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ande
August 30th, 2005, 11:26 AM
since many of us are parents I thought some would find this interesting and worth discussing

ande

Keeping Kids Motivated in Sports

http://www.familyfirst.net/parenting/sportsmotivation.asp

newmastersswimmer
August 30th, 2005, 01:38 PM
Thanks for posting that article Ande. I've heard from multiple sources that there is a severe problem these days with kids and inactivity/obesity. I think a lot of it has to do with poor quality fast food choices and playing video games IMHO of course. I admit that I myself have spent hours upon hours playing video games like World Cup Soccer and All Madden Football...so I don't want to come off as a hypocrit. I just think that a lot of the satisfaction that we normally associate with competitive sports can be simulated in these video games (that now have very realistic graphics).....As far as basketball goes, I can do things in a basketball video game that I could never possibly do in real life....Like a 360 degree slam dunk to finish off a fast break...etc....all the while chomping down tons of patato chips and other garbage foods as I perform these amazing video moves. Video games can be as competitive as real life sports too.....so that the dopamine levels in the brain can be as elevated (or higher) from kicking butt in these games as kicking butt in real life sports. I know the article you left the link for doesn't go into this particular topic exactly.....but nonetheless, I think it is part of the problem.

Another problem (I've heard) has to do with the fact that Physical Education in the schools is suffering severe budget related cutbacks these days (along with other programs like music and art). What happen to W's no child left behind philosophy there?


Newmastersswimmer

Bob McAdams
August 30th, 2005, 02:27 PM
I suspect that the most significant statement for swimming may be:

"If children are practicing a few hours a day at the pressure of their parents or coach, they will most likely grow to resent the sport. Parents should make sure the sport is not dominating the free time of the child - they need to make sure he or she has time to thoroughly do homework, to spend time with family, to play with friends and to enjoy other pursuits."

I've heard parents complain about the grueling training schedules their kids are subjected to as swimmers. One father recalled his own training schedule as a football player, but noted that "at least the football season ended." His 9-year-old son's swimming schedule, on the other hand, continued through the entire year.

I know of a kid who didn't join his high school swim team because the coach wouldn't let kids swim at meets if they hadn't been to practices, and his activity schedule made it impossible to attend every practice. In the end, so few kids joined the team that there weren't enough swimmers to fill all of the events, so the policy was bad for both the team and for the individual swimmers who were excluded by it.


Bob

newmastersswimmer
August 30th, 2005, 06:39 PM
I would like to expand on the first part of that first paragraph a bit.....about parents and coaches that put excessive pressure on kids to succeed and push them to spend long hours training at an early age....I have seen first hand growing up the bad side effects of this kinda thing (as I'm sure many of y'all have experienced or witnessed this growing up as well?). I remember that we use to train twice a day 6 days a week growing up as an agegrouper....and during the summers we would sometimes swim as much as 20,000 meters in a single day.....I also recall parents that balled thier children out in front of other people at swim meets if they thought that thier kids had a sub par performance. I always hated seeing that kinda thing. One thing I am grateful for is that my parents never became that involved in my personal swimming related life. Sure they were there to support me at many swim meets growing up (and even came to some meets while I was in college)...but they never pressured me to meet any specific criteria in relation to my swimming....In fact they were so detached from the technical specifics of my swimming that I could tell them I went a :37 in a 100 free or that I went a 1:15 in a 100 free at a meet (by high school that is) and they wouldn't know the difference....they would just say something like....Was that a good time for you?....Are you happy with that performance?....etc...I personally preferred it that way over the other alternative which I had to witness so often growing up....when a parent becomes way too involved in thier kid's sporting activities.

Newmastersswimmer

dorothyrde
August 31st, 2005, 07:06 AM
Since I coach my daughters rec softball team in the summer, I get the fun of dealing with this. I had two parents this summer who were bad, and the thing is, they love their children, I know they do. But if they could only see what they are doing. One little 12 year old was crying to my daughter after one practice(Dad came to practice and constantly hollered at her), and said, He wants me to play and be great, I just want to be fun, can your Mom help me?". It broke my heart. I tried my best, but he did not see what he was doing, was not a bad person. I finally a couple times during the game when he was yapping at her, would turn to him with a smile and say, shhhhhh. It seemed to help a little.

I have also seen this countless time in swimming.

But also, I have a son who quit swimming last year at 16. Why? Because his interests have changed, and he really truly was resenting the time it was taking from his other interests. We don't have a High School team, so that comraderary was not there, and while his friends on team were close, his HS friends were closer. Plus, in Illinois you cannot swim club during HS, so the boys all left in November and did not come back until end of February. It was a great time of soul searching for him, and was very, very hard to make the decision. But it was the right decision. He has been a much happier kid all summer, was able to get a job, and do some of things he wanted to do, instead up at the crack of dawn to swim, and then back at night to swim, all summer long.

tuck
August 31st, 2005, 12:01 PM
I really try to listen to my kids, and ask myself and them. ( Are they getting what they want from the sport ? ) My ten year old is consistantly at the bottom third in all her meets, and can get real down about her performances sometimes, and hey so do I. But she bounces back and says she misses the balck line ( she's a swimmer ) when she's off between Long and Short Course seasons. So I just listen and support her take her to practices and meets and try not to push too much when she needs a rest.
I only insist both my girls stay active, and given the choice of running and swimming, swimming wins hands down. But she has already informed me that next year she wants to do less and spend more time with friends

Matt S
August 31st, 2005, 11:34 PM
At the risk of being tiresome, let me ask this question again. We all assume that to be world class by late teen years a swimmer has to be national caliber and swimming 2 a day workouts year round by age nine. Can anyone show me statistically valid evidence that is the case?

Hey, talent is talent: Rowdy Gains. Ed Moses. I have a sneaking suspicion that Olympic swimmers would still be Olympic swimmers regarless of whether they started getting serious at age 7 or age 13. I also have a sneaking suspicion that those of us who think our kid is going to be "great" if they get serious at age 7 or 8 may all be kidding ourselves. How would that change our approach to age group swimming if it were true?

Lastly, even if getting serious at a young age does make for better swimmers by the time they reach their late teens, is it necessary for every kid to have the same dream? Is our sport healthier by hyperfocusing on the Olympic Games, or perhaps would it be better to treat 8 & under swimming as a complete and worthy in its own terms? I often think there should be room in age group swimming for programs that have the mindset of Little League (no, not the year-round, all-star, "select," "traveling," faux teams that get all the TV coverage in the "Little League World Series" abomination, but the neighborhood collection of any ole' kids who come together for a couple-three months to have a little fun and learn a little baseball, and who cares whether there are ANY future major leaguers in the whole darn league.)

Just my thoughts, for what they are worth.

Matt

dorothyrde
September 1st, 2005, 06:39 AM
One reason I had so much fun coaching a group of Juniour High girls in softball this summer is because the league was exactly what you described. A fun, easy league with rules that every child played equal time, got to try whatever position they wanted even if they were not good at it(just tried to teach them). It was very relaxed and fun. There is another league that is not. Some of my girls were good enough to play on that team, they chose not to.

It is not just parents who think kids need to be in the water at an early age, it is coaches to.

cinc3100
September 3rd, 2005, 01:28 AM
I agree with you there. There are dozens of male swimmers that started in high school that made nationals. I think most males are about two years behind female swimmers in development. I think that female swimmers have it more difficult since you don't make nationals by age 15, you are not going to be the next Katie Hoff. Granted, there are more late starters making it big in the women's category than in the past. Also, parents can push hard kids that don't even make nationals. I know because my father did that.

clyde hedlund
September 3rd, 2005, 06:53 AM
When it comes to kid's sports, remember the rule of thumb for practices and training: anything over one hour is counter productive. clyde

dorothyrde
September 3rd, 2005, 08:15 AM
Originally posted by cinc310
I agree with you there. There are dozens of male swimmers that started in high school that made nationals. I think most males are about two years behind female swimmers in development. I think that female swimmers have it more difficult since you don't make nationals by age 15, you are not going to be the next Katie Hoff. Granted, there are more late starters making it big in the women's category than in the past. Also, parents can push hard kids that don't even make nationals. I know because my father did that.

I am learning so much from my daughter. At 12, she is just now passing my times.......so she is no speed demon. But she swims because she loves her friends, because she loves being in the water, because I want her to have a form of exercise that she likes. I do think goals are important for kids of any speed, it helps make it fun as long as it is their goals. Last winter my husband took her to a session of one of those long 3 day meets, so I could get some rest. About mid morning I get a phone call.....Mom, what is your 100 free time?....I tell her........<laugh of glee> Oh Mom, I busted that time, here is what else I am swimming, what are your times in those?

And we played that game the rest of the year. I swam the 200 in March, and tried my best to beat her 200 free time, and had bad turns, and did not, which tickled her further. I know, she will totally zoom by me this year, but it sure has been fun for some laughs and we have enjoyed it.

cinc3100
September 3rd, 2005, 10:27 PM
Will I agree. Most of us middle aged women swim times that are close to the 11-12 age group.

dorothyrde
September 4th, 2005, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by cinc310
Will I agree. Most of us middle aged women swim times that are close to the 11-12 age group.

Shoot, I think I belong in the 10 and under group! And a lot of them smoke me.

gull
September 4th, 2005, 10:54 AM
Originally posted by Matt S
I often think there should be room in age group swimming for programs that have the mindset of Little League (no, not the year-round, all-star, "select," "traveling," faux teams that get all the TV coverage in the "Little League World Series" abomination, but the neighborhood collection of any ole' kids who come together for a couple-three months to have a little fun and learn a little baseball, and who cares whether there are ANY future major leaguers in the whole darn league.)

Unfortunately, I don't believe that exists anymore in Little League, and the parents are to blame. Even the new director of the basketball league at our YMCA was putting together an "all star" team until the CEO (a retired Marine Corps general) put a stop to it.

It's a fine line we walk when we try to be encouraging but not pushy. My daughter returned to competitive swimming two years ago at age 12 (she'd taken a year off when her best friend on the team moved away) after watching me swim in my first Masters meet. My only stipulation is that she be committed to whatever activities she chooses to participate in. She enjoys travelling to meets, but understands that these trips won't happen if she doesn't attend the workouts. On days when she doesn't feel like swimming or has a conflict (an invitation to a movie, etc.), we force her to make the decision for herself. The result? Last week she decided on her own to get in some extra running to augment her team's dryland program. Will she continue to swim through high school? That remains to be seen. In the end, it has to be her decision.

cinc3100
September 7th, 2005, 12:05 AM
I know the feeling. Even when I was near my prime in my teens. There was some 10 year old that could beat me and they were smaller. I remember one time I workout with an AAU track team. The little kids were great shape to do a cross country. But I could out sprint them. Running unlike swimming means that little kids couldn't beat you as well.