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Fun and Effective Games

Susan Grosse

Cage Ball Pass

Equipment Cage ball (Note: If a cage ball is not available, a buoy ball, balance ball, or earth ball may be easily substituted.)

Description Swimmers tread water in a circle. A cage ball is passed overhead around the group. The ball cannot touch the surface of the water. Swimmers must pass the ball using two hands. The ball should not be thrown or batted.


* Add music to the activity. When the music stops, the person with the ball must hold it in the air for a specific number of seconds (or until the music starts again).
* Increase the distances between swimmers, forcing each swimmer to perform a Travel Tread (see page 58) while holding the ball overhead in order to pass it on.
* Have participants pair up and pass the ball back and forth between two people. See how many passes each pair can make in a specified time.







Clothes Caper

Equipment Long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, and tennis shoes for each participant (Note: Items should be clean and safe for pool use.)

Description Wearing clothes over their swimsuits, participants jump into deep water, disrobe, and drop their clothes to the bottom of the pool. Then each person retrieves his clothes and puts them back on again. A survival float can be used during disrobing and putting clothing back on. Teach participants that they should remove the heaviest item first. Participants wearing pullover shirts should be taught to gather the shirt under their armpits and remove their arms before pulling the shirt over their head.


* Participants perform the required tasks within a specified time limit, or they race against each other.
* Participants must swim a specified number of pool lengths before disrobing.
* This activity can also be staged as a relay. Swimmers are divided into teams. Each team has one long-sleeved shirt and one pair of long trousers (size should be sufficient so that every person can get into the selected articles). Shoes are not used for this variation because they are more difficult to size for a group. Teams are lined up, one swimmer behind the other; the two lines are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the pool wall. The first person in line holds the clothes. On a start signal, the first person puts on the clothes and swims out to a designated point (or the opposite side of the pool). This person then returns to his line and removes the clothes, giving them to the next person (or dropping them to the bottom). The first person then moves to the end of the line as the second person takes (or retrieves) the clothes and repeats the action. The winning side is the first to rotate back to its original line. This relay can also be done as a shuttle relay with participants moving to opposite lines on the exchange. Specify the stroke to be used for the swimming portion.
* This activity may also be combined with the Clothing Flotation activity (see page 34).




Clothesline Relay

Equipment Four clotheslines; four to six clothespins per team; a set of clothes for each team of participants (the set should include long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, socks, and shoes) (Note: Items should be clean and safe for pool use.)

Description Each clothesline is strung across the width of a six- or eight-lane pool; the clotheslines are placed equidistant from the end walls and each other. Participants are grouped into teams, and each team is given a lane and a set of clothes. To prepare for the relay, the first swimmer swims out to the first clothesline and clips her team’s pants to that line. This swimmer then proceeds to the second line and clips on her team’s shirt. The swimmer clips the shoes onto the third line and clips the socks onto the last line. When the items have been clipped to all four clotheslines, the swimmer returns to her team. When all teams have prepared their clotheslines, the relay can begin.

On a predetermined signal, the first swimmer swims to the first line, unclips the clothing item found there (in this case, the pants), and puts on the pants while treading water.

After putting on the pants, the swimmer proceeds to the second, third, and fourth lines, putting on clothes at each line (if the shoes are reached before the socks, the swimmer must remove and redo the shoes when the socks are reached). When the swimmer is completely dressed, she completes the swim to the opposite end of the pool, touches the wall, and turns around without standing up. The swimmer then swims back to the starting point, stopping at each successive clothesline, taking off the appropriate item of clothing, and reattaching the item to its original place on the line. When the swimmer-now attired once again in only a swimsuit-reaches the starting spot where her team is waiting, she tags the next swimmer and goes to the end of the line. The tagged swimmer now repeats the swim of the first swimmer, putting on clothing at each line, tagging the wall at the far end, returning by disrobing and rehanging the clothes, and tagging the next waiting swimmer. The relay is completed when all swimmers have completed one two-length swim.


* Vary the size and fabric weight of the clothing. Clothing that is one size larger than the largest swimmer is easier to put on. However, it will weigh more when wet. Smaller clothing will weigh less but will be more difficult to put on. Fleece is heavier than lightweight cotton.
* Have the swimmers perform blindfolded. The waiting teammates call out directions.
* For added endurance work, require the waiting teammates to tread water while waiting.

Contributed by Ann Wieser, Greensboro, NC

This is an excerpt from Lifeguard Training Activities and Games.


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