How To Teach Swimming To Adults

Understanding how to teach swimming to adults will help them achieve an essential life skill. Two-thirds of our planet is covered in water; you can't run and you can't hide from this wonderful amorphous substance. Water is life-giving, but if you don't know how to swim, it can be life-taking. It is nearly impossible go through an average lifespan and not come into contact with any oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, creeks or swimming pools. One of the best gifts you can give as a swimmer is to teach swimming to adults. Whether it is staying afloat when a pontoon boat sinks in a lake or going skinny dipping in a pool for naughty fun, they will thank you. If you desire to teach swimming to adults, here are some strategies.

  1. Teach them breathing exercises. Having strong lungs is key to being a good swimmer. Teaching breathing exercises is the first thing to do when you teach swimming to adults. It will increase their stamina and the time they can hold their head underwater. Have the adult grab the edge of the pool and stoop underwater to blow bubbles in repetitions of at least twenty. They should do this drill at the beginning of every training session. Another drill is teaching them to move their arms in a clock-hand fashion, one at a time. When their arm goes back they need turn their head to that side and breathe. When both arms are at the front, their face should be underwater.
  2. Give them a kickboard to practice leg paddling. Hand the adult a kickboard and tell them to hold the sides of the kickboard towards the bottom end. The adult's arms should be straight and stretched, as their rest of their body. Have the adult practice paddling from one side of the pool to the other in the shallow end. Also, have the adult bob their head up and down to practice breathing techniques.
  3. Teach them how to tread water. When you think an adult is ready to go in deeper water, have them tread water. An adult is likely ready to tread water when they do well on breathing and paddling exercises. Make sure the adult is near the pool edge, so they can grab it if they start sinking. Unfortunately, it is difficult to teach an adult how to tread water verbally, it is mostly an instinctual thing. Just be there for encouragement and support.
  4. Start the adult on floating exercises. This is normally the most scary part for beginners, but an essential step in teaching adults swimming. Teach them how to float on their backs and on their stomachs. To start, have the adult grab your hand or the ledge of the pool and stretch their body. When they are comfortable, pull them away from the pool ledge or let go of their hands. Hold your arms underneath their body in case they sink. The adult's body should be straight.
  5. Encourage the adult to swim. Once the adult masters the above exercises, they should be ready to swim. Tell them to start floating on their stomach and then start paddling and doing the breathing exercise. Once the adult is successful in coordinating those moves, they are a swimmer!


  • Pick a safe place for practice. Choosing the right place to give adults swimming training is very important.
  • You should give adults swimming training in a swimming pool during the daytime.
  • Avoid teaching adults swimming in lakes, rivers and other natural bodies of water. Adults swimming in natural bodies of water are only appropriate for very experienced swimmers. These bodies of water have currents, uneven bottoms, sudden deep dips, limited visibility and no edges to grab onto. Adults swimming in natural bodies of water run an increased risk of drowning if they are inexperienced.
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