Instructors Only: The Water (Fitness) Whisperer

The Water(Fitness) Whisperer
Tips, Advice and Empathetic Audience for the Aquatic Instructor

July 2013 Question - I teach 2 water classes right after the swim lessons at my pool. The swim lessons ALWAYS run a few minutes late and I don't start my class with the kids in the pool. This makes MY class late. It happens every time I teach these classes. What should I do?
Frustrated at the Pool Deck

Dear Frustrated at the Pool Deck,
That's an uncomfortable situation to be in - I agree! Here are some options that may help.

1. You say " I don't start my class with the kids in the pool" and so my first suggestion is to be more like water - cool and flowing! Try to make your absolutes (your dont's and wont's) closer to the pool rules and AEA guidelines.

1. Ask to change your class start time- Would your supervisor be willing to start your class 5 minutes later? For example, if the swim lessons end at 6pm, could your class start at 6:05pm? This maybe enough time to get the kids out and still have a 55 minute class.

2. Start your class in a new way - Most of the swim lessons are in the shallow - if you class participants are OK in deeper water - start your class in the deep, away from the swim lessons. You can also create a game out of walking around the kids as they get out, helping to pick up the swim lesson toys - you get the picture.

2. If you cannot change your situation, change your perspective- Use those minutes you have to talk to your class about new healthy habits, aqua wear and gear while you march in place. If you cannot get into the water right away, bring them post workout food ideas, develop deck stretches and low impact exercises on land,etc.

Aquatic Fitness and Health,

Who is Melanie Sparks? I am an AEA instructor like you! In addition to teaching my own classes and privates, I coordinate over 20 aqua instructors for 5 pools who range in age from 22 to 83. I would love to hear what you do in your aquatic fitness career - what works, what kinda works, what isn't working...whatever! Do you have questions, rants, compliments or suggestions for me? Email me at

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