Private versus Group Swimming Lessons

Are Private Swimming Lessons Better Than Group Lessons?

The decision of whether to select private or small group swimming lessons doesn’t always simply boil down to the cost implications, there’s more to consider when you are dealing with a child or adult who is really uncomfortable in water.

a child is unhappy in the swimming pool

A child or an adult could be unsure about water for various reasons:

  1. Bad past experiences
  2. Lack of exposure to water at an early age (0-3 years old)
  3. Parents themselves ill at ease with water. There is extensive evidence confirming that parental phobia can rub off on children.
  4. Seeing someone struggle in the water. Over the years I have taught several children and adults who have had water-phobia. Although some of them never had a bad experience with water themselves, they had seen someone who had. This is especially true of children who have seen one of their parents get into difficulty whilst swimming in a deep part of a pool or sea and had to be rescued.

Children who are timid can obviously benefit greatly from the closer individual teacher attention private lessons can provide, and that teacher can modify the lesson to suit the child and the pace of their learning.

private swimming lessons

Tailored lessons mean more efficiency and using the lesson time more effectively and they should equal to a better and faster progression. Private lessons are particularly effective at the beginning stages of learning to swim.

However private lessons have some disadvantages:

1. Private swimming lessons are more costly than group lessons because of the one-to-one ratio.

2. Children who are sociable and enjoy being around other kids and have more advanced swimming skills sometimes find private lessons less stimulating – my own daughter does group lessons for exactly this reason

3. Lack of social interaction with peers may cause motivation challenges, as lessons may seem more like work than play. There is no opportunity for children to watch their peers try and master skills, which could benefit some children.

4. Private lessons also make it more challenging for an instructor to keep a child engaged for the entire session.

Group lessons have their advantages:

1. Less expensive than private lessons and they work well when conducted by a good and experienced swimming teacher who has control over the class and gets the best out of their pupils.

2. For confident children, group lessons can be a great source of socialising with their peers and learning through imitation. Being part of a group is a source of fun and motivation, reduces the risk of boredom and dropping out of swimming.

Group swimming lessons


The biggest frustration I often hear from parents talking about their experience of group lessons is that in a group, kids have less attention and are quite often left waiting by the side of the pool for some time before they are given some guidance and are allowed to actually do any swimming.

A good swim teacher should know how to teach the whole group, if numbers are not too large. That’s why at Blue Wave Swim School we only allow a maximum of six children in each group. Also, it should not be that teacher is giving each child only a few minutes of private lesson within a group setting. Having said that, in a group, a teacher cannot spend a great deal of time with just one child since that would have an effect on the provision of the lesson for the rest in the group.

private swimming lessons

So which option you should choose?

Group lessons are the most cost-efficient way for learning to swim and for many children who take pleasure from having fun in the water with other kids; they are a good choice. The social aspect of group lessons is a great motivator for children.

However, parents should bear in mind that while children normally will advance at an acceptable rate in group lessons with a good teacher, this option is best for parents who are less concerned with fast results and want their children to learn to love the water and interact with their peers.

Private lessons are a great choice for those children or adults who are unsure of water or may have had a traumatic experience with water and need to be introduced to water slowly.

Also, young children who are not psychologically ready to follow instructions for 30 minutes from a swim teacher or kids who may become easily distracted by other kids or need specialised direction and discipline would also benefit from private lessons.

Private lessons could also be the best option for those who have a specific goal in mind. Goals like boosting water confidence in time for summer holidays, or improving stroke performance for a swim team, and or preparing for swimming galas.

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21 Replies to “Private versus Group Swimming Lessons”

  1. Good day… There are 3 of us wanting to learn how to swim but we are all also working and would like to know how to go about it

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