On April 15, 2019, La Petite Baleen celebrated 40 years of teaching...Read More
If you haven’t noticed by now, we do things a little differently here at LPB. We’re known throughout the learn-to-swim industry for our unique child-development-based curriculum. One of the most obvious differences that sets us apart from other swim programs is that we do not teach blowing bubbles – at least not right away.
We teach beginning students to make a “Balloon Face” instead of blowing bubbles for three reasons:
1. Think of the lungs as an inflatable inner-tube. When you fill them with air, they float. Now, imagine you blew up the inner-tube and then left the valve open. The air would leak out, and the tube would deflate, losing its buoyancy and eventually sinking. The idea here is to hold the air inside the lungs to help the body remain near the surface.
2. Students need power behind their exhale to clear their airway (think of a whale blowing its spout). If you go underwater and blow all your air out, the reflex is to immediately inhale when you surface to breathe. This can cause students to inhale or sniff water. We want a powerful exhale out before students take a new breath in and return to swimming.
3. The Balloon Face creates pressure inside the mouth and sinuses, preventing water from going in the nose/sinuses. If you have ever gotten water in your nose you know it is very unpleasant and painful. It is also one of the most common causes of crying in swim lessons. Once students learn a proper Balloon Face (see above), submersions will soon progress into independent swims!
Do we ever teach students to blow bubbles at LPB? Yes! Once students have mastered breath control completely, we teach them “blended breathing” which makes for more efficient breathing for the technical stroke development (which begins in Level 4).