Advice to Parents
Children mature at different rates. Consequently age group competitions should be enjoyed and success and disappointment kept in perspective.
Remember that young swimmers want desperately to please their parents. It is a negative experience for a youngster to have tried their best only to be criticised.
Youngsters are involved in competitive swimming for THEIR enjoyment.
Be aware of the dangers of competing too much too soon.
Teach your child that being part of a team is enjoyable and will assist personal performance.
Encourage your child to do their best. This will assist them in developing a healthy attitude to winning and loosing.
Recognise the value of a good swimming coach.
Always praise effort. There is nothing wrong with feeling happy about winning and disappointed about loosing. Just keep both in perspective.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tim Jones – Great Britain Youth and Age Group Coach – answers some frequent questions parents ask.
What is the most important result from age group swimming?
Success at senior level!!
- Age group swimming is not a means to an end – it is the start of the process.
- No performance output is expected
- It is the most important stage of athlete development.
- First rung on the ladder, which can reach as high as you can dream.
So, can your child still do well if they are not World Beaters at an early age…
You bet they can
|Athlete:||Won age groups aged:||Went on to achieve:|
|Nick Gillingham||17 years||Olympic Silver Medallist & World record Holder|
|Ian Edmond||16 years||World Championship Silver Medallist|
|Jamie Salter||15 years||European Gold Medallist|
|Adam Ruckwood||15 years||Commonwealth Gold Medallist & Record Holder|
|Gregor Tait||Never||Commonwealth Record Holder|
The Painter and Decorator: Primer – Foundation Skills/Technique. Undercoat – Aerobic Development Gloss – Anaerobic Development/Race Preparation
“If the primer and undercoat have not been applied with care and attention, cracks will soon appear in the gloss”
Who can give me the best advice regarding my child?
- Your Coach/Coaches
- Regional Development Officer (Swim Wales North)
- Coaching Co-ordinators (Swim Wales)
- National Team Staff (Swim Wales)
Should my child specialise at an early age?
- Undertake complimentary activities to enhance long-term development.
- Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) stresses the development of movement literacy (Agility / Balance / Co-ordination)
- Keep an element of FUN in sport
- Follow a broad IM based programme throughout the early years
- Practice starts, turns, streamlining and underwater kicking
Kristina Egerzegi – probably the best female backstroke swimmer the world has ever seen?
- Her coach did not want her to specialize at the age of 12 because it would have hindered development later
- Even in the preceding 6 years, Kristina trained on all four strokes – a sort of medley preparation
- The inclusion of a large amount of medley swimming during her preparation phases eliminated the monotony of training. By doing this, she was also able to preserve her perfect technique.
How should you choose a suitable coach for your child (if there is a
R.A.R = Reputation / Appearance / Results
How do I cope with my child’s success or disappointment?
- Keep your feet on the floor!
- Know your child’s goals – these may change from event to event
- Communicate well – both with your child and their coach
- Be a constant – whilst all around things are changing, you need to be reliable
- Understand… We often learn more from failure than we do from success
How many sessions should my child attend each week?
Stages of LTAD:
|Growth and Development:||Pathway:|
|Childhood – Boys 6 to 9 years, Girls 5 to 8 years||FUNdamental|
|Late Childhood – Boys 9 to 12 years, Girls 8 to 11 years||Swimskills|
|Adolescence – Boys 12 to 15 years, Girls 11 to 14 years||Training to Train|
|Early Adulthood – Boys 15 to 18 years, Girls 14 to 16 years||Training to Compete|
|Adulthood – Boys 18+, Girls 16+||Training to WIN|
|FUNdamental||3 to 6 hours of general sport|
|Swimskills||4 to 7 hours|
|Training to Train||12 to 20 hours|
|Training to Compete||16 to 24 hours|
|Training to WIN||20 to 24 hours|
How should I support my child at competitions?
- Understand your child’s goals
- Be supportive – do not show your disappointment
- Judge your child’s performance in relation to their own standards – do not compare your child with others
- Be a parental role model
- Let the coach, coach!
What hurdles am I going to have to overcome in supporting my child?
- Travel – the so called “Geographical Disadvantages”
- Expense – travel, accommodation, equipment, coaching fees etc
- Nutrition -Putting the right fuel in the engine
- Time Management -managing your life and commitments, spending time with siblings, etc.
- Sleep Deprivation -having to get up very early in the mornings
What is the best thing about being a swimming parent
- The knowledge that your child is pushing the boundaries of their own performance through an extreme physical and mental commitment to themselves.
THIS SHOULD MAKE YOU VERY, VERY PROUD