Teenagers and tweens text at mind-blowing rates. In fact, studies indicate the average teen sends or receives more than 3,300 text messages every month. With so much emphasis on digital contact, is this generation going to struggle with developing effective face-to-face communication skills?
It might be a little too early to say for certain, but it is not
hard to imagine a world in which “Can’t wait to see
you” is completely replaced by “Cant w8 2 c
Rather than waiting for the inevitable, aquatics professionals need
to ensure that developing communication among guards is a major
part of all in-service trainings.
After all, even with strong communication skills, conveying a
message effectively can be difficult in the hustle and bustle of a
standard lifeguard shift. In-water rescues are stressful and an
obvious example of when being clear and concise is of the utmost
importance. Guard rotations, on the other hand, often are easily
dismissed, which is dangerous because they can be unexpectedly
Regardless of the circumstance or activity, lifeguards need to have
a healthy appreciation for how important, and difficult,
communication can be.
It is difficult to communicate effectively in stressful situations.
This exercise has been designed to highlight that fact. Ironically,
lifeguards will be playing an aquatic version of the game
Create phrases the lifeguards will be required to remember.
Sentences should be descriptive and relate to aquatic or lifesaving
principles. Here are some examples:
- Call EMS immediately. A 17-year-old girl experienced a
seizure in the shallow end of the pool. She’s
- The glare has been bad today. Positioning myself on the
southeast end of the pool has helped.
- A group of four teenagers came in 45 minutes ago.
They’re rowdy, and only one of them is a confident
Write these phrases on slips of paper and place them in a hat, bag
or similar container.
Separate lifeguards into competing groups. Each team should have
four to 10 guards. They will be racing, so you may wish to spread
the strongest swimmers evenly across teams.
|1||Inform the teams that they will be competing against each
another. Besides swimming laps, each person also will be required
to memorize a phrase and then accurately share the information with
the next swimmer.|
|2||The first lifeguard on each team will select a phrase from the
hat or bag, memorize it and then swim one lap. (Fitness is an
important part of an effective in-service training. Feel free to
require guards to swim more than one lap.)|
|3||The next lifeguard for each team will be at the starting point,
waiting to receive the message from the previous guard. Once the
guards are confident the message has been transmitted properly, the
next guard will swim one lap.|
|4||For added difficulty, consider requiring the lifeguards to
demonstrate proper CPR or another lifesaving technique before
sharing the memorized phrase.|
|5||Repeat Step 3 until all lifeguards have completed the
|6||Upon completing the lap, the last swimmer must recite the
phrase word for word. The first team to accurately recite the
phrase wins. |
|7||If the phrase was not communicated properly, the team must
start the exercise over, beginning with the first lifeguard. All
teams must complete the exercise.|