At Aqualife Swimming we pride ourselves on offering a holistic approach to swimming, finding ways to help people at all stages of their lives develop a genuine love for the water and aquatic life. When we started to identify the need for families coming together to swim, it therefore felt fitting that Family Workshops became a permanent feature of our swim school.
There were several reasons for Aqualife developing the concept of Family Workshops. Firstly, many parents were uncomfortable about placing anxious swimmers in a group lesson and not being together in the water with their child. We had also identified some swimmers who we felt would benefit from a more personally tailored lesson.
In addition, we had many parents asking for advice on developing their child’s swimming skills whilst on holiday and maintaining water confidence. They were also keen to ensure their child’s safety in and around the pool and learn basic life saving skills in order to effectively deal with any incidents.
Lastly, we had an increasing number of families who couldn’t commit to weekly lessons but who wanted to come together on an ad-hoc basis to develop and refresh their swimming skills.
We started by offering some free trial Family Workshops to a small number of families, then after gaining positive feedback we advertised on our website and did a leaflet drop to local schools, businesses and children’s centers. We found that the uniqueness of the concept helped to generate word-of-mouth advertising, as did praise for the truly bespoke nature of the workshops.
By their nature, Family Workshops include a range of swim abilities, ages and confidence levels which means that careful planning is needed. Communication with the family prior to getting into the pool is essential, as is mindful planning of your lesson content. Remember that the idea is to get the individual family members working together, so try to avoid focusing on one swimmer at a time and find activities that everyone can participate in.
There are challenges involved in the planning and delivery of Family Workshops. As families tend to book on an ad-hoc basis and only do on average 2 or 3 workshops each, knowing how much pool space to allocate can be tricky. We try to block out space at the end of regular teaching sessions for this purpose. The workshops are an excellent opportunity to cross-sell; all of our Workshop clients went on to book either 121 lessons, join an AquaFit session or enroll their children into our classes.
Dealing with individuals who have had negative experiences of the water can also be tough, especially in the case of adults whom may inadvertently increase the anxiety of their children. The key is to make the workshop fun and engaging whilst giving clear teaching points and tips to parents. We like to think of it as developing water-parenting skills!
Finally, remember that Family Workshops will more than likely be a new concept to your clients. Start by offering free demonstrations and ask clients to provide recommendations which you can post on your website or print on marketing literature. With the school summer holidays approaching you couldn’t get a better time of the year to launch your swim school’s Family Workshops – good luck!