Are Private Adult Swimming Lessons Worth It? (I tried it out)


adult learning how to swim

Learning to swim as an adult can be a challenge, but well worth the effort. I learned to swim as an adult after a lifelong fear of the water.

For me, the journey was not easy as I had such a powerful fear, and I tried everything under the sun from group lessons to private lessons, but the effort has been worth it.

Private swimming lessons are a brilliant investment if you are learning to swim as an adult. With one-to-one attention in the water, you can focus on your personal needs and work on areas you are struggling with. Alongside a boost in water confidence, you can progress your swimming quickly.

From all the things I tried while learning to swim, private swimming lessons have been the most effective.

Many of my “breakthrough” moments with swimming, such as learning how to tread water effectively, have resulted from a couple of hours of private lessons.

Improving your swim technique is also best done through a private coach, as you can have specific feedback on your stroke.

In this article I want to share:

  • Are private adult swimming lessons worth it?
  • How do you find a good swim coach?
  • How much do private adult swimming lessons cost?
  • How can I get the most from my private lessons?
  • What alternatives are there to private swim lessons?

Are Private Adult Swimming Lessons Worth It?

Private adults swimming lessons are a great way to either:

  • Learn how to swim as an adult
  • Improve your swimming technique

Private Adult Swimming Lessons – Learning How To Swim

Learning to swim as an adult can be a daunting and difficult task.

Perhaps you have a fear of the water that has kept you out of the pool, or you were not exposed to water as a child. Whatever your personal reason, learning to swim as an adult is well worth the time and effort.

There are a few common misconceptions that stop adults from learning to swim, for example;

  • Many of us believe that as we get older, we are less capable of learning new things.
  • Others see learning to swim as an adult embarrassing, as they cater most swimming lessons to children.

Neither of these reasons should stop you from getting into the pool and learning how to swim.

If age is your concern, you can learn to swim at any age. Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do and is referred to as a “lifetime sport”.

A lifetime sport is a sport that you can do at any age. Because swimming is low impact, which means it does not place excessive wear and tear on your joints, it is a sport that you can do in your 90s and beyond.

If you think that swimming lessons are just for kids, then that is not true. There is a whole industry dedicated to adult swimmers and teaching us how to swim or how to improve.

Did you know that the average age of an Ironman Triathlon participant is 43? [source] If you are getting into triathlons as an adult, you might find that the swimming section is your greatest challenge and you are not alone.

As a result, there is a whole industry dedicated to teaching adults to learn how to swim or improve, most of which have the ultimate goal of getting you swimming long-distance.

Benefits Of Private Swim Lessons – For Adult Beginners

I have tried everything on my swimming journey from group swimming lessons, swim clinics, getting friends to help me, and private swimming lessons.

Here is why I believe private swimming lessons are by far the best option for learning how to swim:

1. Excellent For Building Water Confidence

Private, one-to-one swimming lessons are great for building water confidence.

Water confidence is the ability to be in the water and feel comfortable and in control.

True “master level” water confidence is being able to handle any water situation, but as a beginner, knowing your depth, where you are comfortable, and how to manage yourself in the water is all the water confidence you need.

If you have a fear of water, water confidence can be very difficult to achieve and nearly impossible to master as part of a group swim class.

With a private instructor, their eyes are on you alone. As a result, you can feel more relaxed in the water as it is like having a personal lifeguard.

If you have a fear of the water, you can express this to your instructor and they will tailor their swimming instruction to address this issue.

This results in a controlled and calm swimming lesson where you always feel comfortable. This will help you love the water and fear it less.

2. Learn At Your Own Pace

We all learn to swim at a different rate. Some adult beginners with no fear of the water can be swimming effectively in a short period. For other adults, it can take a much longer time from months to even years if you have a fear of water.

When swimming in a group lesson, there can be a lot of pressure to keep up. Perhaps you have not fully mastered a particular stroke and already the group is moving on to the next exercise.

With private swimming lessons, you can learn at your own pace. If you are struggling with a particular exercise, your instructor can tailor the course to your needs.

3. Constantly Swimming

The joy of one-to-one swimming lessons is that you typically get the most amount of time in the water swimming.

Once the initial introductions are done, you are in the water and constantly working on your swimming.

With group swimming lessons, everyone is moving at a different pace, so there will be a lot more time talking, repeating instructions and waiting for others.

4. Custom Feedback

The great thing about private swimming instruction is that you get detailed feedback.

The job of your personal instructor is to help you learn to swim, so they will be constantly monitoring your movements and giving you feedback.

It might be the case that you are doing one tiny little thing wrong that can completely change how you swim if you correct it.

In a group swimming lesson, there is no opportunity for customised feedback, and if you get some personal advice, it is limited.

5. Focus On Problem Areas

When learning to swim, you may find that there is a particular area that is a problem for you.

I had a fear of water and could not tread water effectively as I was very uncomfortable in the water and panicked. When I started my private lessons, I highlighted this to my swim instructor, who then spent lots of extra time treading water with me.

Today, this is no longer a problem and I can tread water all day long.

With group swimming lessons, you have to go with the majority and the lesson plan. Generally, there is no time to get the attention to focus on any particular problem areas you might have in a group swimming lesson.

6. Constant Progression

I loved the constant progression when I did my private adult swimming lessons.

With private swimming lessons, you are constantly getting personal feedback and working on problem areas. As a result, you are constantly improving and progressing.

In a group swimming lesson, it is very common to feel left behind. Sometimes you may feel pushed outside your comfort zone without the individual attention to help you progress.

With private lessons, on the whole, you will feel you will progress every session, which makes the higher cost worth it, in my opinion.

Private Adult Swimming Lessons – Improving Your Swimming Technique

Swimming lessons for adults are not just for beginners and it is possible to get private adult swimming lessons to help you improve or finesse your technique.

This route is very common amongst adult swimmers who adore the sport and are obsessed with technique (like me), or adults who are getting involved with triathlons.

Most local pools will have a private instructor, but in recent years there has been a surge in swim schools and private adult improver courses that will use video footage to analyse your stroke and help you improve.

Is Scuba Diving Scary? Of Course.
Is Scuba Diving Scary? Of Course.

A company called “Swim Smooth”, has caught my eye in recent months. Through a local coach, you can get one to one private lessons, which also includes a video analysis of how you swim underwater to help you improve your stroke.

I find that these swim instructors who are part of a larger corporation or swim teaching style such as “Swim Smooth” or “Total Immersion Swimming” are excellent as they have helped thousands of adult swimmers to improve and have a specific format that they follow.

If you are not in a location close to any of these teaching styles, most local pools will have a teacher offering private adult swimming lessons.

In addition, a lot of public pools offer improver courses or swim clinics. These are fun and affordable, but it is very hard to beat the feedback from a private, one-to-one swimming lesson.

How Do You Find A Good Swim Coach?

Like everything, there will be some swim coaches you love and some that don’t quite work out for you.

In order to find a good private or 1-to1 swim coach, you can start looking in the following places:

1. The Notice Board At Your Local Pool

This is where I found my first private swim coach. She had a very simple handwritten notice placed on the notice board at the local swimming pool reception.

As it turns out, she was a professional synchronized swimmer. My personal problem at the time was an inability to tread water, so learning from someone who can tread water upside down while balancing another swimmer on their feet was an incredible experience!

She solved my treading water problem in one swim session.

2. Professional Swim Schools

There are well-established swim schools all over the world.

Some are global, such as “Swim Smooth” and “Total Immersion Swimming Schools”, but others can be specific to a country, for example, “Swim Now” which is based in the UK only.

You can find the details of your local swim school for these organisations on their websites.

How Much Do Private Adult Swimming Lessons Cost?

Private adult swimming lessons typically cost between £40 to £50 per hour, however, this will vary between instructors.

If you are looking for full video analysis and stroke correction, this will typically cost around £125 per 90 minutes, which will include private lane hire.

How Can I Get The Most From My Swim Lessons?

Private swim lessons are typically expensive. Therefore, it is important to get the most from your time in the water.

Here are some things I have learned that I believe will help you get the most from your private swim tuition.

1. Admit Your Fears

If you are afraid of water or some other concern in the water, ensure you tell your swim instructor.

Your swim coach is there to help you work through any water problems you may have to help you build water confidence.

If you are afraid or have a phobia of water, it is important to talk this through with your tutor so they can design a swim programme to help you work with the fear.

2. Have A Goal

Before starting your private lessons, it can help to have a goal in mind.

Perhaps you just want to get over your fear or be able to swim one length or improve your technique.

Having a goal will help your instructor tailor the session to help you achieve your swimming goals.

For my first private swimming lessons, I wanted to tread water well and confidently. I told this to my instructor, and she tailored my sessions to work on this, using swim fins to help me build confidence and staying in the deep end with me for a long time until I was comfortable.

3. Be Honest

Good communication is essential to getting the most from your private lessons.

Be honest with your instructor, for example, if you are nervous tell them, if you find a kick hard don’t just move on, tell them, if you find breathing underwater hard, tell them.

Until you tell your instructor what is bothering you or what areas you are struggling with, they won’t be able to tailor their session to help you out.

What Alternatives Are There To Private Swim Lessons?

Private swimming lessons are great and a fantastic way to learn how to swim or improve quickly. However, they are expensive.

Before you dive headfirst into private lessons, it may be worth checking out “Total Immersion Swimming”.

This is a swim teaching method to help you learn to swim effortlessly or improve your technique.

With books, DVDs and lots of free YouTube videos, you can pick up a lot of hints and tips that can help you improve in your own time.

Final Thoughts

Private swimming lessons for adults are totally worth it.

Whether you are a beginner or want to improve your stroke, nothing is as good as the confidence and one-to-one guidance that private swimming lessons offer.

Although costly, private swimming lessons can help you advance quickly and work on specific areas of your stroke to help you get more water confidence and swim better, for longer.

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Louise Byrne

Hi, I am Louise and I am obsessed with swimming. I spend my free time in the water or getting ready for my next water adventure.

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