I don't know why any sane human goes to a kid's practice unless they are swimming themselves. That is 2-3 hours of kid-free time. Let the coaches have the drama. I have to rush home and see what Fort's workout was that day and wait for qbrain to ever update his blog.
I can attest to the fact that there are parents out there who attend practices and pay no attention whatsoever. On our summer rec team most of the parents just sit and chat during the practices.
My husband and I chat, but we also watch the practices. We live far enough away from the pool that we can't drive back and forth for all 3 kids. And we're usually at the pool for about 3 hours during the summer (wondering if we'll get to our practices ever!)
We want to know what the coach is telling the kids (more specifically the verbiage used) so that we can support that too. For example, if the coach says "be a pencil" and we know that was referring to streamline, we can reinforce that with our kids.
I have gone over to my own swimmers/kids during a workout. Usually, they have goggle issues and call me over. Sometimes however, for example, when I noticed my daughter stopping at the flags every lap, I went over to her and quietly whispered, "you practice how you race". She started swimming all the way to the wall. It was a gentle reminder. She could have continued to not swim to the wall, and that would have been fine with me (I wasn't going to get mad), but I know she likes to race and she likes to win- that's fun for her, so I try to help her when I can.
Please know that summer rec is nutty in that there are SO many kids in the water at once. And while we have the most outstanding coaches, if I see something continue that should be corrected, I will quietly go mention it. The coaches are my friends too so that helps! My husband and I would often commiserate with them about how to help them swim better. It is definitely better to have many knowledgeable eyes watching
When my kids swam USS 2 years ago I did not feel that I could go onto the deck and do that. It would not have been appropriate.
It was quite capable in the water, perhaps a little on the slow side, but it wasn't impressed by my appearance.
This is a great thread and I'd like to put in my two cents. Technical proficiency of a stroke is a critical block in a foundation for swimming success. So, it is indeed important that a swimmer learn proper technique but it's a very rare occurance when a parent can successfully take on that coaching role (not impossible but very very rare). When a parent is so dissatisfied with the coach / program that they want a change. there's a couple questions they should ask themselves.
1) Are they willing to move to a place where they have observed a coach / program and believe it will provide their child the service that will meet their needs?
2) Are they willing to move when or if the coach moves?
3) Would it be better to orchestrate a periodic, coaching and / or swimming clinic to help move the entire program in a positive direction?
4) As their child gets older will other coaches be replacing the previous coach ( a better coach)?
5) Are they willing to apply for an assistant coaching position and potentially become the head coach without undermining the current hierarchy. There's nothing worse than someone wanting to help and ends up creating nothing but trouble causing the old coach headaches and maybe heartaches. Great coaches have been ousted by nothing more than one parent who's great at causing trouble. I know of too many terrible and true stories involving parents of even Olympians who have made coaches either quit or move because of their behavior and back-stabbing
Anyway, I thought the above ideas were some things to think about. A lot of great suggestions and I hope this parent gets positive results that turn their child into a swimmer the other kids love and not dislike. Good luck, Coach T.
c'mon guys, just answer her questions without pointing fingers, insulting, and or attacking
parents care about their kids
we want them not to suck
we want to help them to achieve their potential
it drives us crazy when they don't
but there is the issue with overzealous parents
each kid has her own trajectory
Genetics help, if two champion swimmers/athletes breed and put their kids in a descent swimming program theres a good chance the kid could be really good. The Halls, the Spanns, the smiths.
Katie Hoff's mom was a champion basketball player.
I think killer instinct comes from the kid. At some point, great genetics and talent need to work hard for very long. If parents feel their kids have great talent, some search the country for the best coaches and move. In swimming this happens with high school age kids 14 & up
Many families moved to be coached by Randy Reese in Austin, swimmers moved to be coached by Paul Bergen when I was in high school.
This happens in gymnastics. If a girl shows great ability in gymnastics, they need to be in a great program by age 8, 9, or 10 to have a chance to make it to the national level.
Some mentioned Michael Phelps, saying he didn't do doubles to 18. I'm pretty sure he did doubles in high school. I don't think he lifted weights till 19.
Also when Michael was 12 or 13, his coach Bob Bowman saw his talent and desire. Bob talked with his mom, saying something like Michael could be really great in swimming, but he needs to train incredibly hard every day. She got him to practice. When Michael was 14 he started breaking national records and when he was 15 he made the 2000 Olympic team. Michael had 5 year stretch where he trained every day, sometimes twice a day.
Most teams train 6 days a week and take sunday off. it's just one extra day a week but it's 52 more practices each year times 5 years. Phelps did 260 more practices.
Last edited by ande; January 6th, 2010 at 04:44 PM.
Ande - this is all well and good but only a few will ever swim with the likes of a Hall, Hoff, Phelps. All it takes is one crazed parent to cause major issues. We all want what is best for our kids, but have to be mindful our kids are around other kids. Sometimes you suck it up for the good of the team. Today's youth sports have a major issue with bad parents and I see it at every single meet I attend. It's bizarre and disruptive and the kids all know who has a nutty parent and they talk. Paying $190/month does not entitle anyone to put their kid and their opinions over the rest of the team. However, I do realize I have a fairly ideal swimming situation and am partially blind to some issues but certainly not blind to the loco mcsupid parents.
RAC- I haven't called you a single name. And I was merely relating a time when it was appropriate to help my daughter out. I have some swimming knowledge and background, as does my husband, and we are able to successfully impart that knowledge to our kids.
I am not an overbearing, helicopter parent. My daughter had an amazing year last year due to her own efforts, perseverance, coachability, and desire to do well. It was not because I was comparing her to other 6 year olds.
Ande- I think RAC is male.
Your child's achievements or lack thereof don't necessary reflect parenting skills. Great parents can have kids with issues and parents with issues can have great kids. Being a caring parent is fine, but getting unduly wound up in your child's accomplishments or swimming progress or "education" (in 3rd grade) is not. As Geek notes, there are too many locomcstupid parents. The kids and coaches all know and gossip about them. What is it with watching USAS practices?! Coaches hate that. And after age 9 or so, the kids will hate it too.
And seriously ... what your kid does at 6 or 9 isn't necessarily predictive of their ability or likelihood of becoming a star swimmer or rocket scientist. Sheesh.
This is a very bizarre thread, but perhaps reflective of how parents who didn't swim themselves think about their kids' swimming.
There are a few posters on this board who were very good age group swimmers and who went on to become very good senior/masters swimmers. Good here is a relative term.
Ask them if they can remember some of the 9-10, 11-12 or even 13-14 age group phenom's who disappeared from the scene before college, or perhaps even before Jr/Sr Nationals... I can recall several from my time.
Being "great" at age 9 is almost certainly a ticket to oblivion before the kid should be at their prime. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule (Phelps, blah blah blah). But far more common is the age group stud who was big for their age and then stops growing (big=fast for age), plateaus when their body changes and are unable to make technique adjustments, or who loses interest when the pack catches up.
The OP needs to chill out and see what happens. Sure, technique is important when you're young. So is good coaching. But far more important is having fun at the pool. And a parent watching every workout is NOT fun.
This bush league psyche-out stuff. Laughable, man - ha ha!
One way to discover the answer to your initial question -- what makes one swimmer the same age better than another -- is to join a masters group and swim with them for a while. I guarantee you that there will be at least one swimmer in the group who will amaze you by being one of the fastest swimmers there, but who looks like s/he couldn't complete a 200 of anything out of the water. Too fat, too thin, too old, too dorky, too whatever, and yet this masters phenom will click off set after set with the fastest group in the pool. Watch and try and figure out how s/he does it, ask him or her how it's done, talk to the coach, and try and incorporate what you learn into your own swimming. Try a local masters meet and note the same things. Go to USMS Nationals and check out the fastest heats.
The answer is that there are no universal answers, especially when it comes to age groupers and masters. Ultimately what makes a champion is a convergence of talent, desire, work ethic, and opportunity. A parent has limited control over opportunity. The rest is entirely up to the child.
At this point in the development of our society, there is virtually no writing which has not been plagiarized at least in part from another. I read that somewhere.
This was no boating accident.
Fact is, nobody on this message board gives a you know what about my daughter except her family. You get one shot at life and if you screw it up you will be working at the local Target in the check out line. Maybe that's why american kids score lower than many other countries in education because parents don't stick their nose in enough. Maybe that's why when I go to the mall all I ever see are young teenage kids doing nothing but acting stupid for their soon to be pregnant girlfriends.
Am I too concerned with my daughters 3rd grade education?
You bet and it ain't going to change anytime soon.
Way too "Ionic" for me.
I'm outta here.
Being caring and involved is good; being wound up just isn't. Sometimes benign neglect can be a parenting skill. I hope you're a masters swimmer just for your blood pressure!
Ionic about sums it up, Karen!
Last edited by The Fortress; January 6th, 2010 at 06:56 PM.
I have to chime in here.
I can recall a great many world beater 9-12yos who disappear later on. Effective swimming relies on so many moving parts. And in children, there are so many aspects that can be at different developmental stages that trying to determine a single reason for performance differences is nearly impossible prior to puberty or even prior to full physical and mental maturity.
Just some of the moving parts of the maturity model:
1) Physical - being stronger, taller, etc.
2) Neurological - superior coordination, ability to recruit more muscle fibers during movement
3) Cognitive - better learning skills, grasp of concepts
4) Proprioceptive - better spatial awareness, understanding what a full arm extension feels like, etc
5) Perceptual - better 'feel' for the water, etc.
As for being the dreaded helicpoter parent. I'm terrrified of becoming _that_ parent with my 11yo daughter so much so that I think I overcompensate when she asks me swimming related questions (and I am a swim coach, with the team she swims with).
But at the end of the day, it comes down to this. Do they enjoy swimming? Because if they do and continue to enjoy it and continue to pursue it, that enjoyment may grow to a passionate love of the sport. And that is the goal. Everything that is destined to happen will come about as a result of that.
I've noticed my swimming buddies with swimming kids are much cooler about the whole age group thing than the parents who don't swim. This is probably true for all sports.
RAC - you need to swim with USMS, might reduce your compulsion to hang out at malls and USAS practices since you'll be too tired to move at night. Want proof - check out Fort's, Chris' or pwbrundage's blog.
It took me seven years to drop 3 seconds in my 200 free as a Masters. Maybe I should have taken my Dad to my Master's practices to hover over me and berate me, seems to work for RAC.
So my daughter is really fast too. At 7 she is beating my age group times and not far off 10 and under JO cuts in Fl... That said, I don't think it is appropriate to really start pressing her training until she gets closer to her teen years. I want her to have fun! Have the great memories of friends and good-times that I had as a kid in age-group swimming. All the girls that she swims with are great friends.