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Staff Training

If you're in charge of a lifeguard team, run a weekly staff training session. Make it fun and challenging to keep your team motivated.

Staff training should exceed the requirements of your lifeguard patrol service. No matter if you're on the beach or at a pool, think of ways to train over and above your normal standards.

Get your team involved in the planning so they can bring in new ideas. Many are keen on general fitness, so build in some tough exercises.

Get dressed before dry training to save time. Make sure your team wears appropriate clothing for realistic training in the water. Add more layers for enhanced fitness exercises.

In-Service Training

Sitting on the stand all day can get boring. In-service training relieves boredom and monotony by giving your team a chance for a quick dip while on poolside. It is a great way to keep lifeguards alert and motivated, and gives them a chance to work on their skills that will make them successful in your pool's most desperate moment.

You can liven things up by having short training segments while on duty. Get the work experience kid to jump into the deep end, pretending to be a weak swimmer or non-swimmer. Observe the response of your lifeguards.

Make sure you always maintain adequate lifeguard cover. If a lifeguard jumps into the water for an incident or just a simulation, another lifeguard has to immediately take over the post.

When you have enough lifeguards on site to ensure ongoing cover, organise an initiative test during a public session. The lifeguard(s) on duty should respond and demonstrate an effective rescue.

The best time to do in-service training is just before a lifeguard goes on a break, as they probably get wet during the initiative test and need to change into a dry uniform.

Please note:
These training sessions are designed to keep your team fit and on task. They do not replace the proper qualification courses required to work as a lifeguard in your country. Contact your national lifeguard organisation for details of relevant qualifications, like Pool Lifeguard or Beach Lifeguard.

Dry Training

  1. Review the events of the previous week. Were there any incidents? Were team members injured or in danger? What can you learn from last week's events to improve your skills or services?

  2. Go over your casualty handling and emergency procedures. Discuss different lifesaving skills each week. Practice the resuscitation sequence.

  3. Do sufficient warm up exercises before you jump into the water. This avoids injuries. Do sit-ups, curl-ups, push-ups and possibly a short run.

Pool Training

Pool training should be fun and challenging. Do a blend of fitness training and lifesaving skills practice.

  1. Quick warm-up swim over 4 pool lengths using a different swim stroke for each. Between lengths climb out (not via the steps) and touch the wall (or whatever), then jump in for the next length. Do not dive into the shallow end.

  2. Reaching rescues using any aid. Know where rescue aids are kept at your pool. Avoid being pulled into the water.

  3. Push-ups on poolside prepare for the next exercise. Start with 5 to 10 and build up over time.

  4. Throwing rescues using throw bags. Know how to handle them and where they are kept. There will be no time later.

  5. Wade across the pool in chest deep water to build lower body core strength. Wade over several widths as fast as you can.

  6. Wading rescue over 20 meters using a lifebuoy or other floating aid. If you don't any aid to hand use an item of clothing, like a hoodie or anorak. Escort the casualty back to a point of safety without making contact.

  7. Sit-ups on poolside warm you up quickly. When your stomach tells you to stop, then you've probably done enough.

  8. Swim a length and tow a conscious casualty over one pool length. Use a head-up approach to keep an eye on your casualty.

  9. Swim breaststoke without leg kick for one length. Don't kick your legs, but spread them apart like a speed brake. This is harder than it sounds.

  10. Flutter kick on poolside. Lie down on your back, legs in the air, kick like front crawl for one minute.

  11. Swim a length and tow an unconscious casualty over one pool length. Use a fast approach, recover a brick from the pool floor and turn the casualty onto backside. Use extended arm tow and assisted lift-out. Provide aftercare.

  12. Go for a 100 meter run if possible at your pool. Otherwise swim 2 lengths. This simulates running to a phone to call the ambulance. You may not have a mobile phone to hand during an emergency.

  13. Initiative tests train your ability to think and act quickly. Get your team members to come up with different scenarios. What would you do if a swimmer suddenly collapses on poolside?

  14. Jump in and climb out of the pool for one minute. This gets your pulse going really fast.

  15. Playful cool down brings your body down to normal. Have fun and enjoy.

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