Waterskiing can be one of the best ways to have fun for you and your family. If you have been a part of this activity very long at all, you know the thrill and excitement it provides. You may also want to share this with your kids. But how, exactly, do you teach your children to waterski?
Start Training on Land First
Teach your child to balance using the ball of their foot for maximum stability. Make sure they are always wearing their life vest when practicing on land, even though they will probably think this is silly. Ensure that the vest fits properly and that they know how to adjust it so it is snug yet comfortable and won't cause irritation.
Move to Shallow Water
After learning the basics of water safety and how to stand on land, it's time for a few trial runs in shallow water. It is important to emphasize that this is fun. If your child wants to skip this step and head straight for deep water remind them that they will have more fun in the long run once they have mastered the basics. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your child is still afraid of the water, this is where having another adult can come in handy.
For this step of the training, one adult will stand on the shore while another adult stays with the child in the shallow water. This water should be no more than waist high. Instruct your child in the proper stance and have them bend their knees and hold his/her arms out straight and grip the handle tight. Then when they are ready, have your child signal "Go!" to the adult on shore and have them run and pull your child from the shallow water to the shoreline. After a couple times doing this, the adult on shore should let go of the rope after building up some momentum and let the child float onto the shore. This will help build balance, proper form, and confidence in your child.
At this point, it is a good idea to use a training tool such as inflatable water skis. One good option is the EZ Ski Trainer. This device is designed for small children under 70 pounds. It is engineered for stability while being towed and even has an inflatable seat for your child to sit on while they are getting used to being out on the water. For older children, the Big EZ Ski provides the same benefits for beginning waterskiers but is made for children up to 120 pounds. After you have made sure that your child is comfortable with balancing as well as keeping the line straight between their feet as they are being towed, you are ready for the next step.
Going to the Deep End
At this point, your child is ready to go out for their first official waterski run! It is important to ensure that your child knows they are in full control of the situation the whole time. It would be best to go over some hand signals with them, such as patting their head to return to shore, thumbs up for faster and thumbs down for slower. Let him/her know that you will be there for them and watch out for them at all times so there is nothing to be afraid of.
Once the driver of the boat is ready, hand tow the rope to your child and hold your end taught. Make certain that the line is straight between the boat, you, and your child's center position. Instruct your child to bend their knees in the beginning and stand up quickly once the boat picks up speed. Tell them to keep the front of the skis out of the water by leaning back a little once the boat has sped up. Once he/she has braced themselves and give their signal, then they are ready to go.
The driver of the boat should start out slowly until the line goes taught. Maintain a comfortable/slow speed and watch for any signs that your child is giving that would indicate they need to stop. When the child lets you know they are ready for a break, let go of the line and then circle around in the boat and pick them up. For most children, this will be the part where they tell you how much fun it was and to go again!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Let your child know that like everything in life, waterskiing will take some time to master. Don't let them get discouraged if they fell or didn't get everything right the first few times. Give them plenty of praise for having the courage to try something new and challenging. In no time, they will be begging you to take them out on the water again, leading to many fun memories for you to share.