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Lifeguard Training Games

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Lifeguard games are engaging ways to introduce new skills to lifeguard trainees or to sharpen the skills of veteran lifeguards in a highly competitive atmosphere. These games are useful for lifeguard in-service training as skill-building and team-building exercises. Games should focus on skills like recognizing signs of a distressed swimmer, identifying hazards of inclement weather, understanding environmental dangers or improving aquatic conditioning.

Concentration Game

This game promotes attention to detail and concentration while on duty. One lifeguard or trainee stands with his back to the water on the side of the pool, on the beach or on the lake shore. Another lifeguard must be on duty during this exercise to ensure safety. The other lifeguards or trainees take on various roles around the pool or body of water: swimmers, aqua joggers, children playing and sunbathers. The lifeguard with his back to the pool turns around and memorizes the scene for one minute. After 60 seconds, he turns back around and the players quickly change roles. For example, swimmers become sunbathers, and children become the aqua joggers. The lifeguard on deck turns around and studies the scene again for one minute. After time is up, he must identify the changes.

Brick Dive Relay

The brick, or 10-pound weight, is a necessary prop at every pool deck or waterfront. Some lifeguard certification organizations require the prospective lifeguard to dive to the bottom of the pool and retrieve the brick. This game practices that skill and promotes team building. Lifeguards are split into two teams. If there are not enough lifeguards for two teams, the team competes against a clock. Each team stands apart from the other at the deep end of the pool or on the dock. When the whistle blows, the first lifeguard in line drops the brick and waits for it to reach the bottom. She then dives or jumps in to retrieve it. After that, the brick passes to the next person in line, who drops and retrieves it as the first lifeguard did. The team to finish the fastest wins.

Rescue Relay

The rescue relay incorporates rescue with aerobic training. Similar to the brick relay, lifeguards split into two teams and begin at one end of the pool. On the beach, lifeguards start on the shore. The first lifeguard in line wears the rescue tube, which is the thin, red, buoyancy device lifeguards carry. One of the lifeguards on the team becomes the “victim” at the other end of the pool, or about 50 feet in front of the shore's edge at a beach or lake. When the whistle blows, the lifeguard with the tube enters the water and performs the appropriate rescue. The "victim" can be active, with arms flailing and conscious, or passive and unresponsive. After the rescue, the rescuer tows the “victim” back to the starting position. The “victim” goes to the end of the line, and the rescuer now becomes the “victim.” The first team to have all lifeguards perform a rescue and tow wins.

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