Some homework on your part may include going down to the pool to recee the pool and environment. Pools have different crowd size on different days and times. If you dont like crowded pools, that would be a vital observation on your part, although coaches can provide some insight into the times if you discuss your concerns with them
I am aware that there are some schools providing the service to locate and provide coaches for students. The coaches from these schools are as professional as the coaches you see at the pools. Depending on your budget and time constrains, you may consult these schools or approach the coaches at the pools for classes.
Otherwise, observe the coaches at the pools conducting their lessons prior.
Note their style of teaching, different individuals may prefer different styles.
Once you have decided, approach the coach AT THE END of their class to enquire.
However, if you would like to have a trial lesson, please ask the coach. Some coach may not entertain trial classes as it can disrupt their ongoing lessons.
some useful websites:
Find a NROC Registered Coach
What is NCAP?
Swimming Complexes in Singaore
When choosing a coach, the first thing that comes into mind would circle around these few general but not exhaustive items:
Swimming is an interesting sports. I do not recall any other sports which may require as much body contact between the coach and the student during the initial stages of learning.
Because swimming requires the coordination of all parts of your body to balance, float and glide in the water, coaches would have very close body contact with the students.
Different individual would have different response to the body contacts.
If the student is a child, unless they have specific needs, a male or female coach would not be as important to consider than as compared to an adult student.
The age of the coach to the contrary of popular believes is NOT a determining factor of their competency level to teach and their professionalism.
A coaching licence may be awarded to any individual above the age of 16 years.
I obtained mine at the age of 19, and officially started teaching at the age of 22.
There are individuals above the age of 50 sitting for the exams with me, if you have the impression that only young individuals like myself was at the course. In fact, I was the youngest and the minority at the course!
Experience, professionalism and approach to class should be considered, not the physical age of the coach.
Coaches in Singapore may possess different certifications issued by different bodies.
However, coaches at all public pools MUST possess National Coaching Accreditation Programme or NCAP at level 3 issued by the Singapore Sports Council.
Coaches with NCAP are registered with National Registry Of Coaches(NROC) and has to fulfill basic requirements such as a valid First Aid Certification as well as Continual Coach Education(CCE).
"The NROC is therefore a fraternity of certified, competent and professional coaches, who subscribe to the Coaches' Code of Ethics More importantly, the NROC is a mark of quality assurance to the general public at large."
I personally prefer public pools.
This is especially because the pools are designed with the specific depths and features to ensure safety and comfort to the students.
Other pools may be designed with blind spots and depths not suitable for classes. However this does not apply to all pools, please decide and visit the pools before you start your lessons.
Fees at public pools are generally cheaper than at private pools.
Private classes are definitely more expensive.
Please understand that most coaches charge a flat fee for 4 lessons a month inculding days where lesson is disrupted due to rain and thunder as well as public holidays.