Development of an easy to apply assessment tool for pre-swimming skills: A method approach in (pre)school children

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution - Published abstract for conference with selection processResearchpeer-review


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The process of learning how to swim may be defined as four developmental stages: a) following a general familiarization to water, b) five basic aquatic skills (i.e. fully submerge, learn a rhythmic and steady breathing pattern with the added pressure of water, be able to float prone and supine using buoyancy, glide with reduced drag, and dive safely into the water) have to be mastered before c) basic aquatic locomotion is possible and d) swimming styles can be learned. Pre-swimming skills, consisting of water familiarization and the five basic aquatic skills, are prerequisite to move independently in the water. While there are different ways to quantify performance in swimming (e.g. time tracking, measurement of energetics, biomechanical analyses), evaluating pre-swimming skills often refers to the teachers’ or coaches’ experience and gut instinct. Therefore, this study aimed to develop an easy to apply assessment tool that quantifies the evaluation of pre-swimming skills to help estimating the stages of development in (pre)school children.
According to physical in-water characteristics, 19 consecutive and in level of difficulty increasing tasks were developed to capture the five basic aquatic skills. For each of the skills four to five tasks were differentiated. Each task was characterised by specific criteria. Criteria may be failed (end of assessment) or passed to then progress to the next level. Standard instructions will be provided verbally and in signage. 22 children (6.95 ± 1.03 years, male n=12, female n=10) covering the full range of task-difficulty were recruited as participants to perform the developed tasks. Performances were video recorded from standardized frontal (above and under surface) and sideways perspectives. Next, video sequences together with standardized evaluation sheets will be sent to three rating groups (each n=100) comprising different levels of experience in accordance to learning how to swim: swimming coaches, physical education teachers (elementary schools), and parents with children in the respective age group but no particular swimming or teaching history. Using the rating groups’ evaluations, inter-rater reliability will be tested. If found reliable, the tool may be used in educational concepts and learning-to-swim.
Original languageGerman
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts : 22nd Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, 5th-8th July 2017, MetropolisRuhr - Germany
EditorsA. Ferrauti, P. Platen, E. Grimminger-Seidensticker, T. Jaitner, U. Bartmus, L. Becher, M. De Marées, T. Mühlbauer, A. Schauerte, T. Wiewelhove, E. Tsolakidis
Number of pages1
PublisherWestdeutscher Universitätsverlag
Publication date06.07.2017
ISBN (Print)978-3-89966-755-2, 978-3-9818414-0-4, 978-3-89966-777-6, 978-3-89966-776-9
Publication statusPublished - 06.07.2017
EventAnnual Congress of the European College of Sport Science - Bochum, Germany
Duration: 05.07.201708.07.2017
Conference number: 22

ID: 3084640

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