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Thread: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

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    9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Hey everyone, wasn't sure were to put this questions so I decided to place it here. I also wanted to get some opinions from knowlageable swimmers like yourselves so I hope you don't mind me asking this.

    Here's the story..

    My daughter is 9 years old and has been competing for about 8 months but taking swimming lessons since the age of 3. She's extremely descent for her age (about 35 seconds 50 free, 43 seconds 50 fly, 45 seconds 50 back and 43 seconds 50 breast) just to give you an idea. I decided to pull her off the current team as I feel he was not improving enough as her coach did very little technique training and put her in private lessons with someone I think can really help her learn the little things to make her faster.

    Anyways, here is the other thing.

    During her swim meets I noticed another 9 year old girl who is swimming with times such as 32 seconds 50 free, 32 seconds 50 fly, 38 seconds 50 breast ect and could not believe it. Keep in mind this girl JUST turned 9!

    My question is this,

    How is it that a 9 year old child can swim times as fast as many of the top 11, 12 or 13 year olds? Is this a freak of nature? Is it just good coaching? Physical strength? or what.

    I did not think it was possible for kids this age to swim so fast. Is there any hope for my daughter to "catch up" to kids like this?

    I would like to know everyones opinion on youth marvels like this. I believe this kids has gotten as fast as she will get but that's my own personal opinion. She is sort of short and perhaps as she matures other kids will eventually get taller and stronger and catch up to her times?

    If you were in my shoes what would YOU do with your daughter to help her attain these kinds of times?

    Thanks

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    Participating Member swimfree's Avatar
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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    If this was my daughter I would let her enjoy swimming as much as she wants. I would find her a team that has good coaches that focus on fun, technique, know how to motivate young kids and I would stay out of their way. Private coaching at this age doesn't make too much sense. To stay with the sport she needs to have fun and make friends on the team. Swimming in itself is very individual sport and you need the support of teammates during hard times.

    And I could care less what times another 9 year old girl is swimming. She may be more mature, more developed, etc... In a year or five your daughter may beat her hands down.

    Good luck and enjoy this time in your daughter's life.

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    Very Active Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    First, I would take a step back and go to the USA Swimming website and click on the "Parent" tab. Then I would read all the articles I could about the parent's role with the Swimmer, Coach, and Club.

    http://www.usaswimming.org

    Kids develop at different ages. The sport is rife with anecdotes about "marvel" 8-year-olds who dropped out at a young age, while kids who matured later excelled in the big meets on the world's stage.

    Swimming is a magnificent sport for athletes of ALL ages and abilities. Having an excellent experience is not reserved for just the fastest swimmer.

    Nancy

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    I was really hoping comments would not be directed so much as "how I parent" but instead my actual question as to what allows 9 year old kids to swim so fast. One problem I deal with ona constant basis are coaches and "people" who don't know me or my child and "assuming" I must be a bad parent because I am involved in my child swimming. I believe many times that is such a misunderstood myth and that's too bad.

    I have been working with my daughter since age 3 everything from helping her in her workouts to attending meets and giving advice. As far as coaches go I have learned over the last 6 years it is VERY difficult to find a good coach in this sport depending on where you live. Her last coach was horrible as I said before he NEVER took the time to show the kids proper technique to improve and most of the time sat on his butt doing nothing but making them swim yardage after yardage.. My daughter came back to the team after a 21/2 month layoff from the team and during that time I was training her myself (coach didn't know that though) and she dropped 33 plus seconds total time and won the award for the most time dropped for our entire team. Needless to say she never dropped anywhere NEAR that much time under his training.

    Problem is I cannot do this all the time and I don't want to. I am her father not her coach but I am there if need be. I disagree about private lessons though..

    If one can find a good teacher who is skilled enough to teach her the things that are keeping her from going faster why not do it? This is where swim teams differ from private instruction. On a swim team it is difficult for the coach to spend that much time per child where as in a private setting the child can learn in a much more subtle environment without the pressures of competing.

    My child loves swimming, basically born in the water and she is improving and with proper training she can do the "little" things that are keeping her getting better. I agree that parents need to stay out of it but it is also the parents responsibility to guide them and look out for their best interest since they are too young to make those decissions themselves.

    I am not one of those blind parents who easily shell out 190.00 per month to a swim team and expect nothing. We live in a world were people think nothing of taking advantage of us and that includes swim coaches as well. Not all but some.

    I also disagree with the comment "Put fun first". Though I agree fun is an important aspect of a swim team it is not the only important factor. Anything of value in life takes hard work and dedication. Any successful swimmer would be fibbing if they told you that they never had to deal with pressure, strict commitment or a hard work ethic. And many of them had parents who were heavily involved in their sport.

    The fact is that any child who only swims just to have fun most likely will never go that far with it That's just the way it is.

    So before anyone wants to preach to me about me being a bad father keep in mind that if it was not for me my child would not be the success that she is now. I simply want her to improve beyond what she is now and I think I have made all the right decissions so far.

    Now, getting back to my original question which was what makes a 9 year old swimmer so fast I'd the like comments directed torwards that and not my qualifications as a parent.

    Thanks.
    .

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Quote Originally Posted by nkfrench View Post
    Having an excellent experience is not reserved for just the fastest swimmer.
    It is if you want to succeed in it. Show me a happy loser.

    Fact is nobody wants to lose, do we lose sometimes? yes we do.

    But the purpose in being a competitive swimmer is to go faster not slower so I disagree.

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    Very Active Member Chicken of the Sea's Avatar
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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAC40 View Post
    It is if you want to succeed in it. Show me a happy loser.

    Fact is nobody wants to lose, do we lose sometimes? yes we do.

    But the purpose in being a competitive swimmer is to go faster not slower so I disagree.
    I'm a happy loser
    It was quite capable in the water, perhaps a little on the slow side, but it wasn't impressed by my appearance.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    hello,

    your daughter is pretty good

    Don't know if pulling her off a team and away from a coach is the best move
    what keeps kids in swimming long term is fun and friends
    improving is part of the fun

    how often did she train?
    times per week
    hours per day
    with the coach and team?
    with private lessons?

    too much pressure from parents isn't fun

    get her to practice but don't watch
    encourage her, love her
    don't worry about her current ability
    training with a team makes kids good
    they get in and race the kids beside them and in front of them

    encourage her to do other sports so she finds what she loves

    it broke my heart when my kids didn't want to swim
    The difference was
    with swimming I'd tell my son "it's time to go to practice"
    with tumbling he'd get me and say
    "Dad it's time to take me to practice."

    There's plenty of 9 year olds who can do those times
    who's to say makes her able to
    could be good coaching?
    might be Physical strength?
    might be great technique
    might be great body shape
    might be her mental attitude and beliefs

    Is there any hope for my daughter to "catch up" to kids like this?
    sure

    I wasn't a youth marvel, I was a late bloomer. It's hard for skinny little kids who haven't matured to compete with the big muscular ones who have.

    don't worry about how fast she will be, if she likes swimming
    take her to practice

    If you were in my shoes what would YOU do with your daughter to help her attain these kinds of times?
    ask her what she wants to do,
    in the summer there are swimming camps where kids
    swim 3 times a day for a week or 2 and get lots of attention
    like Longhorn swim camp, now is the time to sign up for summer sessions, they fill up.

    there's parts of [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=198158&postcount=1303"]swim faster faster[/ame] a 9 year old would get

    it helps to watch videos of really great swimmers

    it helps to have heroes they look up to and want to be like

    it helps if the kid has fun working hard

    Good luck with your daughter let her be a kid and have fun

    what city are you in

    ande

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    Question Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    That was a very informing post thanks.

    To your questions..

    She used to train 4 days a week on the team for 1 1/2 hours per session. she was swimming roughly 1,200 to 1,300 yards total.

    This new plan is she's doing 2 days week "swim club" 1,200 yards roughly which focuses on endurance and some technique and 1 day on sunday private lessons for 1 hour where the teacher is focusing strictly on some of the "competitve" techniques and stroke techniques to help her cut time. My belief s this private instructor is more qualified than her previous swim team coach.

    I wanted her to do at least 2 days a week where she would be with other swimmers and kids her own age and one day focusing on the competitive part of swimming. I guess I should give the kid a break though, I mean, she hasn't even puberty yet and she's an amazing swimmer! Puberty can make all the difference lol

    I do love her and I do support her but I just want her to take advantage of this golden opportunity while she is young to. You mentioned "skinny" swimmers?

    You mentioned "skinny" swimmers. Is being thin really a drawback? I know most flyers are heavy and built but I think there are quite a few fast "thin" swimmers out there to isn't there?
    Last edited by RAC40; January 6th, 2010 at 01:23 AM.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Interesting thread this and getting to the heart of a parents dilemma about talented athletic children. I have a son who is a good golfer and always loved the sport and from about 7-10 improved a lot… I got to the point when he reached about 12 when I had to decide what to do in terms of coaching? Did I pull him out of the local teams and county structure and pay a decent coach to get the best out of him? I agonised about this for some time and in the end decided not to and left him alone with little direct input except financial and moral support. He is naturally quite lazy and isn’t really driven enough to make the commitment. I made it clear to him that I would do anything he wanted BUT only if I saw the commitment from him!
    His is now 16 and plays off 5, which for those who know, is good but not great. There is absolutely no question that he could be lower – probably scratch or better but this would have required a level of internal commitment from him, which just wasn’t there! Now the $m question is – had encouraged/pushed him a bit more, how much better would he have been? As mentioned above he is naturally quite lazy and so I believe he would be a lot better and actually quite happy – as his motto is why do something yourself when there is a perfectly good adult to do it for you?
    My point is that IMO the only way that children should be totally committed to a sport is when the drive is coming from within them and not from their parent. This is a very fine line as support can look like coercion and can also end up being about the parent’s dreams an desires rather than the child? In my son’s case he knows that I will do whatever he wants if he is prepared to do the planning and work necessary to succeed – but bottom line is he just doesn’t care enough and that is absolutely fine... I would prefer a happy balanced child doing teenager stuff but not excelling at sport, if that’s what he wants. Basically excellence needs to come from hard graft and commitment – if it isn’t based o these principles it will end in tears….
    I am also reminded of Tiger Woods when reading this thread – yes he is a phenomena and the most successful athlete in the world but did his dad do him a favour or not? For those who are students of athletics remember the middle distance runner Seb Coe? He had a very interesting relationship with his dad who was also his coach and IMO he got it right Seb was driven and his dad used all his skill and intellect to support and guide him to the top of the world! Seb is now leading the 2012 Olympic preparation in the UK.
    Sorry I ended up not talking about your daughter but about the wider question – but forums are democratic by their nature. Good luck to you…
    In the end you have to do what you think is best for you and your daughter. Remember there is plenty of time – I took up triathlon in my 20’s and made the national team with no help or support from parents – that experience put me is great stead for the rest of my life and all the good things that flow from achieving at the highest level.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    @uknick and a couple others on this thread. I agree the motivation has to come from within the child. In my experience, kids will do what their parents want, without complaint, until they are extremely unhappy. And I think the parents are sometimes unaware of how they feel - not because they are bad parents, but in this kids can be really tough to read.
    I had two nieces with a sports-minded dad. One played basketball but wasn't especially good. The other was a talented (state-level, not Olympic) gymnast. When their father moved out, each gave up her sport within six months.
    The same thing happened to me. My 11-year-old told me she wanted to run a 10K. She gamely kept up with her training, finished the race, then would have nothing to do with running for, well, it'll be a year next month. A real shame, because she is naturally quite fast.
    To the original post: some kids are naturally quite talented at an early age, but their progress slows. Others develop later. My nephew was an all star everything through sixth grade, but by high school he was 'merely' a good athlete. for example, he was a starter in basketball, but hardly the best player.
    Young for my speed. . .

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    This thread troubles me because I think it speaks to many of the problems with youth sports today. I see parents at meets berating their kids or obsessing about the times of other kids. All a kid can do is swim their races and do the best they can. What another kid is doing is irrelevant and destructive. No matter how hard your kid trains there will 100% of the time be faster kids.

    Having said that, your child appears to be a decent swimmer but is in a program that is skimpy on the yards. I don't think you need the mammoth yards at that age but more than a few times a week of 1200 does seem appropriate.

    My opinion is that you chose a good program, trust the coaches and back off. I pay $190 a month X 2 and I don't consider it imperative for me to second guess the professional coaches. If you don't like the program, find another one. Don't sit on deck and watch, let them be kids and have fun at practice. Hard work can be fun.

    Best of luck.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAC40 View Post
    I was really hoping comments would not be directed so much as "how I parent" but instead my actual question as to what allows 9 year old kids to swim so fast.
    Well, yeah.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    I can understand about the whole "parent" thing and I agree completely. Know that many times I've offered my daughter a chance to "take a break" from swimming and do something else yet she insists that she wants to continue swimming. I do attend most of her meets but just sit on the bleachers as I see too many parents standing near the edge of the pools screaming and yelling at there kids which I refuse to do.

    I like one poster here have the attitude that if she WANTS MY HELP I will be there to give it to her but by asking for it she must understand that my word is law and not to question me otherwise do not ask for it.

    I am not worried at all that my daughter still has a love for swimming. I think it's so entrenched into her by now that it would take something extremely dramatic to make her want to quit. Someone here said do other things and that she has done and still continues to do. She is a very good basketball player and has done some of that but does not like it as much as swimming. She also does girlscouts and spends time with friends.

    My only concern as one fellow mentioned is what to do to get the kid to the next level.

    Private or public.

    I disagree with many who say put your kid on a team and stay away and let the coach do his job. I am not ready to trust someone so easily without first seeing how they do their job. With my daughters swim team the coach was very lazy and as I said after 8 months of swimming for him never really improved her time or improved her technique any better than it already was. I worked with my daughter for 2 1/2 months and HELLO she drops 33 total seconds.

    I don't believe in interfering with the coach but I would be doing my daughter a diservice by allowing her to stay on a team with a coach that cares more about his monthly fee and less about actual training. It's not fair to my daughter and it's not fair to me. I won't mention the fact that her team never really seemed like a "team" considering none of the kids ever associated with each other. Hardly anyone ever made an effort to befriend anyone there which was sad. Swim teams are not always good and as a parent you'd better know what you are placing your kid in because in the long run it could do more harm than good. I could care less if you call yourself a level 5 coach nationally ranked at the highest level. I think people put too much emphesis on titles than they do personality, understanding and commitment. Needless to say she is enjoying this new swim club and SHOULD get better in a technical sense working with a good instructor one on one.

    I've personally seen 9 year old marvels at meets who get the rolling of the eyes from their parents when the kid doesn't beat their time and I've seen how they are overworked to. I am doing my best to ovoid that situation. Fact is to be an excellent swimmer you need to swim but there has to be a happy medium.

    My thing is I don't want to wait until she is older before getting her good training as it is much easier to train a young swimmer than it is to train an older one who has developed bad swimming habits. Too many times I have seen parents shove their kids onto swim teams and the kid has hardly spent any quality time in lessons and it shows. I'm sorry but I believe being technically sound is far more important if you want to succeed as a swimmer than it is the social atmosphere or just "being physically mature". If you don't know what you are doing in the water I don't care if you have a body like michael phelps or HOW many friends you make at the pool it won't improve your swimming ability.
    Last edited by RAC40; January 6th, 2010 at 09:21 AM.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    I have seen kids at this age be great swimmers and I have seen that burn out too. Don't gauge your kids progress or times with others at this age. Believe you me, buy the time they are 18 and if they are still serious about swimming they will probably be the same. My daughter always lagged behind at that age, but in the teens caught up and surpassed the others. It all depends on athletic ability and maturity at such an early age.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    That I tend to agree with you as my daughter is tall and thin for her age but many of the top swimmers who she competes against are shorter but more heavily built.

    In my daughters case it will take more time for her to gain the strength needed to attain those times. Just to clarify though my daughter is only 4 seconds away average on all four strokes to reach gold time for 10 and unders. The fastest 9 year old I know personally swims a 50 free in 32 seconds and my daughter is at 35. This is where personal training comes in as a private instructor could teach her he "little" things that she may not be doing to get that last 4 seconds.

    But yeah, time will tell everything because some 9 year olds who are very fast now may have a body type that will not improve in a swimming sense as the get older and bottom out.

    Hard to say at such an early age.

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Seriously man, she's nine, relax and let her swim. Hard to tell from just internet posts but you seem a tad bit obsessed. Nothing concrete can be said about a 9 year old swimmer except maybe they get wet when they jump in the water. 33 seconds in 2 months is nothing, I've seen highly trained kids in elite programs do that and better and also go the exact opposite way, with the same pro calibre coach. They are kids, they do strange things with times.

    If you don't trust the coach, switch programs. The worst thing you can do for your kid is go berserk about all of this at 9 years.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Why is your 9 year old fast? Because she is fast. Why care beyond that from a parental standpoint?

    Now it sounds like your actual problem is that you local team has very inexperienced coaches working with the little kids and you would really like her to have working with a stroke technician at this age. Seems like a valid concern and your approach of mixing private lessons and regular practices is a decent compromise.

    A local team here has a million groups and you are placed in the appropriate group based on skill level. What they have that it doesn't sound like your group has is a elite little kid group that is coached by one of the senior coaches. Maybe you should look for a team that offers such a group.

    The problem with such a group is, what if your daughter likes being the fastest swimmer in the group she trains with now. If that is part of the fun for her, you are going to take that away when you put her in a group with other top level age group swimmers. The other problem is that such groups aren't fun, they are lots of time, lots of yardage type groups.

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAC40 View Post
    I believe this kids has gotten as fast as she will get but that's my own personal opinion.
    You think a nine year old has gotten as fast as she's going to get?

    This is the nature of sport. There will always be phenoms. I know it's difficult, but you really can't concentrate on them. Just do what you can to encourage your kid to get the most out of the sport as she can and don't focus on what others are doing.

    I also think you might need a reality check on what constitutes "fast" for young swimmers. The AAAA standard for a 50 free (SCY) for 10 and under girls is 28.29. There are lots of very fast 10 and unders.
    Last edited by knelson; January 6th, 2010 at 10:41 AM.

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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    When I was 9, I was a 30 in the 50 yard free. When I was 12 I was only a 26. When I was 14 I was only a 25. So I started out a phenom but dropped off compared to my peers quickly. If I had to guess why, it was because, when I was young I wanted to beat my sister and trained a little harder than most 9 year olds.

    When I was in college I coached private lessons for kids who were in similar situation as you. Disatisfied parents looking for alternatives to the club program. I had a couple of rules that I tried to follow:
    1) I wouldn't teach anyone under age 11
    2) I would supplement not replace club practices.

    I didn't always live up to my standards (college kids want money more than moral fortitude), but I think they are pretty sound. I am not saying you are misguided, just telling you to be careful.

    Oh and I agree wtih Geek that 1200 is not enough yardage. Ask the coach to justify why the small amount of yardage. He/She might have a good reason.

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: 9 Year Old Marvel What? But How?

    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain View Post
    The problem with such a group is, what if your daughter likes being the fastest swimmer in the group she trains with now. If that is part of the fun for her, you are going to take that away when you put her in a group with other top level age group swimmers. The other problem is that such groups aren't fun, they are lots of time, lots of yardage type groups.
    This is an excellent point. Our club has this type of team for every age group, beginning at age 10. It is a quantum leap up in intensity from the previous age group practice levels.

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