report card on the net, and my
inquiries at the library found books for competitive swimming but not
basic instruction.  I have found many reasons to teach kids to swim --
I'm sold, but now what?

Many thanks!
Subject: Re: Teaching Kids to Swim
Answered By: journalist-ga on 26 Jul 2005 12:36 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings Scottmcd,

I looked for online illustrated swimming lessons and drills and found
a few excellent resources.  From among these, you should be able to
easily formulate a swimming lesson plan for your child.

Swimming Lesson Plan

How to Teach a Child to Swim

How to Swim certain strokes

Illustrated Backstroke

Illustrated Freestyle (Front Crawl)

Illustrated Breaststroke

Illustrated Sidestroke

For these four strokes, here is additional info on skill cues from the main site:

breathe out: below the surface 
breathe in: above the surface 

sweep up & out, then sweep down & in 
change the angle of the hands 

Skill cues for elementary backstroke

a. kick (whip kick)
bend & separate knees about hip-width 
heels down 
rotate feet out 
whip legs together 

b. stroke
Chicken hands slide along the sides until the armpit 
Airplane point fingers out, then extend arms out 
Soldier press palms and arms toward feet 

c. breathing
Inhale when arms are at side 
Exhale when pressing arms toward feet 

Skill cues for freestyle (front crawl)

a. kick
boiling action with water 
b. stroke
hand pitched out entering in front of shoulders 
elbow high 
S-shape pattern: up & out, down & in, down & back 

c. breathing
roll the body to breathe 

Skill cues for breastroke

a. kick (see elementary backstroke)

b. stroke
from glide position: 
outsweep with palms out 
insweep with elbows in toward the chest 
shoot hands forward and extend arms to glide 
Pattern is Breathe, Kick, Glide

Skill cues for sidestroke

a. kick
scissors kick: similar to kick when treading water 

b. stroke
top hand: bring toward the chest with palm out then thrust foward 
bottom hand: bring in front of shoulder with palm down then push backward 



Planning of Dryland Training for 12 & Under Age Group Swimmers By Len
Sterlin, BA ASCA Level 4 coach at

Teaching Strokes 101 By Jim Reiser, M.S.,

Dr. James E. Counsilman's Crawl-Stoke, Arm-Pull Pattern (illustration)

Some stroke illustrations

Hints on Swimming (some illustrations of strokes)

4 basic swim strokes illustrated

More illustrations of basic strokes

General info on teaching six year-old to swim


Of all the books I saw, this one seemed to best address your needs:

Book on Teaching Children to Swim Comes to the Web - 'A Gentle
Approach to Teaching Children to Swim' by Berna Bennett

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - September 8, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- The
book "A Gentle Approach to Teaching Children to Swim" by Berna Bennett
is now on the web, announced the author today, downloadable as a PDF
ebook for $8.95, at When originally published
in 1997, the printed edition sold out.

This illustrated book offers complete step-by-step instructions for
both parents and swim instructors. Techniques range from introducing
babies to the water to teaching older children all major strokes and

The book is unique because it tells how to calm children's fears. It
is easy for children to feel threatened in a new, unfamiliar
environment by fears of safety or failure. The book's techniques help
children build positive, empowered attitudes about the water, swimming
and themselves.

More at

Here's an interview with Bennett:

And here's the site where you can purchase and download the book:


I hope these resources will be of assistance.  I searched for the
report card you mentioned but found none.  However, I did find a
swimming skills checklist - see bottom of page at where you'll find checklists for
pre-beginners, beginners, advanced beginners and pre-team skills.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer this interesting question.  :)
 Should any links I've provided not function for you, please let me

Best regards,


swimming strokes illustrated
swimming drills illustrated
"online swimming guide"
"online swimming" manual
"illustrated swimming" children
"teaching children to swim"
swimming skills checklist

swimming diagram
swimming lessons
swimming manual
butterfly stroke
freestyle stroke
front crawl stroke
scottmcd-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
This is all helpful, but the book link at the end seems to be the
closest to what I was looking for.  Thanks again!

Subject: Re: Teaching Kids to Swim
From: journalist-ga on 27 Jul 2005 17:53 PDT
Scottmcd, thank you for your kind words, the high rating and your
added generosity!  I'm delighted you are pleased with my research for

I thought the online book seemed the best deal (and best approach) for
your needs, but I wanted you to to have those online materials in case
you wanted to craft your own lesson plans.

Happy swim coaching!  :)

Best regards,

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