The question of group swim lessons verses private swim lessons comes up a lot. Most of the time, the benefits of group lessons heavily outweigh the benefits of private lessons.
In group lessons, your child will see other children preforming swimming skills. If your child is nervous or scared, it is usually helpful to see other children doing it and having fun. If your child is more advanced than the other children in the class, she can demonstrate the skill to the others in the class. It always feels good to be a leader! Group lessons allow time for the children to rest in between each turn. Thirty minutes of non-stop swim instruction can be too much for younger children. And of course, the cost factor weighs heavily in favor of group lessons.
If your child is on swim team and needs to perfect a skill or stroke, a few private lessons can be very beneficial. If your child has problems learning in group settings or if your time constraints don't allow for group lessons then private lessons may be the answer. If your child is absolutely terrified, private lessons may be part of the solution, but try group lessons or talk with the instructor first. I have taught many children who come to class crying and screaming for a lesson or two who are perfectly happy ever after. In a few rare cases, I have recommended private lessons for children who are afraid, in order to get them over a hump. Almost all of them have then successfully gone into group lessons afterwards. Honestly, I can only think of one student who did not go into a group lesson with me after private lessons due to fear, but that's because his family moved just as he was getting comfortable in the water. For adults, private lessons often work well due to the lack of adult swim lesson opportunities, specific needs, and time constraints; however, I have taught a lot of adults to swim in group swim lessons.
When considering private lessons, only do it if you have very specific needs; otherwise, sign up for group lessons.
Coach Mandi has been teaching and coaching swimmers at the USA, summer league, high school, and Masters