Skiing or swimming? Skiing, but also swimming. After a good skiing day, the pool and swimming
are more than welcome to chill out, especially if you are with kids. If the pool is warm, there will
be nothing better for the recovery and rest of your muscles.
I’ve been thinking for a while when the right time is for introducing skiing to my children. I knew
when to introduce swimming, to make them jump into the water as soon as possible, there are a lot of benefits of that. That’s why they’ve been in the pool since they were four months old, but when it comes to skis, we had to wait for a bit, though we’ve been going to the mountains since they were babies. Little Fish felt the mountain breeze and snow when she was only two months old, while Little Shark was eight months old when he was introduced to the snow world. However, I dared to “place” them on the skis only just when they were three. And it was the right moment, but also a test for me as a parent and a challenge for me as a couch.
How to get your child ready, interested in skiing? In the same way you do it for swimming. These are some of the methods I used to get them ready for all the joys the snow and the winter may bring:
Skier’s stories: Of course, before any “physical preparations”, you should introduce the winter sports to your children step by step, through everyday skier’s “story telling”. Everything is much easier if there is someone around you who shares the passion for skiing. Then, the photos and videos can refresh your memory about how you felt, and help you explain to the kids why it is good to know how to ski. If you ask me, this is the approach that brings good results, be it with swimming, skiing, or any other sports. Our result was: daddy, I also want to learn how to ski, the same way I know how to swim.
Encourage the mood for skiing: As with swimming, the same applies to skiing – the first impression is important. If a child has his/her first experience with the snow, or water, crying for any reason, we’ve made a wrong move. Instead of making the child love this sport, we would do quite the opposite. Of course, we should never give up. That’s why it is most important to encourage the mood of the children for skiing as well as for swimming at the very early age. They will have time to master it and enjoy it. And they should never be forced to do it since, trust me, it will have the opposite effect!
Preparations for skiing with swimming: All those who are passionate about skiing know that seven days of skiing at a mountain require serious preparations, especially when it comes to children, beginners, those who have recently learnt how to walk, and stopped wearing diapers. Swimming would be the right choice at that point. For the sake of preparations, apart from regular swimming in the pool, I intensified he last month with my Little Shark with a bit of more “jumping” into the pool and reaching items from the pool bottom, and then with squats and pushing against the bottom towards the surface. Also, a lot of activities around and in the small pool with the water just below his waist.
As you prepare your kids for skiing or swimming, also pay attention to the following:
Group or individual class: Both have their pros and cons, and the price. For the first contact I went for the individual class for my Little Shark. When the instructor realised he was focused and doing the things he was told to do, he suggested a group class just to make it more interesting for him to be with other children. I agreed. For me, for children of three, a group means four or five children, at least that’s how I do in swimming. However, in half an hour, as we were putting on our ski boots, group became a team of eight three-year-olds, learning their first steps on skis.
Can you imagine what the skiing looked like in the end? The instructor could barely manage to see who did what and how they all got from the top to the base. Luckily, the children were fearless. They ran down like kamikazes, without any order or rules, and parents would take their children from the class in order to prevent their children from hurting themselves. As we had already had the individual class a day before and as my Little Shark seemed pleased and safe, I gave it a thought and decided to have my kid finish today’s class, but I was strongly dissatisfied, as a coach, with the scene, and with the way the guy worked with the children…
Trust is the key: It’s amazing how you notice more than you should when you work with children, both as a dad and a coach.. You know you must not “interfere” but have trust in the coach and his skills. I was standing aside, biting my nails, but I didn’t interfere, even when my Little Shark fell down and lost his ski, lying there for about ten minutes in the snow, without anyone to give him a hand
I was thinking about what would happen if I got the kids of 3 to 5 years of age into the pool and told them: let’s swim… Yeah, you’re quite right, those who would survive would learn how to swim later… Now, seriously, every single lesson must be “organised”, having its introductory, preparatory, basic/main and final part, where all the work methods we have prepared in advance are defined and visible… No matter if we talk about skiing or swimming!
Skiing lesson methodology is also obligatory as it is for swimming. Here, it was not the case. The instructor or couch should be ready for every single lesson (skiing or swimming), to prepare it in advance, especially if he is young and inexperienced, which was the case here. Both in swimming and skiing, every part of the lesson needs to be focused on certain activities and gradually raise the intensity of work, and the lesson should end in reducing the intensity and returning the organism into the initial state as before the beginning of the lesson, with a slow relaxing. The work methods which are used are selected based on the number of people and of course, their age. You won’t have any mistakes then. The children will be safe, and nothing will be left to chance – they will learn and have fun at the same time, and the parents will be happy.
Short but sweet: Half an hour to 45 minutes in the pool are enough for a quality lesson with a three-year-old child. I made sure myself that the same applies to skiing as well. They are still quite little and their concentration is low, as well as their strength. Then, don’t forget it can get really cold in the mountains, and children may be cold, especially their little nose and fingers. Once they master the techniques and become stronger, they can spend more time on the skis or in the pool.
Make sure you take the maximum from each moment of your lesson, for the benefit of the children, taking care of the things we mentioned above, 30 minutes may seem short, but trust me, it will be more than sweet and the kids will be happy to see you again. What we can achieve in a well-prepared 30-minute lesson, we can’t achieve in a non-prepared 60-minute lesson!
So, swim while you ski, because skiing and swimming match quite well!