Coach Jim’s Blog :
Our teaching philosophy at JMSS is each child is different and each child learns at their own pace. Every class level is integrally related to the previous level and the following level. Certain skills are emphasized at each level and swimmers can progress from one class level to the next when they are able to correctly perform a skill (check out your child’s current skills in the parent portal for detailed information on each student). In order for a child to pass a skill, they must demonstrate the skill consistently, comfortably and confidently. Then the deck supervisor is called over to review the same skill before it is checked off as completed.
Develop, Refine, and Maintain
JMSS is a skill-based program. An important aspect of the program is how students are taught. The first step in the teaching process is to develop the skill by improving the swimmer’s understanding of how to perform it correctly.
The next step is to refine the skill by improving the swimmer’s proficiency at performing the skill. Finally, the focus will be to maintain the skill by improving the swimmer’s consistency of performing the skill correctly. At each class level, swimmers will develop, refine, and maintain certain swimming skills. To better understand why and how we do this, let’s take an example of a Cuddlefish II student age 6 months old with mom or dad in the water and work our way through the kid’s learn-to-swim levels (ages 2 – 5 years).
Starting with our six month old we encourage parents and children to join in a group setting where the environment is relaxed and friendly. Here we emphasize comfort under the water, parent/child bonding and basic safety skills. As they grow into toddlers (ages 2 – 3) we transition from Cuddlefish to Angelfish and Starfish semi-private levels where they will master comfort floating independently, basic safety skills, and propulsion through the water on their front and back. We teach water safety strategies in every lesson.
Beginning at age 3, it’s time to explore a group lesson (Flounder and Seahorse) with other kid’s and continue learning safety and skill technique. (We encourage parents to have their swimmers in a group setting with other kids instead of solely private lessons. It is our belief that kids learn by watching each other and it is an important time to encourage bonding and socialization with peers.)
In those group lessons we start, as always, with the basic building blocks: floats, getting back to the wall, and propulsion through the water. These get students into the proper mindset and position for swimming. From there we introduce rollover breathing, submersion to the bottom of the pool and comfort swimming on their back. Our advanced students (Lionfish II)work on fundamental freestyle and backstroke while building their endurance to prepare them for our developmental program.
Developmental kid’s swim program
Develop, refine and maintain swimming skills in our kid’s Learn-to-Swim program carries forward in our developmental program ages 6 through 14. Our Stingray I & II classes teach the same basic skills as our kid’s flounder and seahorse classes; floats, rollover breathing, swimming on your back, propulsion and safety skills. From there the program focuses on the basic components of the competitive swimming strokes and turns according to USA Swimming rules. The curriculum is intended to be appropriate for the experience level of the students in the program. This means some competitive swimming skills have been omitted because they require a greater degree of proficiency and will be emphasized in our Marlin developmental swim team and USA Swimming Sailfish swim team.
Our developmental program begins with Swordfish I, teaching side breathing freestyle. In Swordfish II backstroke is introduced while refining freestyle technique. Swordfish III teaches the basics of the breaststroke with an emphasis on safety and treading water. Swordfish IV teaches the basics of the butterfly with an emphasis on lengthening each stroke for efficiency. In all four Swordfish classes endurance, safety skills and technique drills are added.
The last step in our developmental program is Swordfish V. Class time increases from 30 to 45 minutes. We keep refining technique on all four strokes introducing drills, building more endurance and teaching competitive skills like flip turns and open turns for all strokes.
Marlin Developmental swim team
The Develop, Refine, and Maintain teaching methodology is continued at the Marlin Developmental swim team level. The Marlins’ program is designed to teach, build and foster student-swimmers’ competitive swimming skills while having the experience of swimming as a team sport. Our goal is for your swimmer to learn new skills, practice and execute them consistently, and build confidence. The focus is on building endurance, refining proper technique, interval training and learning about the swimming world as a whole. (The requirement to join is to be able to swim 25 yards, the long way of the JMSS big pool, in Freestyle and Backstroke.)
Water safety is still a main objective, but it is evolving into teaching swimmers a greater water safety awareness and technique through stronger swimming skills. The swimmer to coach ratio is still small to provide attention and build a coach – swimmer relationship. All skills taught are in accordance with USA Swimming rules in order that swimmers may choose to continue swimming in a USA Swimming Competitive program.
Sailfish USA Swimming team
The next step in the Jim Montgomery Swim School progression is the Sailfish USA Swim Team. The team is run under the USA Swimming membership organization which is designed to develop swimmers from a young age up to the National Team that competes on the national and international stage, including the Olympics.
A swimmer joining the team will have decided that they want to make a stronger commitment to the sport of swimming which includes 3-5 hours of practice a week and USA Swim meets once a month. Practice workouts are geared towards improving and refining technique and racing. Swimmers will have attained Swordfish 5 or above skills and be able to swim 25-50 yards of the pool legally for each of the four strokes – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle.