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Ask Udder Smith: Help with swimming school

September 27, 2010

Dear Udder:

I’m from Florida, and it is important to me our 4-year-old son learns to swim.  The swimming school in our town requires every child to wear the same uniform and learn exactly the same arm movements for the crawl  — my son does not seem to mind, although he does not always understand the teacher’s point — but it is driving me crazy!  How can a 4-year-old understand the difference between flexed or pointed fingertips?  Help.

Bogged in details in Yokohama

Dear Yokohama:

Take a deep breath and remember: in Japan, there is always a way.  Whether you enroll your child in swimming or martial arts, painting or baseball, ski team or ballet —  there is usually a detailed system of learning that may not always agree with our North American free/ fun approach to extracurricular activities.  On the plus side, despite the excessive emphasis on detail, your child is probably gaining discipline and moral, along with usually sound instruction.  On the minus side, too much detail too early can rob an activity of its enjoyment.  You will not win an argument here, Udder believes, as most sports clubs or institutions have relied on this way since Samurai times.  Only you and your child can decide if the benefits outweigh the monotony.  Good luck!



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