Swim Success Blog -- My personal soapbox on swimming, learning, and life
  Entries written by Elise

Weather ALERT

Link to Weather ALERT

Weather shifts frequently. Please be sure to check the CALENDAR one final time right before you leave home to come for your lesson. I will post information when information is available.

Please remember ALWAYS to check before coming to your lesson--even if the weather seems all right.

If you do not have the link for the CALENDAR, email me for the link. (When I say CALENDAR, I do not mean this news link or the old weekly schedule below. I mean the new central information in calendar format on another site.)

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Weekly schedule

Link to Weekly schedule

During the summer I teach classes for all ages 4 months to ... well, how old are you? I truly enjoy sharing new swimming strokes, comfort in the water, safety, and other aquatic skills. I also have some synchronized swimming (synchro) activities in the summer.

During the school year, I have synchronized swimming (synchro) activities almost exclusively. I have very, very few "regular" swimming lessons during the school year.



  • Schedule now appears in CALENDAR format on another site.

  • If you do not have the LINK for the calendar format, email me your information (learn@swimsuccess.com) and I will send you the LINK.


  • If you want to be on our synchro mailing list, please email synchro@swimsuccess.com.

  • Do not come to visit the pool without a confirmed appointment. If you want to make an appointment for a visit, please read and submit the form at http://swimsuccess.weebly.com/required-pool-visit.html.


Here are two other websites where you may find additional information.

  • http://swimsuccess.weebly.com

  • http://swimsynchro.weebly.com


Look into the POOL SCHOOLERS swimming for families. (Information in the above websites.)

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Meaning of Help

The meaning of the word "help" sometimes gets lost by a person who takes a job away from its rightful owner.

My story: I asked, "In school, when you ask the teacher for help with a math problem, what does she do?"

4th grader answers, "She does the problem for me."

Related Posts:
   1. Grass seeds level (Jun 16, 2014)
   2. New Word for Health-Promoting Physical Activity (Oct 13, 2012)
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Grass seeds level

Most of us have a fair idea of what it means when we refer to the Grassroots.

I propose a "grass seeds" level that is lower and far less organized than the Grassroots level. This is an almost-completely individualized level with a strong emphasis on personal responsibility. It NEVER protests, marches, demands, or has sit-ins or similar group activities.

It considers self and others equally. It asks individuals to look inside themselves to find that special talent or passion that would be a kinder/gentler, not-angry, non-aggressive (either passive or active), option for giving that inspires oneself. It then opens an avenue for each individual to give that which s/he finds intrinsically rewarding. It seeks no extrinsic rewards.

Related Posts:
   1. Meaning of Help (Feb 20, 2015)
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New Word for Health-Promoting Physical Activity

A useful word comes by combining the ph and activity from "physical activity" and the .h. from "health." In order to clearly specify a physical activity of the type that builds fitness versus just any type of physical movements, Elise coined the word, phactivity (pronounced factivity). Thus, phactivity specifies a critical difference between any physical movement in general and a health-promoting physical activity in specific.

An activity may be a physical activity without offering significant physical health benefits. An oft-used example would be the use of one's thumbs on a gaming device. In fact, strolling out and standing in center field offers relatively little in improved physical health. In contrast, running to and from center field is a phactivity, and various other types of participation in softball or baseball offer much-needed phactivity as well.

Sitting in the bleachers during a game is an activity, and one may employ physical movements such as cheering and eating popcorn. All of these activities may provide good rest and relaxation. However, that would not be considered a phactivity.

When we hear or read statements such as, "Children must be more active to avoid overweight and related health issues," we understand that refers to certain types of movements and activities like running to and from center field and not to other types of movements and activities like sitting in the stands cheering and eating. In addition, when we say children must be more active, we are not meaning to encourage more fidgeting in class or more thumb activity on a gaming device. It is understood that we want to encourage more walking, running, swimming, weight lifting, and many other fitness-enhancing movements.

So, to add precision to statements referring to health-promoting physical activities, I propose the use of the words, phactive and phactivities.

Related Posts:
   1. Meaning of Help (Feb 20, 2015)
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The Healing Power of Words

Link to The Healing Power of Words

I wanted to share this with you. I do not know to whom to credit the image.

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Red Flag 02 THE way

... the way ...

That requires a Red Flag--not bacause of what it says--rather because of what it doesn't say.

If a swim instructor says, for example, "This is the way to kick," that sounds innocent enough. Right?

What it fails to say is that there are other ways to kick as well. By saying, this is the way to kick, one actually is saying this is the only way to kick.

Argument: No. The instructor is not saying this is the only way to kick. If the instructor meant to say that, (s)he would say that.

Response: It is the responsibility of the instructor to utilize exceptional clarity whenever possible.

So, let's try some alternative statements that offer more complete clarity.

  • This is the kick we'll be learning now.
  • This is a way to kick.
  • This is the flutter kick.
  • This is one way to kick.
  • This is the way I want you to kick.
  • This is the kick that is used with this stroke.
  • This is the kick I want you to use.

Let "... the way ... " raise a red flag in your speech. Then, look for an alternative that improves on clarity.

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Red Flag 01 Meaning

First, a meaning: RED FLAGS point to words and phrases that frequently lead to miscommunication.

The blogs that point to notably troublesome words and/or phrases will be "flagged" by the designation as a RED FLAG.

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ABC 03 Life or Death -- Permission

Permission is a life or death issue.

Knowing how to swim is nice. Permission is critical.

Children must be supported in developing the knowledge and experience of getting permission from a responsible adult. Adults must learn and follow all applicable rules of safety so that they are the "responsible adult" in giving permission or withholding it--as appropriate. This adult giving or withholding permission is for children and also for the adults themselves as they make decisions for their own behaviors.

Permission is the absolute final answer to safety in, on, and around the water.

Related Posts:
   1. ABC 02 Swim or Stroke (May 22, 2011)
   2. ABC 01 Communication (May 21, 2011)
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ABC 02 Swim or Stroke

When some folks say "swim," they picture a specific stroke (often a stroke like one used in racing Freestyle). Unfortunately, that muddies the issues.

When I say "swim," I mean any human movement that produces a traveling effect in the water (without using the sides of a pool or the bottom of the pool, lake, etc., and without--of course--a boat or other device.)

A specific human movement or set of movements is more precisely called a "stroke."

Therefore, an individual can "swim" without knowing or using a "stroke." And, an individual who uses a "stroke" is likely to swim--that is, to travel in the water.

Discussions of safety and of learning will be more precise when these terms form a foundation of understanding.

Related Posts:
   1. ABC 03 Life or Death -- Permission (May 22, 2011)
   2. ABC 01 Communication (May 21, 2011)
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ABC 01 Communication

Link to ABC  01 Communication

A B C -- Action Based Communication

This is all about communication between you and your child.

Always--you communicate. Action Based Communication will help you gain more control over what it is you communicate. This is about communicating feelings, attitudes, thoughts, and actions/behaviors.

Although this includes verbal communication, the foundation is communication through actions. Speaking words is just one of several important forms of actions.

Action-Based Communication is an essential foundation of the LET method (LET copyright, Lawton, ET).

Related Posts:
   1. ABC 03 Life or Death -- Permission (May 22, 2011)
   2. ABC 02 Swim or Stroke (May 22, 2011)
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FAQ Set #2: my child, best age, scared

Q:How much can I expect my non-swimming child to learn?

A. You can expect your child to learn to swim. I don't know how far each student will swim by the end of the season because that depends on a variety of factors such as the comfort level of each individual. The progress of some learners may really amaze you.

Q: What is the best age to start my child in swimming lessons?

A: Whatever age your child is right now. Given the right circumstances, even a young infant will benefit from the developmental swimming approach I use. However, I suggest you wait until your infant is 4 months old before starting. Beyond that, the sooner the better.

Q: My children are already swimming. Would they benefit from more lessons?

A: Yes. Most individuals can gain from stronger abilities in swimming and related skills. Often, children and youth overestimate their swimming ability, and their overconfidence may lead to their getting into very dangerous situations.

Q: My child is frightened in the water. Can you help?

A: Yes. I was frightened as a child, and I had several detrimental experiences in various swimming lessons. After learning to swim and becoming a lifeguard, a swimming instructor, and a parent, I have helped many students (children and adults) develop a comfortable relationship with the water. If your child starts out with serious fears, learning to swim will come much more slowly. I work on boosting the student's comfort level while teaching swimming skills at the same time.

Related Posts:
   1. FAQ Set #1: the program, swimming, strokes (May 02, 2010)
   2. FAQ (Apr 24, 2010)
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FAQ Set #1: the program, swimming, strokes

Q: What makes your classes different from other programs?

A: There are two major differences.

First, I develop a teacher-student relationship based on my respect for the students and the work I do to earn their trust. One important result: many students have succeeded here after unfortunate experiences at other programs.

Second, most programs spend precious time on highly defined strokes (e.g. "freestyle" and "backstroke"). In contrast, I focus activities on the students' natural movements and responses to their water experience, so swimming comes more quickly.

Q: But, wait right there. Don't students have to learn strokes to swim?

A: "Swim" means that they can get where they want to go in the water, that is, locomotion or traveling. Highly defined, correctly performed strokes are not required for locomotion.

Q: Do you ever teach strokes?

A: Yes. Once the student is swimming (traveling in the water), I build on that foundation to help the student group natural movements into the various strokes and skills.

Related Posts:
   1. FAQ Set #2: my child, best age, scared (May 03, 2010)
   2. FAQ (Apr 24, 2010)
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Lists of Frequently Asked Questions will be answered in this and several additional blogs.

The first installment is posted, dated May 2, 2010.

More coming. Please check daily.


Related Posts:
   1. FAQ Set #2: my child, best age, scared (May 03, 2010)
   2. FAQ Set #1: the program, swimming, strokes (May 02, 2010)
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