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spudfin
February 17th, 2008, 11:35 AM
Greetings
OK I am calling on all of you current/former competitors and/or age group coaches and parents. I am the parent of a 13 yo age grouper who is crazy about swimming. In his current season he has gone from a B/A swimmer to a sectional qualifier. He has worked very hard since last September and will swim sectionals in mid March. Here is my question. Should I require that he backs off or stops swimming in the spring and summer just for resting purposes. He is like a young colt that will just keep on swimming if not reigned in. He loves to swim and compete. I worry about burning him out. I want him to still like to swim when he is my age. By the way I have no personal competitive swimming background so all of this is new to me.
Regards
Spudfin

poolraat
February 17th, 2008, 11:41 AM
Have you talked to his coach? And have you discussed this with him? If his main motivation if from within and he's not being pressured by coach, teammates or another adult there shouldn't be any harm in letting continue to swim through the spring and summer after a short break following sectionals.



Greetings
OK I am calling on all of you current/former competitors and/or age group coaches and parents. I am the parent of a 13 yo age grouper who is crazy about swimming. In his current season he has gone from a B/A swimmer to a sectional qualifier. He has worked very hard since last September and will swim sectionals in mid March. Here is my question. Should I require that he backs off or stops swimming in the spring and summer just for resting purposes. He is like a young colt that will just keep on swimming if not reigned in. He loves to swim and compete. I worry about burning him out. I want him to still like to swim when he is my age. By the way I have no personal competitive swimming background so all of this is new to me.
Regards
Spudfin

The Fortress
February 17th, 2008, 11:49 AM
Stop swimming for the spring AND summer? Why on earth would you want to have him do that? If he's enthusiastic and not injured, he should carry on. There's usually a break between the end of the championship season and the start of the summer season. If he's just getting going at 13, I don't see why he'd burn out. I'd worry more about a 9 or 10 year old swimming every day. Most 13 year olds going to sectionals are training pretty hard. That's normal. Good luck to him!

geochuck
February 17th, 2008, 12:10 PM
Make it fun for your child to swim.

We swam all year, summer we would be involved at the pool but would also go out and do open water swimming. We would live our lives as swimmers. Not everything was a coached swim workout.

Winter was hard training but in our club it was also team get togethers. Our coach used to organize lots of social and group activities.

Swimming is not all about training it has to be made into a social event as well. As a team we did things together, hikes to the beach to swim. We went to movies, had team parties, team outings. It made us want to get to the pool to see our friends.

gobears
February 17th, 2008, 12:28 PM
Spudfin, you sound like a refreshingly great swimming parent. You have what some lack which is a long-term perspective. I think if you just assure your swimmer that your goal for him is to have fun and you hang in there with him if he plateaus here and there (which he will if he keeps swimming long enough) he will be fine. I wouldn't limit his swimming but I would make sure he remembers that he needs to be well-rounded. I swam through college and on the National level. I also coached age-groupers for 10 years. I've seen my share of scary swimming parents and burned out swimmers. You sound like one of the parents who'll take their competitive urges to the pool yourself and not live through your kid. Bravo to you!!!

The Fortress
February 17th, 2008, 12:42 PM
Make it fun for your child to swim.

We swam all year, summer we would be involved at the pool but would also go out and do open water swimming. We would live our lives as swimmers. Not everything was a coached swim workout.

Winter was hard training but in our club it was also team get togethers. Our coach used to organize lots of social and group activities.

Swimming is not all about training it has to be made into a social event as well. As a team we did things together, hikes to the beach to swim. We went to movies, had team parties, team outings. It made us want to get to the pool to see our friends.

Most USA club teams have social events and going to meets can be like going to a party. Summer swim leagues are all about the fun.

There are lots of loco swim parents as gobears points out: yelling at their kids about times, having them swim 8x a week at age 12, buying every fastskin imaginable, paying for extra private lessons, etc. Keep it balanced and fun. I have a 13 year too. I try to emphasize that it's a long career.

ande
February 17th, 2008, 01:28 PM
Should I require that he backs off or stops swimming in the spring and summer just for resting purposes?

NO, if he loves swimming take him to practice and meets
if you make him quit, and he wants to swim
he'll hate you more, hold a grudge and select a crappy nursing home for you years from now.

Support but don't push, I had to nudge my son to go to swimming practice
when he started tumbling and cheerleading he'd come get me and say
Dad it's time to take me to practice

My friend Kris Kubik coached Chas Morton in Nashville
From 10 and under on Chas was breaking all kinds of National Records
When Chas was 12 and swimming very fast Kris push him into 2 a day work outs with the older kids.

looking back i wish my parents would have pushed me harder sooner
but maybe if they did I might have rebelled back and quit

the thing that made the biggest difference for me was 16,
when I could drive myself to practice

Ande

quicksilver
February 17th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Greetings
Should I require that he backs off or stops swimming in the spring and summer just for resting purposes. He is like a young colt that will just keep on swimming if not reigned in. He loves to swim and compete. I worry about burning him out.

The sense of achievement and high self-esteem which comes through competing is a great gift for any child...especially teenagers. Finding something that we enjoy pursuing...and doing it well is a reward in itself. If he is really enjoying it...burn out is not a likely scenario.

My 2 cents...

As a parent, your role should be in keeping an eye on workload at school and demands from the team. A youngster may not have the ability to time manage. There are big distractions...like friends, TV, the computer...etc. If he really wants to be in that pool...by all means let him...assuming he can maintain a comfortable balance in all other areas. Burn-out tends to come from being overloaded by more than several sources at once. Not necessarily from the pool.

My 12 year old who shows great potential...yet we don't push her when she's tired...or when she needs to focus on special school assignments. Learning how to manage time is a skill which we'd like her to develop on her own...rather than say "get in the car...it's time for practice." Finding the balance to keep everything together is most important.


The swimming career can be perceived as relatively short (until masters came along). That said...this age is an ideal time to make improvements. If he's as motivated and talented as you described...by senior year of high school, he could be a fine recruit for college swimming....and then some. :)


All the best.

gobears
February 17th, 2008, 03:55 PM
My friend Kris Kubik coached Chas Morton in Nashville
From 10 and under on Chas was breaking all kinds of National Records
When Chas was 12 and swimming very fast Kris push him into 2 a day work outs with the older kids.

looking back i wish my parents would have pushed me harder sooner
but maybe if they did I might have rebelled back and quitThe difference here is that the coach pushed Chas to two-a-days at 12 and not his parents. That is a coach's job--to know when to push and when to back off. I have seen very few truly successful and happy elite level swimmers who were pushed there by their parents. Funny enough, the best swimming parents (and most low-key) are often ex-swimmers who understand this. The pushiest and most obnoxious parents are very often those who never swam and know little about the sport in the first place (and, of course, consider themselves experts after watching a week's worth of practices...)

dorothyrde
February 17th, 2008, 04:45 PM
After Sectionals he should take a 2-3 week break, and usually the team he swims with has this in their trianing plan. Then he should start back in for the long course season, and again his team will probably start out a bit slower because everyone has had a break, and then train with summer Sectionals being the end goal, then again, a 2-3 week break, before fall starts. He should take these breaks and not swim through them, but taking the whole summer off would not be wise.

Talk to his coach, he/she knows him much better than any of us!

spudfin
February 17th, 2008, 09:49 PM
Greetings
Once again I am impressed by the knowledge present in this forum. I appreciate all the great input. My sense when I wrote the question was that I would try to talk him into a 2 or 3 week break to just relax and have some fun away from the pool. That seems to be what I am hearing from you all who have been through this. I honestly don't know if he will want to be away from it that long. The social connection he has with his team is really strong. Guess we will give it a try. I can't say enough about the positive influence this sport is having on my sons development as a young man, student, athlete etc. Swimming has become a great context for his success as he goes on in life. We are lucky to have him involved.
Regards
Spudfin

ourswimmer
February 17th, 2008, 11:38 PM
Greetings
My sense when I wrote the question was that I would try to talk him into a 2 or 3 week break to just relax and have some fun away from the pool. That seems to be what I am hearing from you all who have been through this. I honestly don't know if he will want to be away from it that long. The social connection he has with his team is really strong.

I think one way you'll gauge whether or not his coach and his group are likely to be good for him in the long term is whether or not you have to talk him into it. If your son's coach has your son's and his peers' best interest in mind, the coach will encourage them all to periodize their training, and they will all do it because it's part of the program. If the team is taking a break, meaning less swimming or no swimming, he'll take a break. When I was growing up it wasn't an option to "swim through," because we just didn't have practice (or didn't have doubles) some times of the year.

dorothyrde
February 18th, 2008, 05:29 AM
Agreed with the above post. The team should be taking a break, and the coach should be encouraging it. My son did not take a long enough break at age 14, and regretted it later.