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The Fortress
December 8th, 2006, 11:20 PM
Is swimming "eating its young?" Are they being burned out with mindless yardage? Do they have to do volume training for long events? Are we missing masters swimmers who were burned out as youths? As to the kids, what can we do to stop the cannabalism?

Warren
December 9th, 2006, 02:53 AM
to be honest, most age group coaches have no idea what is going on. They train their little kids for the now and forget about the future.

m2tall2
December 9th, 2006, 08:21 AM
to be honest, most age group coaches have no idea what is going on. They train their little kids for the now and forget about the future.

And then they kick you out when you are 18 saying go swim in college, or have a nice life. It seems like if you haven't "made it" or about to make it by the time you are 18 you aren't going to "get anywhere" with swimming. I was never taught you should work out for at least a half hour a day for the rest of your life, might as well keep up the swimming since you like it.
My sister, who was an excellent age grouper was totally burnt by the time she made it to college and decided it was time to focus on school because it was clear by what she had been taught that she could not get any further with her swimming. She was lucky enough to go to a school that had a masters program in addition to their varsity program so she ended up coaching and swimming a little bit. But I think if it wasn't for the do or die approach both her and I could have broken that barrier in college and been able to swim at a national rather than regional level.
There's a misconception that you can't have a breakthrough and peak when you are 20, 22, 25, etc. Looking back I think I could have. I wasn't fully developed until I was 21. How are you supposed to be at your best when your body hasn't even peaked yet?
And if you aren't going to that level you're pretty much tossed to the wolves and have no idea what the options are for continued swimming purely for fun.

The good news for me is I've found my way back and it only took 4 years. :agree:
AND my sister is going to make a cross state expedition with her 3 month old to watch my swim meet next week. There's no way she will be able to watch and not get charged about swimming again. I think she secretly knows this about herself and thinks this will help motivate her.

I feel like the more I talk about it, the more I get former swimmers interested and involved. I think it's just a lack of realizing the opportunity.

CreamPuff
December 9th, 2006, 08:48 AM
Is swimming "eating its young?" Are they being burned out with mindless yardage? Do they have to do volume training for long events? Are we missing masters swimmers who were burned out as youths? As to the kids, what can we do to stop the cannabalism?

Oh my!

Depends on the program and club/ coach mentality. I feel there are some clubs out there who "get it."

I got burnt out bad by 18. Dropped it for 12 years and have now been back with it for 5 years - hopefully to stay. As an age grouper I was not even at the highest level offered. A lot of my friends that were at the highest level did sets like 5000 fly for time (I am not kidding) and doing doubles at 13 years old. They had success for a short time, and they now tell me about their (multiple) shoulder surgeries as adults. This was in the eighties.

I think that had I swam college, I would not be swimming masters now - I'd be either mentally burned out or physically "roached." I believe Auburn trains their kids around 20K a day at times. Holy cow! One of their top swimmers graduated and moved to another program that does lots less yardage (5K a day) - and actually dropped time across the board in all his events.

It's funny how you carry your training habits with you as an adult. I was so used to doing 8000 yds a day, 6 days a week, that any practice now that's under 5000 seems like a warm up. I'm trying to get used to less yardage so that I can ENJOY THIS SPORT MORE!:frustrated:

I'm very impressed with SwimAtlanta's mentality with their age groupers - no doubles (at least during the school year.) This is regardless of age or level. And they still continue to turn out top swimmers.

CreamPuff
December 9th, 2006, 08:56 AM
Is swimming "eating its young?" As to the kids, what can we do to stop the cannabalism?

And on this question - I support the clubs that do have it right. I know there are some out there that exist. My parents would always ask the question, "Is this reasonable?" For my family, 5 hours of training a day and 5000 yd fly sets were not reasonable.

:blah:

islandsox
December 9th, 2006, 09:04 AM
This is an important topic. It could be a couple of things like: those parents and those coaches who have Type A personalities; you know, excel, excel, excel in both sports and academics. Many parents do live through their children when their children are inclined to be "great." And many coaches may put children through volumes of yardage so they don't have to spend as much time "coaching." Or, because they were put through the paces when they were swimmers and it is either: payback, or the thought that this is the way it is done. But I don't consider those types of people coaches. They are drill sargents.

All of us here know that coaching is a delicate balance between bettering a person physically and emotionally and knowing and seeing the differences along the way. I think that most parents who are not Type A personalities will recognize when their children have had too much for them. Our kids' body language can say a whole lot.

Also, I am not sure if a lot of age group swimmers did get burned out. I, at least, have never met any but I do hear about this through others. I also wonder if maybe they just became passionate about some other things especially as they entered adulthood and found that life IS a bowl of cherries but their interests have changed.

But if more swimmers are getting burned out and giving up the sport, then it may be that the pool time was way too much, and they did not think it was going to be worthwhile because their personal journey to "greatness" (whatever that may mean) seemed unreachable.

Just my thoughts, no facts here.

Donna

dorothyrde
December 9th, 2006, 09:59 AM
My son quit because of burn-out, and the things Donna points out. At 16, he wanted to spend more time with friends, who because our school has no swim team were not swimmers. He said he was very, very tired of going to practice every day, and wanted to do other things. He had been swimming since he was 8. He also said there was no where to take it after high school. The schools he was interested in attending had no men's teams because they had been cut long ago. The things that had been motivating, such as making Nationals, and such, no longer were important to him. It was hard for him to make the decision, but we pointed out that it is always there, if he found out he missed it he could go back. And since he is a late grower, he would probably find he was stronger with growth.

At 18, he has not gone back, except to be a life guard. I asked him last summer if he missed it at all. He said he misses competing, and his swim team friends, but he does not miss going to practice at all.

My daughter is 13, and not at a very high level at all. She was angry when he quit, because she saw it as such a waste, he was the one that won all the medals and such, and he was throwing that away. She has gotten over that, and actually is starting to struggle with the same thing. Her friends at school are not swimmers. Next year when she goes to High School, and her swim team friends have high school teams, it may change and she will not want to swim. I already know she will not even have time to swim until November because she will be in marching band, and in drama, and the fall play takes a lot of time. Then the band and chorus is going to Hawaii in December, so there will be lots of additional practices. If the swimming were local, it would not be as hard to fit in, but fitting the driving time in as well, is going to make it real hard for her to stick with it.

So with her, I have been trying to sell the fitness swimmer aspect. Maybe she will not be highly competitive, but she can get in and swim, keep in touch with her swim friends, but not swim as many days as it takes to achieve at a higher level. She actually really enjoys swimming practice more than meets, so she is different than my son, who swam practice for the meets.

She also likes to swim with me(and beat me), and likes the idea of being on a Masters relay some day with me.

Caped Crusader
December 9th, 2006, 10:51 AM
to be honest, most age group coaches have no idea what is going on. They train their little kids for the now and forget about the future.

This is probably right, unfortunately. But I do know good age group coaches too. I think the parents might need to step in a bit here. My daughter starting swimming relatively late at 8 with a summer swim league. I only let her practice with her USS 2x a week for 1 hour until she turned 11. Then I let her go 3x a week. She was also playing other sports, which I understand help create/build an all around better athlete. She did quite well. Swimming 2x a week she went to the Eastern Zone Championships in NJ. I say this not to brag -- although she is a totally rocking swimmer chick and so bursting with enthusiasm and passion that it would mitigate some of Terry's concerns about burnout and "hamburgers" -- but to show what can be done on low yardage. She swims more now, and I do worry that burnout is possible. But she swims a lot less yardage than her peers who are doing 400 IMs at age 12.

My wife swam in college but did not enjoy it. She was burned out and hated her "conventional" coach. I did not swim. But I sure like it now.

dorothyrde
December 9th, 2006, 11:31 AM
I would be interested to hear how your daughter is doing at age 13-14. My observations is that this is the most difficult time for girls, and when the drop out is highest. Their bodies change so much, and there is a lot of things for them to deal with.

The Fortress
December 9th, 2006, 11:52 AM
This is probably right, unfortunately. But I do know good age group coaches too. I think the parents might need to step in a bit here. My daughter starting swimming relatively late at 8 with a summer swim league. I only let her practice with her USS 2x a week for 1 hour until she turned 11. Then I let her go 3x a week. She was also playing other sports, which I understand help create/build an all around better athlete. She did quite well. Swimming 2x a week she went to the Eastern Zone Championships in NJ. I say this not to brag -- although she is a totally rocking swimmer chick and so bursting with enthusiasm and passion that it would mitigate some of Terry's concerns about burnout and "hamburgers" -- but to show what can be done on low yardage. She swims more now, and I do worry that burnout is possible. But she swims a lot less yardage than her peers who are doing 400 IMs at age 12.

My wife swam in college but did not enjoy it. She was burned out and hated her "conventional" coach. I did not swim. But I sure like it now.


Some guy:

Since the other post we were conversing on was closed, I just wanted to tell you that my daughter did not kick my butt in the 50 fly. :groovy: Ha, ha, ha. I might still have one year left. However, she is now 5 seconds ahead of me in the 50 breast. Natch. But I love watching her! I sounds like your daughter is already kicking your butt. :yawn:

ljlete
December 9th, 2006, 12:39 PM
Some Guy,

I have a few beliefs that I think are important here. In no particular order:

1) Children should progress with children of their same age. A fast 12 year old should not train with 17 and 18 year olds no matter how fast he/she is. Maturity level of the swimmers needs to be the same and the coach should not have to try to speak to multiple levels of age appropriate intellects.

2) Children up to about the age of 10 to 12 should do more than one sport even if one is done more than the other. you don't know what they will really like or what they will excel at later in life.

3) The amount of time spent on any give sport/hobby/interest (music included) should be age appropriate. No 8 year old should be doing any one thing (non-school) more than 2 or 3 hours a week including travel time. The time can increase with age as interest increases but it has to be appropriate for the maturity of the mind and body. Freshman in high school should not be doing doubles during the school year. Juniors might do it once or twice. Seniors twice a week. On the mental side, this is important because too many kids will begin to measure themselves by what they do with this time (in this case we are talking swimming) and they need to be more than single dimensional people.

4) Parents need to look at this before they join a swim team if they have more than one option. In any case, they need to let the team know that this is what they believe up front so that there are no surprises later.

I believe that much of what I said above is consistent with the teaching of both USA Swimming and the American Swim Coaches Association. Many coaches choose to ignore this or forget it so they have to be reminded.

My wife coached in St Louis for 21 years before we moved this summer. She coached the youngest kids in a series of groups whose goal was to take someone who could swim the length safely and have them swim a legal 100 IM. The team is large - 500 kids - and her groups probably totaled 100+. The kids ranged, generally, from 5 to 11 with the bulk being in the 6 to 9 range. She would come home on occasion with stories of parents who wanted to have their kid swim more than the twice a week that was available. (The practices were 30 minutes long for the youngest to 45 minutes for the oldest groups and they were segregated by age.) Kids could move out of the group when they made the 100 IM and they were old enough (7?) but the amount of practice time did not triple when they did (more was offered for convenience sake but you were not expected to come to all practices). I tell you this so that you know that there are programs out there that do it right. We lost kids to other teams because of this. For example, a couple of parents wanted all of their kids (age range of maybe 5 years) swimming together at the same time. The team was unwilling to do that. So they were gone. No great loss since we had hundreds more who saw that the program worked and it got to the point that we were running out of room at the top (skill/age) end of the team.

Leo

knelson
December 9th, 2006, 02:04 PM
I think any large USA Swimming team should have two different tracks for swimmers. An elite track for those striving for a scholarship to an NCAA Division I program, Olympic Trials cuts, etc. and another for kids who enjoy competitive swimming but don't want to spend every waking moment either in the pool or in school. It seems like a lot of coaches have strict policies about attendance and training that end up turning lots of kids away. There should always be a place for those who want to really sacrifice for the sport, but does every swimmer need to do this?

Allen Stark
December 9th, 2006, 04:52 PM
There is a great article in the current ASCA magazine about training high school only swimmers. It advises making the feel like swimmers and make them feel they belong. Teach them starts and turns and technique. Don't worry about conditioning as the will get that working on those things. The author says that then some will want to make the jump to the USS team. rowdy Gaines and Ed Moses came to swimming at HS age and did well.

aquageek
December 9th, 2006, 05:05 PM
And then they kick you out when you are 18 saying go swim in college, or have a nice life. It seems like if you haven't "made it" or about to make it by the time you are 18 you aren't going to "get anywhere" with swimming.

This is not unique to swimming. In fact, swimming is one of the few sports where you can compete on a high level with the elite until you are 18. By age 12 or 13 in basketball and football and perhaps a bit later in baseball you are either on the elite/select/varsity team or playing with the other scrubs in some local rec league. In pretty much all sports the big age of decision on committment is around 14/15. Plus, the number of teams dwindles as you get on in your teen years so naturally only the better kids will stay around. The nice thing about swimming is there are still a ton of teams for kids even if they aren't elite, but can still train with some darn good swimmers until the college years.

We can all cite an example here and there of some kids who made the jump at age 17 but the vast majority aren't going to do that in any sport, period.

Sam Perry
December 9th, 2006, 05:59 PM
Geek,

LOVE the avatar. "You got a pretty mouth..."

anita
December 9th, 2006, 07:56 PM
99% of the people I grew up with in youth swimming burned out and quit at 18. A handful stayed through college and one still does masters and running. I'm back at it after leaving at 18, but it took 22 years.

Hockey season in San Diego can run all year almost since we have the opportunity to play roller hockey. Each season I ask my son if he wants to keep going. After each practice AND game I ask if he had fun. And he's a serious travel hockey player. You can have fun and be competitive and successful.

Aside from the other points people have brought up, it's also important to remember to have some element of FUN. Swimming 1000's of yardage a day 6 days/week plus meets does NOT equal Fun. A balance has to be struck to keep that mental edge and want to jump in that cold pool each day.

The Fortress
December 9th, 2006, 09:22 PM
1) Children should progress with children of their same age. A fast 12 year old should not train with 17 and 18 year olds no matter how fast he/she is. Maturity level of the swimmers needs to be the same and the coach should not have to try to speak to multiple levels of age appropriate intellects.

2) Children up to about the age of 10 to 12 should do more than one sport even if one is done more than the other. you don't know what they will really like or what they will excel at later in life.

3) The amount of time spent on any give sport/hobby/interest (music included) should be age appropriate. No 8 year old should be doing any one thing (non-school) more than 2 or 3 hours a week including travel time. The time can increase with age as interest increases but it has to be appropriate for the maturity of the mind and body. Freshman in high school should not be doing doubles during the school year. Juniors might do it once or twice. Seniors twice a week. On the mental side, this is important because too many kids will begin to measure themselves by what they do with this time (in this case we are talking swimming) and they need to be more than single dimensional people.

4) Parents need to look at this before they join a swim team if they have more than one option. In any case, they need to let the team know that this is what they believe up front so that there are no surprises later.
Leo

Leo:

Great post. Excellent, excellent advice. I chose my kids' team for all the reasons you articulated, although my daughter does swim with some older kids -- but not 17 year olds. I would also add that I think summer swim leagues are fabulous. It is more of a team sport. It is very low key. People do silly cheers and have meet "themes." Parents embarass themselves by swimming old codger relays one night. It is a nice break from high intensity youth meets and long course summer training. My kids love their summer team. I wouldn't let me daughter swim long course until this year. I remember when I started it, I hated it. I wanted her to wait a bit before embarking on that long haul. It's clearly in her future. But there's no reason the future has to start so very young.

All:

I wonder if personality play a role in burnout? I have an evolving theory that I have been studying and mulling over. No one, of course, has to agree with it. In my experience, and only my personal experience, I have found many (not saying most here) young elite swimmers are somewhat introspective perfectionists who prefer individual sports and are very intense and hard on themselves. (I was like that as an age grouper.) I am beginning to wonder whether this particular personality type may risk burnout more than others when it is combined with high yardage and (possible) injury. I read an article in Splash magazine about Whitney Myers. She is a bubbly, chatty extrovert. Kate Zeigler is the same way. I know some other age groupers just like that who view swim meets as parties, smile the whole time and don't sob or pout or chastise themselves when they don't do a personal best. I wonder if that type of personality is perhaps not as apt to burn out? Just a thought. Obviously, lots of intense types do equally well and don't burn out. And you need intensity and focus as you get older. I just wonder whether intensity + intense yardage might = earlier burnout.

The Fortress
December 10th, 2006, 12:00 AM
In pretty much all sports the big age of decision on committment is around 14/15.

Geek:

Is this really true in NC? That's too old here. Unfortunately, people have to specialize earlier because of the insane practices schedules inflicted on elite atheltes. You know which sport I speak of in particular. Around here, every single sport has become a year round sport. There are no longer any seasonable sports except football. None left.

And is that a real picture of you? Did you post it to rebut that Speedo-man picture that Gull keeps posting? Why, you're quite handsome and you look very mindful. Your picture seems at odds, though, with your reputation for the well-placed zing. Now, I don't know if the avatar is quite up to Richjb's former bum avatar, "but" he's ditched is and you're is really, really good. :applaud: Are you playing a guitar?

poolraat
December 10th, 2006, 01:32 AM
And is that a real picture of you?

Do you remember the movie "Deliverance"? I think it's from the 70's.

Shadowvcd
December 10th, 2006, 01:49 AM
Why, you're quite handsome and you look very mindful.
:applaud: Are you playing a guitar?


Think dueling banjos Fortress. You may not live this one down.:laugh2:

dorothyrde
December 10th, 2006, 07:33 AM
Geek:

Is this really true in NC? That's too old here. Unfortunately, people have to specialize earlier because of the insane practices schedules inflicted on elite atheltes. You know which sport I speak of in particular. Around here, every single sport has become a year round sport. There are no longer any seasonable sports except football. None left. ?

Same here, everything is year round if your child has to "excel". One thing I am thankful about. In my town they started a recreational softball league that is different than the uber competitive league. My daughter loves to play, but does not have a competitive bone in her body. I coach her team, and it is so much fun. The girls all are there to have fun. There is not tears over bad plays(except from me, ha), there is total support for their team mates.


Geek:
And is that a real picture of you? Did you post it to rebut that Speedo-man picture that Gull keeps posting? Why, you're quite handsome and you look very mindful. Your picture seems at odds, though, with your reputation for the well-placed zing. Now, I don't know if the avatar is quite up to Richjb's former bum avatar, "but" he's ditched is and you're is really, really good. :applaud: Are you playing a guitar?
Apparently you have not seen Delivery!


I am not sure that swimming is any worse than it used to be. I think that kids have more year round opportunities at a younger age. In our town, the swimmers usually leave around Junior High age because that is when there are more school sports. School sports in High School are fun, get more attention from the press, the club teams do not. Usually the athletes who play the club sports(in any sport), are the ones who excel.

ljlete
December 10th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Fortress,

I agree with your summer league comments. My wife ran one in St Louis for 21 years. The team grew from about 100 to where they capped it at 200. There were a few things that were key themes for her. The kids learned to swim the strokes, everyone participated, there were other things that were fun during the summer that you did with the team - parties etc. She also got the older kids to come in and help with the younger kids which really helped build a sense of team. With this true sense of team she was able to keep a great number of kids until they graduated from High School. She also was a major reason the club stayed opened when many of the other ones were being turned into homes.

It was also interesting to see how others reacted to the team. The team she coached only lost 4 or 5 meets while she was there - having 6 and unders who can do all 4 strokes legally really helps - and more than once someone came to the league meeting with a plan to split the team or kick them out because of the success. We heard people complaining about the fact that she was a "professional" coach. The bottom line though was that these kids kept coming back because they had fun and enjoyed the team.

Leo

The Fortress
December 10th, 2006, 10:42 AM
Think dueling banjos Fortress. You may not live this one down.:laugh2:

I read books. I don't watch TV much. I'm trying to keep up with LBJ and Frank Thompson in the encyclopedia department. Now, however, you've wrecked my nice new image of Geek and I will have to continue thinking of him as Speedo-Man....

dorothyrde
December 10th, 2006, 10:44 AM
That movie is old.....I think I was in HS when it came out.

The Fortress
December 10th, 2006, 10:45 AM
That movie is old.....I think I was in HS when it came out.

See, I was too busy doing doubles in high school and stressing out my shoulder to be watching R rated movies...

dorothyrde
December 10th, 2006, 10:54 AM
See, I was too busy doing doubles in high school and stressing out my shoulder to be watching R rated movies...


:laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:

hofffam
December 10th, 2006, 04:34 PM
I think there are many examples of good and bad youth coaches. In Austin TX my kids have swum for three different club teams and our worst experience is with the one everyone associates with Austin. It was shocking how little coaching our kids got. My kids are solid but not elite swimmers. One coach (no longer there) gave my son's team a 75x100 set and left the deck for the duration of the set. 5700 pull was another. Absolutely ridiculous.

Many of the stars of this particular team are imports whose parents do not live with their kids. The talent was developed elsewhere. They come here to swim with the fastest. My kids don't swim there anymore. I won't recommend that team to anyone unless they already have AAAA times ore are close to Trials cuts.

What disappoints me about so many youth coaches is that they coach like they were coached 20 years ago. They have so little knowledge of physiology. They don't spend enough time on technique - just yardage.

My HS freshman swims HS in the mornings 5x, then club 4x in the afternoons. His HS practices are fairly sloppy and not particularly hard. We're monitoring his fatigue level closely and at all times his grades are prioritized above swimming.

Glenn
December 10th, 2006, 07:22 PM
This post has really made me sad. The emphasis today on organized sports is way off base. What I don't see today is kids just playing for the sake of having fun. When we were kids, we would come home after school and "go out and play". I loved playing softball as a kid. We would play for hours without adults, referees, umpires. We played a game of baseball/stickball sometimes with just two people, a pitcher and batter. We played it in the school playground between two three storey brick buildings of the school. A single was below the line on the wall, a double was above the first floor windows, a triple was above the second floor windows etc. It was not only fun, but we were practicing and honing our throwing and catching and batting skills.

All this emphasis on games and practice and winning at all costs........makes me crazy. I just retired from over 30 years as a teacher of physical education or adapted physical education at the elementary school level. There are plenty of kids out there who don't know how to skip, or jump rope or climb trees. But they do know about the soccer game on Saturday and the uniform they must have. And they do know how important it all is when they see the adults arguing with each other or worse. Hey, guess what, kids can have arguments in a game and they can figure it out too. It's part of growing and learning.

Now all this about age groupers with 6 practices a week and mega yardage I think is also off the mark. Let kids be kids. My father was a gymnast, NJ state champion in 1940. At age 6 or 7 he had me join a gymnastics club. This was around 1956 or so. We met once a week and did a lot of tumbling and mat work. I was OK at it but no super star. I probably stayed with it a year or so and never really was all that interested. My father wisely let it run its course. Interestingly enough I did forgo my senior year of swimming in college in order to join the gymnastics team. And had a wonderful time competing at the parallel bars and floor exercise. I did it because I enjoyed it and as a tribute to my father. He came to several of the meets (and most of my swim meets).

My freshman year in HS I wanted to go out for the football team. I'm 5' 10" now and 175, I was probably 5'6" and 135 then. My parents said no. Thank goodness!! I was disapointed at the time, but swimming was a winter sport in NJ and that was the next season, and I knew how to swim, so I went out for the team. We practiced one hour per day from mid November to the first week in March, that was the season. If we did 1500 yards a day we did alot. We didn't even swim circles, we swam waves, i.e. the first group did a 50, then the next group did a 50, then the third group etc. Guess what, we were state champions for ten years in a row and won the Easterns 4 years in a row. My junior year we swam against and beat the Yale freshman and the Princeton freshman. We had numerous All -Americans and three swimmers made the Olympic trials in '68. What I am saying here is that although swimming was important in our town, there was a perspective. No one that I swam with burned out from too much practice. In 1965 our best freestyler went 21.8 in the 50 and 48.8 in the 100 and our breastroker set the national record at 1:01.+

Swimming is a lifetime sport. I have had the pleasure of swimming and competing in masters for 27 years. I do waaay more yardage than I ever did and enjoy getting in the water at 5:30AM. I look forward to swimming everyday. That's what the sport should be about - health, fitness and enjoyment. No one is going to do it if it is a drudgery. Let kids be kids.

Whew, I feel better getting that off my chest.

islandsox
December 10th, 2006, 08:39 PM
Glenn,

I want you to know you are not alone in this thinking. I think this is why the author of this post started this thread: concern for our children and the possibility that some swim clubs (and parents who want them to excel) may take it too far too soon. It seems many people are hunting for ways for their children to excel and I am not sure exactly why that is. Status? or maybe the pressure of the year 2006 to keep up.

I came from the era of climbing trees, hopscotch, seeing how many times I could ride my bicycle around the block with no hands; those things were so much fun. We read books and watched cartoons; no computers whatsoever. A color TV was a luxury. We used to listen to Brer Rabbit, Lady and the Tramp on 76 records. We invented things for fun which led to greater socialization with our friends; we had no aids. Yes, I am dating myself here; I am an old codger, but quite frankly I have tremendous values about things that are important in life. Simplicity is one of them.

I entered swimming by total accident. I had polio and I was put in water therapy. I fell in love with water, it became my new best friend. So as I started out as below average, the more I was in it, the happier I was. Thus, eventually, the YMCA and its statewide meets. I was happy with 5th or 6th. And back then, a 5th or 6th was as good as 1st in family eyes and friends' and coaches' eyes. And when I decided to continue competing, I didn't shatter any records. I was just having fun. But I always wanted to do better, something that is still with me.
As a child, I found what I wanted to do: swim.

And then when I found backstroke, my world changed. I found the natural stroke for me. But as I competed and moved up in ranks, my YMCA coach never forced us to do things we couldn't do. I think most of our workouts were about 1800 yards, maybe, but they sure were quality.

I made the conscious choice to try to go big league because I found something I loved more than anything else in the world. But now we are in the early 60s, and coaches were different then.

Even now, with coaches trying their best to ensure proper technique to thwart off shoulder injuries, can take a toll on children. The in-depth conversations about this and the drills associated to make it happen, certainly puts a lot of pressure, or maybe even confusion, into children; "
hey, where's the fun?"

I am sorry this is long, I guess I went down memory lane, but it is a good memory lane.

I am with you on a lot of points you made. The difference for me back then and some of the kids nowadays is this (to me): I chose it for personal enjoyment first, competiton was second, and some, only some I am saying here, swim to be the best they can be; that being first is primary so they are driven way too early. Excellence is good in prospective. Maybe because of how small I started out in the swimming world, and had coaches and family encouraging me but not making it so important it over-encompassed my life, is why I am still swimming today; more than 50 years later. I still swim for enjoyment even though I am competitve, which is a personal drive only. I'll swim until I stop breathing. A lifelong love for something like this makes me feel like I won the lottery.

My thoughts and experiences; no facts here.

Donna

chaos
December 10th, 2006, 08:51 PM
[QUOTE=Glenn;70038]This post has really made me sad. The emphasis today on organized sports is way off base. What I don't see today is kids just playing for the sake of having fun. When we were kids, we would come home after school and "go out and play". I loved playing softball as a kid. We would play for hours without adults, referees, umpires. We played a game of baseball/stickball sometimes with just two people, a pitcher and batter. We played it in the school playground between two three storey brick buildings of the school. A single was below the line on the wall, a double was above the first floor windows, a triple was above the second floor windows etc. It was not only fun, but we were practicing and honing our throwing and catching and batting skills.


glenn,
thank you for the stick ball memories! i was a street urchin (no organized sports until i joined the swim team in high school). i like to think that the kids i grew up with are none the worse for the lack of organized sports. i do love my swim time now!

The Fortress
December 10th, 2006, 11:03 PM
Whew, I feel better getting that off my chest.

I'm glad you got it off your chest. It was a great post. Did you live in a small town or rural area or a metro area? Just wondering. It seems to me that the emphasis on intense specialization at a young age and hyper-competition is more prevalent in urban areas with a lot of super achieving parents. But could be wrong ... I biked and climbed trees and did stuff as a youth long ago. But I quit other sports to focus on swimming at age 12. I still did some fun stuff, just not other organized sports. I always put school first. Which is probably why my swim team did not beat Princeton and Yale when I was in school. :rofl:

Muppet
December 10th, 2006, 11:32 PM
I am a few years past the "age of commitment," yet welcome alternate sport distractions. Basketball, flag football, softball (which let me tell you, there's practically no exercise there, but its fun!)... I like to view them as part of my crosstraining. Granted, most of the time, swimming will take priority in a conflict.

And back to the commitment thing, I am signed up to learn how to play hockey this winter, which I am counting on helping me kick some buttocks in Federal Way this May!

On the one hand, I know I may be nearing my swim peak and am willing to go to extremes to kick butt while I still can. On the other hand, swimming can get a little monotonous sometimes...

:banana:

The Fortress
December 10th, 2006, 11:38 PM
crosstraining.... I may be nearing my swim peak and am willing to go to extremes to kick butt while I still can. :banana:

Cross-training. :banana: You're not at your peak -- ridiculous. It seem to me that you're improving! :banana:

Muppet
December 10th, 2006, 11:44 PM
Cross-training. :banana: You're not at your peak -- ridiculous. It seem to me that you're improving! :banana:

True - just PB'd the mile this morning (but when you've only swum it once before, thats not too hard to do ;-P). Just trying to keep that peak further away!

I love the bananas!

The Fortress
December 10th, 2006, 11:52 PM
I'll get used to your dead horses too. I think I've used them recently. I haven't swum since last Tuesday. Boo. I've been running on the treadmill during Dolan warm up. I think your training is monotonous because you are doing those miles, Dude. Mix it up. Your Terrapin are crazy people. Fortunately, I'm thinking my secret nemesis might train as little as me.

Muppet
December 11th, 2006, 09:45 AM
Actually, I would rather do a short distances IM set, or a set of ~200s or less free working on speed pacing rahter than do 300s, 400s, 500s... not that I don't mind doing the occasional 500 during a practice or anything...

As for the monotonousness, some weeks I just want do do something other than get in a pool, you know?:banana:

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 09:53 AM
Actually, I would rather do a short distances IM set, or a set of ~200s or less free working on speed pacing rahter than do 300s, 400s, 500s... not that I don't mind doing the occasional 500 during a practice or anything...

As for the monotonousness, some weeks I just want do do something other than get in a pool, you know?:banana:

Amen to that. I'm going to life weights now. :dedhorse: :dedhorse: :D

Glenn
December 11th, 2006, 12:19 PM
Sprinter Girl,

I spent my first two years in HS in Newark, NJ then we moved to Westfield, NJ a town of maybe 25,000 at the time. Westfield was maybe 20 minutes from Newark and considered the suburbs. We moved there because of swimming. Swimming was big in Westifeld. Some of my teammates swam age group and thru college. I never even heard of age group swimming until we moved to Westfield at age 15. We trained from mid November to March when we had the state meet - that was it. No weight training, no year round, no summer (and no goggles). I suspect we may have even been better if we had gone year round but I probably wouldn't be swimming and with so much joy today.

Glenn Gruber:)

TheGoodSmith
December 11th, 2006, 12:54 PM
Glenn,

You are correct that the sport should be fun and kids should be exposed to different physical activities while growing up......... HOWEVER...... this does not lead to better training and aerobic advancement over time at a national level. Pick a sport for pleasure or general physical fitness.... but don't expect talent to overcome lack of training over time when other kids are truly hammering out yardage at a young age. Certainly, quality of training and coaching are paramount, but the fact is, no 14 year old is going to make the top 10 national rankings in their age group in Swimming World magazine if he/she isn't pounding out some early yardage. I have heard several college coaches complain in recent years that kids coming out of highschool don't have the "base" in training yardage they once did in the late 1970s and mid 1980s. The coaches have to spend several years to try and catch them up to where they should be..... if this is even possible by the age of 18 and 19. I hate to say it, but if you don't do a decent amount of yardage (particularly long course) when you are young (9-14) you will have MCUH more difficulty rising to the top of the sport. Then again, if you are just in it for the fun and the general physical fitness...... so be it.

John Smith

scyfreestyler
December 11th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Glenn,

You are correct that the sport should be fun and kids should be exposed to different physical activities while growing up......... HOWEVER...... this does not lead to better training and aerobic advancement over time at a national level. Pick a sport for pleasure or general physical fitness.... but don't expect talent to overcome lack of training over time when other kids are truly hammering out yardage at a young age. Certainly, quality of training and coaching are paramount, but the fact is, no 14 year old is going to make the top 10 national rankings in their age group in Swimming World magazine if he/she isn't pounding out some early yardage. I have heard several college coaches complain in recent years that kids coming out of highschool don't have the "base" in training yardage they once did in the late 1970s and mid 1980s. The coaches have to spend several years to try and catch them up to where they should be..... if this is even possible by the age of 18 and 19. I hate to say it, but if you don't do a decent amount of yardage (particularly long course) when you are young (9-14) you will have MCUH more difficulty rising to the top of the sport. Then again, if you are just in it for the fun and the general physical fitness...... so be it.

John Smith

If kids are not getting the early training they need then why are records continually being broken? :dunno:

nkfrench
December 11th, 2006, 01:09 PM
Some girls are going to be ready for elite competition at quite an early age, with some 14-year-olds who final at the Olympics. Should they have been "held back" to avoid "burnout" if those were their goals and they agreed on the workload they needed to make those goals ? The difference between the top kids and those who are "almost" there is pretty small and you may not know who is going to be the next one.

You never know what cards you'll be dealt. In four years you can be out of the sport for other reasons unrelated to burnout or swim injuries -- car accidents, injuries from other sports, illness. Puberty can also be unkind to some of the kid's swimming just from the body changes. Or you could have the bad luck to specialize in a certain event just at the same time that another superstar emerges who wasn't on the scene 4 years earlier. You can't assume that whatever conditions you have today will be the same in 4 years.

A good program is going to focus on technique and having fun at the early ages, while increasing training to provide them with good progression and to prepare them for elite competition if that's the swimmer's goal. If the kids just want an excellent swim team experience without the performance emphasis, that's fine -- but they shouldn't detract from the kids with talent and ambitions making it worthwhile to do more. It makes no sense to combine two high school kids in the same practice structure if one just wants to stay in shape and have a little competition and the other wants to swim in college and needs to be physically prepared to make the Senior National cuts, earn a college swim scholarship and be able to cope with doubles in college.

In no way am I recommending that a swimmer should be doing doubles at age 12. On the flip side, there are certain years where the biggest gains can be made in aerobic capacity.

Most of the craziness I've seen is originating from the parents who insist that their kids should do more work. I've seen coaches fired because their team didn't place high enough at the age group championships (based on the parent's idea of what the kids should have been doing). Some of these parents will trot their kid out to a meet every weekend, then by the time they are older the whole family is burned out and the kid has plateued. If you're 12 years old, "stuck" not getting faster, and are already doing 10 workouts a week, there's not much place to go to get faster.

A kid who doesn't make a group's attendance recommendations is not going to do well in the group. They generally don't keep up with the group and don't advance to the next level when their teammates are "promoted". They don't form the same close friendships with the others. These make swimming just as "not fun" as if they were swimming too much.

Finally, not sure who I'm swiping this from, but swimming is not just about being in the small group that goes to the Olympics each 4 years. It would be pretty meaningless if that were true. It is about setting goals for yourself and finding that when you dedicate yourself towards your goals, how much you can achieve that you may have thought impossible. Every swimmer at every level can benefit from that lesson through the rest of their life.

SwimStud
December 11th, 2006, 01:27 PM
The way I see it kids do not have childhood's anymore due to all the pressure that get's placed on them for sports AND academics. There seems to be no time off for these guys.
Are they better off? Who knows? That's a personal question, in my opinion.

Grooming kids to be the next superstars is always a risk. Risk to them, risk that the prospects don't pan out etc.

If the kids wants to work that hard at something then it's fine as long as their health is not being impacted negatively. If so, someone has to be the parent and say "you have to stop for a while."
If it's parent's pushing their kids for their own pride, then that's a separate issue.

Don't get me started on pushin them to get scholarships for college for financial reasons either. :)

Rich

:dedhorse: <----me too ;)

Caped Crusader
December 11th, 2006, 01:47 PM
Some guy:

Since the other post we were conversing on was closed, I just wanted to tell you that my daughter did not kick my butt in the 50 fly. :groovy: Ha, ha, ha. I might still have one year left. :yawn:

Fortress, I want proof of this. What's your daughter's name?

Caped Crusader
December 11th, 2006, 01:52 PM
Glenn,

You are correct that the sport should be fun and kids should be exposed to different physical activities while growing up......... HOWEVER...... this does not lead to better training and aerobic advancement over time at a national level. Pick a sport for pleasure or general physical fitness.... but don't expect talent to overcome lack of training over time when other kids are truly hammering out yardage at a young age. Certainly, quality of training and coaching are paramount, but the fact is, no 14 year old is going to make the top 10 national rankings in their age group in Swimming World magazine if he/she isn't pounding out some early yardage. I have heard several college coaches complain in recent years that kids coming out of highschool don't have the "base" in training yardage they once did in the late 1970s and mid 1980s. The coaches have to spend several years to try and catch them up to where they should be..... if this is even possible by the age of 18 and 19. I hate to say it, but if you don't do a decent amount of yardage (particularly long course) when you are young (9-14) you will have MCUH more difficulty rising to the top of the sport. Then again, if you are just in it for the fun and the general physical fitness...... so be it.

John Smith

The head coach of our swim team agrees with this statement. He says that, for his senior and national teams, he views his goal/coaching role as building their "cardio machines" to prepare them for college. 9 sound a little young. But I think by 12 they're really starting to crank it up. How else can you swim events like the 200 fly and 400 IM?

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Some girls are going to be ready for elite competition at quite an early age,

A kid who doesn't make a group's attendance recommendations is not going to do well in the group. They generally don't keep up with the group and don't advance to the next level when their teammates are "promoted".

I think Elizabeth Biesel was at the PanPacs at age 13.

I heard an attendance horror story this weekend. There is a very promising distance swimmer (13) in our region who used to train with Kate Zeigler's group. She missed just a couple practices for obligatory (not voluntary) school functions, and was demoted to the lower group. This seems pretty harsh to me. She joined another team.

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 02:03 PM
Fortress, I want proof of this. What's your daughter's name?

I'm not telling you! Good luck with your "research" because she has a different last name than me! :thhbbb:

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 02:11 PM
In no way am I recommending that a swimmer should be doing doubles at age 12. On the flip side, there are certain years where the biggest gains can be made in aerobic capacity.

Most of the craziness I've seen is originating from the parents who insist that their kids should do more work. I've seen coaches fired because their team didn't place high enough at the age group championships (based on the parent's idea of what the kids should have been doing). Some of these parents will trot their kid out to a meet every weekend, then by the time they are older the whole family is burned out and the kid has plateued. If you're 12 years old, "stuck" not getting faster, and are already doing 10 workouts a week, there's not much place to go to get faster.

I have actually been told that it is a positive thing for kids to have a solid aerobic base. Indeed, there is some research that suggests that aggressive cardiovascular training when young can help you live longer, wholly apart from whatever immediate USS award the kid garners. The problem is how to keep injuries at bay when volume goes up. I think more teams need to focus on pre-hab as their increasing yardage.

I agree much craziness is in fact due to parents. Coaching is for coaches, not parents. I know one parent some years ago who took their 12 year old to senior nationals after she swam a 1:05 in the 100 breast. The kid couldn't take the pressure, freaked out and never really recovered to swim anywhere close to that elite level again. Very sad.

knelson
December 11th, 2006, 02:19 PM
Some girls are going to be ready for elite competition at quite an early age, with some 14-year-olds who final at the Olympics.

Which brings up another topic: should there be a minimum age requirement for Worlds or the Olympics? There is, for example, in figure skating. Competitors must have turned 15 the July before the Olympics or Worlds to be eligible. So basically they need to be pushing 16 by the time the actual competition rolls around. Kind of strange considering the public perception of figure skating is that it's dominated by really young athletes.

My opinion is age limits like this are not a good idea. If someone is that good that young they deserve the chance to compete at the highest level. Especially something like the Olympics which only comes around every four years.

islandsox
December 11th, 2006, 02:28 PM
I am not retracting what I wrote earlier about children being pushed too early and too much. My concern was who was doing this: the child or the parents or coaches? And to what degree was another thought I had.

Being the best I could be was my own doing because I found something I was finally good at (self-confidence was gained). I was swimming at age 3, but not competitively until 9 or 10.

When a child has a dream, it should be taken as far as possible within safety considerations. When I finally started making my mark in the swimming world, I was around 13. At my request, I had my dad make weights for me using bricks on pulleys in the garage. The next year, I set a national record in the 100 yd backstroke at Kerr-McGee in Oklahoma. I was stronger is how this came to be.

This experience instilled in me a desire to see how far I could take my dream. My schoolwork never suffered and swimming was something that made me happiest. I, on my own, had my mom drive me to the YMCA on some off-days, and I would swim piles of backstroke.

So even though I was just entering my teens, I was lifting weights and doing more yardage, more than the other kids. Hard work in physical strength, stroke technique, and aerobic conditioning did pay off. And if children today have a dream to see how far their swimming can take them, then they should pursue that. Being able to pay a physical price in effort to obtain a dream is a good thing. I never suffered burnout even given all the hard work I put into the sport. But no one pushed me but myself. And the Fortress is correct, developing an aerobic base does pay off later as we age. It seems that many discover that they can always get in shape faster later and their conditioning stays with them a little longer than the person who is not aerobically sound.

:groovy:Donna

SwimStud
December 11th, 2006, 02:31 PM
Fortress, I want proof of this. What's your daughter's name?

It's Lil, Lil Fortress!

Thank you, thank you...available for Weddings and Bat-mitzvahs! I'm here all week!

:rofl:

nkfrench
December 11th, 2006, 02:46 PM
I know one parent some years ago who took their 12 year old to senior nationals after she swam a 1:05 in the 100 breast. The kid couldn't take the pressure, freaked out and never really recovered to swim anywhere close to that elite level again. Very sad.

And I know of a 12-year-old who went to Olympic Trials with a cut in the 100 Fly after beginning year-round swimming less than a year earlier. She did well but 4 years later she had the confidence and experience to qualify for the Olympic team to final in an individual event and take gold/WR on a relay.

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 02:51 PM
It's Lil, Lil Fortress!

Thank you, thank you...available for Weddings and Bat-mitzvahs! I'm here all week!

:rofl:

That is such a great new avatar. I can tell what you've been watching on TV. Are you gonna keep it for more than a day?

My daughter would be quite huffy and offended about being called Lil, Lil Fortress. She's 12 going on 15. I've explained to her that she cannot get married until she's 30 because she will be too busy to meet guys while she is pounding out the yardage. So we won't be needing your services quite yet. :thhbbb:

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 02:52 PM
And I know of a 12-year-old who went to Olympic Trials with a cut in the 100 Fly after beginning year-round swimming less than a year earlier. She did well but 4 years later she had the confidence and experience to qualify for the Olympic team to final in an individual event and take gold/WR on a relay.

Wow! That is awesome. :bow: You're right, I guess it just depends on the makeup of the individual kid. Some kids come on early and just keep going; others (like Kate Zeigler) start shining a little later. I did notice at the meet I was at this weekend that some 12 year olds loved the excitement and competition and thrived on it, while others seemed nervous and didn't improve their times at all. Of course, that could be do to many factors too ...

SwimStud
December 11th, 2006, 03:10 PM
That is such a great new avatar. I can tell what you've been watching on TV. Are you gonna keep it for more than a day?

My daughter would be quite huffy...

Well for the avatar..you'll just have to check now won't you?

Your daughter gets huffy? So you mean, girls get huffy?

lol

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Not me, Santa. :rofl: I only get huffy when someone insults my user name or my fly technique. :rofl: Now, if someone insults my avatar, I might get really cross ... In my examined reading of the fine purple prose on this forum, however, I think men may be huffy too.

Caped Crusader
December 11th, 2006, 07:11 PM
Not me, Santa. :rofl: I only get huffy when someone insults my user name or my fly technique. :rofl: Now, if someone insults my avatar, I might get really cross ... In my examined reading of the fine purple prose on this forum, however, I think men may be huffy too.

I don't know any swimmers with red hair ... Zing. :lolup:

Men are more smart alecky than huffy, but I will admit that I am generalizing and there are notable exceptions here on this forum. Isn't the failure to be either huffy, smart alecky or humorous very un-forumish?

My young was eaten today by a super tough 2 hour workout.

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 08:31 PM
I don't know any swimmers with red hair ... Zing. :lolup: Men are more smart alecky .

I don't have red hair. But I like it on my avatar. She looks quite comely. And her hair doesn't appear to have chlorine damage. :banana:

I dont know any marathoners that wear capes when they run or swim ...:rofl:

My young ones are still alive. At the moment. My 14 year old son is being real smart alecky and bugging the **** out of me. I may have to get huffy. Maybe I'll have my smart alecky husband get huffy ...

SwimStud
December 11th, 2006, 09:31 PM
I dont know any marathoners that wear capes when they run or swim ...


No me either it's always bright coloured T-back Speedo's...:D

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 09:38 PM
I was lifting weights and doing more yardage, more than the other kids. Hard work in physical strength, stroke technique, and aerobic conditioning did pay off. And if children today have a dream to see how far their swimming can take them, then they should pursue that. Being able to pay a physical price in effort to obtain a dream is a good thing. I never suffered burnout even given all the hard work I put into the sport. But no one pushed me but myself.
:groovy:Donna

I'm quoting Donna just to get back on topic here and because she's smart-alecky. I mean a smarty pants.

I hope my kid has the kind of determination quoted above because "I have a dream" they will stay out of trouble and not be doing too much of this :drink: or I will be :frustrated: .

As an aside, I think most swimmers get pretty darn good grades despite all that practicing.

islandsox
December 11th, 2006, 10:01 PM
Fortress,

Smarty-pants is good. My mom was thrilled that I found swimming and devoted my body and soul to it because it kept me away from "boys." This was the one thing I chose not to participate in: puppy love until I met my goals. My parents were thrilled; to them this made me the golden one (HA, if they only knew what us swimmers got into, but I never kiss and tell.)

It has been mentioned to me by other swimmers that we can be quite the party or rowdy crowd. :dunno:what? little ole us?

Donna

Caped Crusader
December 11th, 2006, 10:06 PM
It has been mentioned to me by other swimmers that we can be quite the party or rowdy crowd. :dunno:what? little ole us?
Donna

No kidding, smarty pants. Swimmers are notorious for this stuff. I recall hearing stories of all night partying and then betting who could swim the fastest 500 free. I wasn't doing this of course. I was only friends with these cool dudes while participating in another challenging endurance activity. Maybe partying helps them blow off steam and not get burned out?

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 10:21 PM
It kept me away from "boys." This was the one thing I chose not to participate in: puppy love until I met my goals. I never kiss and tell.Donna

Ha, it only worked for a little while though! Then someone else ratted you out. :rofl: :dedhorse:

islandsox
December 11th, 2006, 10:23 PM
Okay, Some Guy, I did have one of these experiences of partying, but it wasn't MY idea. It was a swimmer whose initials sound like BS but aren't, and the memories made were I got sick on a 200 back the next day because of it!! My parents were livid that this champion didn't take better care of me!!! But, see? the good thing is it is a memory of mine so swimming has prevented dementia.

But back to it......I was in good enough condition thanks to yardage and weights that I came back strong the meet after that one!!!

Donna

The Fortress
December 11th, 2006, 10:26 PM
I'm told that a double dose of accelerade and 2 excederin with caffeine is good for hangovers. (See how short my posts are getting? (If they were as long as others, I'd be at 5,000 by now.) Love is a many hangover thing ....

SwimStud
December 11th, 2006, 10:28 PM
I'm told that a double dose of accelerade and 2 excederin with caffeine is good for hangovers. (See how short my posts are getting? If they were as long as others, I'd be at 5,000 by now.)

Hangover cure: @ botles of gatorade, 1 red-bull, 2 cups black coffee, 1 greasy fried something.

Not that I'd know about hangovers...or anything...athough I did drunkenlly sprint into the Med once at around 2am to rescue a drowing airmattress.

dorothyrde
December 11th, 2006, 11:11 PM
Fortress,

Smarty-pants is good. My mom was thrilled that I found swimming and devoted my body and soul to it because it kept me away from "boys." This was the one thing I chose not to participate in: puppy love until I met my goals. My parents were thrilled; to them this made me the golden one (HA, if they only knew what us swimmers got into, but I never kiss and tell.)

It has been mentioned to me by other swimmers that we can be quite the party or rowdy crowd. :dunno:what? little ole us?

Donna

My daughters swimming group right now is about 10-1 boys to girls. Not sure how that happened, but it sure is not keeping her from boys.....and she has wayyyyy too much fun.

Muppet
December 11th, 2006, 11:23 PM
Love is a many hangover thing ....

i feel a song coming on...

I drank till I Stumbled
I drank till i fell
When The drunk part was over it hurt me like hell now i know about drinkin so i know one
things true bein drunk's a lot like lovin you

God Bless Kenny Chesney!:groovy:

m2tall2
December 12th, 2006, 07:55 AM
It sounds like we can actually agree on a couple points with this.

Some kids get pushed way too hard and burn out.
Some kids don't have the opportunity OR don't get pushed hard enough by coaches and never get to the level they personally want to be at.
Some kids need a fitness swimming outlet.
Some need a mild-moderately competitive outlet.
Some really want and need that extra dose of working out to make the goals they know they want.

It seems like what really needs to happen here to prevent burnout is kids need to be put in the appropriate group for their goals. Just because you are lightening fast doesn't been you want to be on the elite team. Just because you are moderate speed doesn't mean you don't want to get to the elite team.
It sounds like a whole lot more communication between the swimmers, coaches, and parents at the beginning of the season would do a whole lot of good in preventing burnout. Some coaches do this but likely not nearly enough.
What it seems like is you have to be on a team that suits your goals rather than go into the correct program on the same team. Many kids don't have a choice on the team they end up on unless they are already a superstar. They go to the local team where it's easy for parents to drop them off and pick them up. They're told, that's the team you swim on or you can't swim. Or, their friends are on that team, so if they leave in persuit of their individual goals, they are traitors. If that team doesn't have an outlet for the different levels and goals of swimmers, there is a high liklihood of either frustration or burnout.
It sounds like more programs with different tracks (fitness, competition, national/elite) for all ages and a goal setting process at the beginning of each season with a status report halfway though would be the optimum for younger swimmers. If only those types of teams weren't few and far between and cost a fortune. (At least around here.)
There.:2cents:
Now, off to swim...

Caped Crusader
December 12th, 2006, 09:13 AM
One coach (no longer there) gave my son's team a 75x100 set and left the deck for the duration of the set. 5700 pull was another. Absolutely ridiculous.

Is this for real? I realize kids need to train hard to succeed, but this seem pointless. :shakeshead:

Caped Crusader
December 12th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Which brings up another topic: should there be a minimum age requirement for Worlds or the Olympics? There is, for example, in figure skating. Competitors must have turned 15 the July before the Olympics or Worlds to be eligible. So basically they need to be pushing 16 by the time the actual competition rolls around. Kind of strange considering the public perception of figure skating is that it's dominated by really young athletes. My opinion is age limits like this are not a good idea. If someone is that good that young they deserve the chance to compete at the highest level. Especially something like the Olympics which only comes around every four years.

If they're ready to rock and roll, let them become rock stars. You only live twice.

FlyQueen
December 12th, 2006, 12:29 PM
If they're ready to rock and roll, let them become rock stars. You only live twice.

For gymnastics the gymnast must turn 16 in the year of the Olympics ... But for as many burn out stories as there are there are also success stories, just as for every training "rule" there is an exception (think every stroke breathing on fly by Phelps or less yardage by Coughlin)

On the partying front, swimming hung over is not so much fun ... it makes flip turns interesting. My teammates and I are fans of trying a shot realy, do a shot swim to the other end, do another shot swim back ... you know a few of those ... that'd be interesting, probably messy though ...

The goal of some sets is building mental and physical toughness, they probably are pointless, but I'm guessing that is the goal, as well as endurance, not saying I agree ...


As for the hangover cure ... Vitamin Water has a purpleish one that is "Revive" actually made to cure hangovers, depending on how fun the night before was it make take more than one bottle ...

NKFrench, were you referring to Dana Vollmer? She seems like she is back in great form, and ready to serve notice in Melbourne, good luck to her!

As for the burn out ... I don't think there is one right or wrong answer ... some kids will burn out, others won't and will win Olympic medals as teens (Beard, Peirsol, Sandeno, Munz, Bennett, Quann-Jendrick, and on and on) then keep on going and going and going ... it goes back to my same old theory of the coach needing to know their swimmers, who to push and when and how much and how far, who is really hurt and who isn't and on and on ...

When I coached gymnastics it did not take long to realize which kids I needed to "hand hold" through things to get them to do it and which kids I needed to say, "Get your butt on that beam and do it NOW!" to.

On the same day I had one girl I had to spot on beam and she finally went and she gave me a huge hug and another where I did actually tell her to go now or to leave, she went she did her skill (a tough dismount) perfectly and was mad at me of course, but she needed that kick in the arse, both girls were about the same age, about the same level of talent and ability ...

Caped Crusader
December 12th, 2006, 12:47 PM
[quote=The Fortress;70164]I don't have red hair. But I like it on my avatar. She looks quite comely. And her hair doesn't appear to have chlorine damage. :banana: I dont know any marathoners that wear capes when they run or swim ...:rofl:

I am now mild mannered Clark Kent. But I am still going to zing you again. :lolup:

First of all, it looks like that mermaid has mascara on. And she's smiling too much. She doesn't look witty and sarcastic. Too goody two shoes.

Second, I see to recall from that film noir that she ditched her family and culture for a cute guy. Is this a good message to send to young girls? And she has no mother .... Why is it that in virtually every Disney movie the mother is dead or there is an evil stepmother?! (Snow White, Cinderella, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast. Sleeping Beauty's mother was so ineffectual, she couldn't get the invitations to the Christening sent out right and Maleficent zinged in. I hope there's a mommy in Happy Feet. I haven't seen that yet. I guesss the dad got offed in Lion King...) This is a good enough reason to ditch that mermaid.

I have three other thoughts on theoretically/actually stressed out kids:

1. Since Cruise isn't here, and he seems to be everyone's favorite, I'll substitute a quote for him: "Our earth is degenerate...Childeren no longer obey their parents...The end of the world is evidently approaching." (Ancient Mesopotamian scribe)

2. If childhood is so stressful, why does it last so long? I thought kids were starting to live with their parents until 30.

3. It does seem like some parents push kids who might not want to be Olympians, thus shrinking their childhood and preventing them from climbing trees. Is there any study on the effects of this?

SwimStud
December 12th, 2006, 01:01 PM
2. If childhood is so stressful, why does it last so long? I thought kids were starting to live with their parents until 30.


For many this is a financially/econimcally enforced choice. For others, they want to spend their days in the parent's basement playing video games.
Me I was out at 21, not just out but across the Atlantic living in NY and tying the knot.

Today however, you can't get a job filing without a degree, you have to go to school, so if Mom n Pop can't pay that means scholarships, loans or dancing your way through law school.

I probably won't be able to pay for 4 years x 2 kids. SO they will be offered a virtually rentfree abode to stay until they pay off any debts.

Forget about trying to buy a house...at least up in the NE anyhow.

nkfrench
December 12th, 2006, 02:45 PM
...
NKFrench, were you referring to Dana Vollmer? She seems like she is back in great form, and ready to serve notice in Melbourne, good luck to her!

Yes. Dana seems to be doing quite well. At a recent college invitational she swam some lifetime bests to get NCAA automatic cuts. She has struggled with more adversity in her swim career (mono, back/shoulder injuries, reconstructed knee ACL, heart radio ablation, and symptoms of Long Q-T syndrome; the 50-minute drive each way to practice for 2-a-days) than most of us face in a lifetime. Sometimes the adversities and downtime let you reflect on what you want, and this is all her choice to continue. The international competition landscape in the 200 Free (her Olympic individual event) will be very different in 2008 and who knows what can happen between today and then.

Her brother is also an extremely talented swimmer, but did not have the goal of being an elite swimmer. His heart is with karate, where he is a black belt and began his own studio business in high school. He is a good example of how things work out best when the kid gets in a program that match his goals. It can be hard - the fitness/high school group would not be able to challenge him in practices; yet the elite/senior group had attendance commitments that exceeded what he wanted to put in.

Caped Crusader
December 14th, 2006, 08:39 AM
What do you do with this situation?

Two teenager girls, three years apart (13, 16). Swim for the same team and same coach. The older one has plateaued, the younger one keeps improving and is actually faster than her sister in some events. The older one is not very happy about swimming because of the lack of improvment, but doesn't want to quit and doesn't know what other sport she would do. How do you keep her motivated? What if she keeps getting more miserable?

The Fortress
December 14th, 2006, 11:29 AM
What do you do with this situation?

Two teenager girls, three years apart (13, 16). Swim for the same team and same coach. The older one has plateaued, the younger one keeps improving and is actually faster than her sister in some events. The older one is not very happy about swimming because of the lack of improvment, but doesn't want to quit and doesn't know what other sport she would do. How do you keep her motivated? What if she keeps getting more miserable?


Do they swim the same events? Are they at the same school? Maybe the younger one is in middle school and the older one can shine in high school? I think girls sometimes plateau in their mid-teens. I did, then I subsequently improved. Maybe the 16 year old has a breakthrough coming soon. Is she lifting weights yet?

Caped Crusader
December 14th, 2006, 12:36 PM
Do they swim the same events? Are they at the same school? Maybe the younger one is in middle school and the older one can shine in high school? I think girls sometimes plateau in their mid-teens. I did, then I subsequently improved. Maybe the 16 year old has a breakthrough coming soon. Is she lifting weights yet?

Not at same school, so one does get to shine in HS. No weights yet. Maybe that'll help. I think all growth has stopped though... I hope she doesn't quit.

The Fortress
December 16th, 2006, 11:52 AM
Should 11-12 year olds be doing 200 fly in prelim/finals meets? Shouldn't that event just be a timed final so they only have to swim it once? I watched a final of that event last night. One girl literally got out of the pool crying at the 150 point. 2 others looked like they might pass out. Only the winner looked happy in a heat of 8, and this was the "A" final. I'd say these kids are being eaten. Boo.

swimmieAvsFan
December 18th, 2006, 08:41 AM
Should 11-12 year olds be doing 200 fly in prelim/finals meets? Shouldn't that event just be a timed final so they only have to swim it once? I watched a final of that event last night. One girl literally got out of the pool crying at the 150 point. 2 others looked like they might pass out. Only the winner looked happy in a heat of 8, and this was the "A" final. I'd say these kids are being eaten. Boo.

i think the Tom Dolan Invitational hosts had it right when they changed all 11-12 200 stroke events to timed finals. there's no reason kids that age should be doing prelims *and* finals for 200 stroke events. i know on the age group team i coach, most of our 11-12 don't even do the 200 stroke events till springtime. even the kids who could survive the event now.

with the groups i coach, i luckily don't see too many kids getting eaten, yet... and that makes me happy.