Monday, 31 January 2011

Finally Level 1 Training has begun

Yesterday was the start of 5 Sundays (not consecutive) to start training as a level 1 coach in aquatics.

I was worried about what I was going to do about getting between the buildings as the joining instructions had said we would commence in one building and then go over to another. EEK!!

I needn't have worried too much but was glad I had thought every option through too.

I arrived early at Shrewsbury School and waited the arrival of the course tutor (luckily I already had been taught by her previously when I did my Poolside Helpers Certificate). When the tutor arrived she informed me she had been worrying about logistics between buildings with the wheelchair as it was too far for me to attempt to walk it.

I was determined to give things a go and said I would take the wheelchair and carry my bags on my lap and manage to push myself.

The rest of the candidates arrived and we settled into the classroom. Nothing like being "back at school" the feeling of anticipation but this time as adults we wanted to be there not "had to be there".

I wasn't sure how many times we would be entering the pool so had taken 2 lots of clothes to change into as well as two swimming costumes. It is better to be prepared than unprepared.

The tutor explained we would be teaching young children in the pool and that she had arranged for volunteers to come along. I am not sure who was more scared "the candidates" or the children.

The age for swimming lessons is 5 years and upwards. The reason for this is at four years old a child has just started school and needs to adjust to longer days of education so if they attend swimming lessons when they are tired they won't learn anything or enjoy it.

The main theme of the level 1 course is FUN in all of the elements to be taught. Positive feedback must be given at all times especially in the 5 year old group. E.g. a child of 5 has only been in the water twice. A teacher cannot say "you aren't doing that right". The pupil wouldn't come back. I noticed a child not stretching out there arms long enough so I said "longer stretch make the stretch very long, see if you can do that".

It is hard to get the balance right and what works for one person may not work for another.

I have experience of helping with disabled children in a pool environment and this has certainly assisted me in understanding their needs.

We were all amazed at one little girl who was having her first swimming lessons yesterday. By the end of the session with different candidates she managed to swim without armbands.

This made us all very pleased that the first session had gone well. We just have to build on what we have learnt and how the best way is to keep the FUN going not only for the pupils in the water but also for ourselves.

Sometimes we get too bogged down in what we have to learn that we don't make it fun or easy to remember. It is just something we have to do and we get it done as fast as we can without really remembering what we have learnt.

The tutor obviously did a good job last year as I can remember most if not all of what she told us during the poolside helpers course.

I suppose being passionate about a particular subject does have an advantage in learning it but can we make ourselves passionate about other things in life too that we don't really like doing?

The group has got on well. I have made new friends. A lot of them helped me yesterday when they saw me struggling. I try and be independent but I know I will have to accept a lot of help to make the days easier for everyone.

One of the girls who pushed my wheelchair up the hill when it was a bit difficult for me said "I didn't do much". It meant a lot to me that she offered and I hadn't had to ask for the help.

I returned the favour by offering her a lift to the station so she could catch the train back to Hereford.

The previous course I had been booked on in January had been cancelled due to lack of numbers. This course is at full capacity.

I hope one day to be achieve my dream of becoming a swimming coach for the disabled I have started the journey and who knows where it will end or what I will achieve.

I will keep you posted as to progress.

As for examination there isn't one this time it is based on NVQ learning so I have a folder ("log book") to complete and two questionnaires to go through. A lot of work to do but hopefully I can make it FUN.

Best wishes to everyone.

Thursday, 27 January 2011


For a long time now I have been trying to regain my confidence in putting my face under water. I mentioned this to the lifeguard/coach who takes Swimming After Surgery last week.

Last night she set up a couple of hoops in the bottom of the pool. We were advised we could lift these up and get each of us to swim through the hoops. I decided to do it the hard way.

I plucked up the courage bounced up and down a couple of times, held my breath and dived down through the hoop. It is quite disorientating as the hoops look distorted from the top of the pool and appear to move.

On my first attempt I reached the hoop and got in it and stood up. I then realised my head had only just gone through the hoop so as I stood up the hoop was around me.

The coach informed me that I had kicked too hard and I just needed to glide through the hoop.

On my next attempt I didn't kick enough.

By the end of the session I had managed to dive down and swim through one of the hoops.

Another challenge we had was to get an object from the bottom of the pool.

Normally when I go swimming I take with me my goggles, and nose clip. I had taken both but forgot to take the nose clip with me to the pool.

I attempted the dive to get the object from the bottom of the pool. One of my colleagues was struggling so I lent my goggles to her. She was amazed at the difference they make as she was then able to open her eyes underwater.

My colleague's backstroke is improving and my underwater swimming is too.

It just shows with the right encouragement things we think can't be achieved can be.

This has given me more confidence in time for the weekend when I finally start the long journey to become a swimming coach.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

At last

At long last I have now got confirmation of my level 1 Aquatics coaching course. This starts on 30th January and will then be held for two sundays in February and two other sundays in March.

I just hope I can do the course justice and get the most out of it. Nervous and anxious about it all but one thing is I have had contact with the tutor before and I can't wait to work with her again.

It is going to be an interesting course and a challenge for me. The first step on a long ladder.

One thing for sure is I love a challenge and I love swimming so I should enjoy it.