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The Squeaky Wheel

by S'WET™ Master Trainer Katy Coffey

There is an age old saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." This idiom often holds the meaning to say that someone who complains or causes problems is more likely to receive attention or help than someone who stays quiet and does not cause problems.

If you ask most aquatic fitness professionals about their relationship with management, often, their answer will lean towards, "There's plenty of room for improvement!" Strain between management and aquatic fitness staff can stem from many common problems:

  • Lack of understanding the aquatic format

  • Feelings of isolation from the rest of the fitness community

  • Inequality in pay compared with "land-based" formats

  • Disagreement on programming priority for pool spacing

  • Communication

We may see the mismanagement and it's hard not to take this personally. We are passionate about providing the best experience for our members and want to protect and stand firm for them. Suddenly that "squeaky wheel" resonates with your soul.

You might be tempted to fight, complain, nag, or do whatever it takes to squeak and get that grease. I want to encourage you that there is another way!

Does it take work? Yes. Based on personal experience, it will all be worth your investment.

From the manager's perspective, the wheel is part of a tool that needs to serve a purpose. The wheel may be squeaking, but it's only going to get oil if the owner knows the tool is essential to the team’s purpose. If the wheel is squeaking but the tool is useless, the squeaking only becomes a hindrance and is chucked.

Becoming part of the team will open doors of communication and allow the opportunities to make proposals and help create change.

Do more. Learn More.

A lifeguard’s job is 100% about eyes on the pool and safety. If you are working at a one guard facility, the reality is that it is not the job of the guard to change lanes and clean up equipment. If this is the situation at your pool, chat with your supervisor about the best course of action to handle setup and tear down before and after class.

Ask how you can promote the department as a whole.

You are part of the team. If there is a big event coming up, mention it to your class. Invite your students to get more involved. You can help build community among your members beyond the 45 minutes of your class.

Look for opportunities to cross train.

Managers always look for the team member who can be a team player. Maybe that is helping in swim lessons, or maybe getting certified in a senior chair fitness format. Look for the needs of the facility and be willing to see if your talents might fill that hole.

Promote other formats and instructors.

When directors see you cross-promoting and learning from the rest of the team, they begin to realize you are part of the team and are avoiding an "Us vs Them" mentality.

Bottom line...When you take the time to show your manager how essential you are to the team, they are more likely to address your valid squeaks and make changes.

Insider Tip: When you do get the little wins, celebrate them publicly ... it will help foster future wins!

Reprinted with permission from the Aquatic Exercise Association.

Originally appeared in the March / April / May 2023 Issue of AKWA.


Where To Find Katy Next: IAFTC 2023 in ORLANDO FL!

Katy is thrilled to announce that AquaFIIT has been chosen to present three workshops at the 2023 International Aquatic Fitness & Therapy Conference in Orlando Florida this May! IAFTC is must attend educational event for the Aquatic Fitness Instructor or Therapist. Some of the best instructors in the world will be presenting and educating and instructors will be able to try and be inspired by some of the best equipment in the industry.

Monday, 4:15-4:45 pm AMCX: 108 Hydrorevolution Experience

  • Hydrorevolution Experience Hydrorevolution AMCX (Demo) Increase your pool’s profits with a total body water workout line. Learn hands on ideas to attract clients of all ages and abilities. All the tools you need for total body functional fitness, enhanced health and wellbeing.

Tuesday, 9:30-11:15 am: Dry Lecture: The Squeaky Wheel

  • How do you build support for aquatic fitness at your pool without being considered a nuisance? With more than 20 years in aquatic management, in addition to the health & wellness industry, Katy has a unique understanding on how to speak with upper management about investing and supporting the aquatic fitness community. Become a stronger team player, learn how to build a formal request, and move past “Us vs. Them” to get better results.

Tuesday, 4:00-5:45 pm: Aquatic Workshop: Deep Water Drills

  • “Aquafy” land-based fitness drills using the properties of water. A collection of different blocks of drills and conditioning work using a variety of aquatic equipment to enhance the results. Each drill is built to target different FITT or HIIT principles and can be used as a stand-alone block of work or structured together for dynamic total body boot camp workout. Discuss buoyancy versus drag equipment, understand EPOC, and learn how to create descriptions to define the class purpose.

Thursday 9:30-11:15 am: Aquatic Workshop: The Power of Ω

  • Deeper understanding on a multi-purpose tool for all levels. AquaFIIT strength training technique features the Aqua Ω as its key training tool. Alternating between cardio, strength, upper and lower body, this one powerful tool is sure to give you a full body drag workout. Learn how to effectively design and implement an aquatic resistance-training program that maximizes results while remaining on budget. Featuring the @aquaohm


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