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Thread: Coaching advice

  1. #1

    Coaching advice

    I'm a newer coach and just starting working with a different age group.

    Obviously physical development can make a big difference at this age. (13-15)

    Any advice to dealing with the difference in maturity. For example I have two 14 year olds that have always been similar speed. One of them has really developed over the last year and really improved in comparison.

    It's been discouraging for the other kid who hasn't hit puberty. Q1.) how do you encourage or talk to the less developed swimmer?
    Q2.) Should I train the more developed swimmer differently. They are both still young but physically in much different places.

  2. #2
    Active Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Knoxville, TN

    Re: Coaching advice

    I assume these are boys. As a parent, I have 12 y/o girls, so similar issues. Mine have not been through puberty, yet. The biggest advice I can give you is to talk to the parents, and let the parents encourage the underdeveloped kid. As a coach, I would do little more than encourage him to just work hard, but don't address the issue any more than in passing. Some kids will look for excuses for not reaching their potential, so I would be concerned that as a coach, if you dwell on it, it would enable that. Again, work with parents so he is getting encouraged, but not being given a crutch. Point out smaller swimmers who perform well, Elizabeth Beisel is not so big by Olympic swimming standards. It may help the kid. Anecdotally, one of my girls has always worked hard, and being the smallest kid in her peer group just made her work harder. She has several AAAA swims at this point, and is now much faster than a great many of her peers who have always been bigger (and had been much faster) than her. She is actually faster than the senior girls on the team in all but a few events.

    His time will come. Just encourage him to work hard and fight through it.

    As for training them, I am not a coach, only a parent, so I'm not competent to give advice on that. But the pre-pubescent kid will be able to recover from the workouts more quickly, so that may be a consideration. Have him talk to his physician if you are considering weights.

    And again, want to make sure I state that I'm giving you the parent's perspective, not a coach's.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Blog Entries

    Re: Coaching advice

    Generally good ideas, like this one:
    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    As a coach, I would do little more than encourage him to just work hard,
    but I'd like to chime in on this point.
    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    His time will come. Just encourage him to work hard and fight through it.
    Maybe, and maybe not, and it is difficult to predict how much, so I would be reluctant as a parent (or coach) to suggest that eventually a growth spurt will produce time drops. First of all, for girls, it is not at all uncommon that their lifetime best swims are just before puberty, especially in fly and breast. Presumably this is because that is when their power/weight ratio is maximum and these are the more strength-dependent strokes. For boys, the growth spurt with puberty sometimes produces good time gains, but not always. I've observed a lot of boys, (during my youth, and again later as a parent) who's 100 SCY free time gradually dropped to right about 1:00, then dropped to ~:53 with puberty. This seems remarkably common among run-of-the-mill male swimmers. In my case, my 100 SCY fr time gradually dropped to 1:01, pretty much like many other boys, then in one year dropped a whole 3 seconds to 57 with puberty, and never got faster. Oh I suppose I could have been faster with better training, more specificity, blah blah blah, but the point is that a 7-8s drop is very typical, but that does't mean it will happen for everyone. Another point of reference, the percentage of NAG record holders at 10 who go on to be nationally competitive at 18 y.o. is quite small, maybe just 10% or so.

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