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Thread: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

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    Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    I have a 12-year-old son who is in his third year of competitive swimming (He's been in swimming lessons since he was 6 months old but never swam competitively until he was 10). No one in my family as ever been a competitive swimmer so I am still learning all the nuances of the swim world, even after three years into it.

    Given that, I am trying to educate myself on what is the typical amount of "coaching" a swimmer gets at this age (or any age really)? What I mean is, I know by this age they pretty much have their strokes down but I'm thinking there are still things that need to be fine tuned. So how often does a coach or assistant coach say, "Your arms are crossing over during your free, trying doing this to lessen that." or "Your arms need to shoot out right away during your breast so you glide more."? Is it typical to have swimmers at this age just swim laps with no input from the coaches other than what to do next?

    Any insight is helpful. I still feel like a fish out of water at times.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Talk to the coach. They may be working on one facet now. It may be building stamina. I dont know. Certainly not all coaches are as involved as we may like, but they are almost all.smarter than the parents (that would include me).

    But one thing to know is that swimming is a very complex, and counterintuitive action. And an athlete can only process and put into place one thing at a time. Maybe he is working on getting one sspect solidified before working on others. You have to break it down and build it piece by piece

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Some things to add:

    The head coach rarely works with the older swimmers, it is mostly (like 99% of the time) an Asst. Coach that is in charge of the older swimmers. The Asst. Coach (last year and this year) just tells the swimmers the set they need to do and that is all. They provide very little (if any) technique critiquing.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Quote Originally Posted by fishiefish View Post
    Some things to add:

    The head coach rarely works with the older swimmers, it is mostly (like 99% of the time) an Asst. Coach that is in charge of the older swimmers. The Asst. Coach (last year and this year) just tells the swimmers the set they need to do and that is all. They provide very little (if any) technique critiquing.
    So you really just came here to complain about your coach. Seems a meeting with the coach would be a better and more productive approach.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    So you really just came here to complain about your coach. Seems a meeting with the coach would be a better and more productive approach.
    No, I didn't come to complain, I like the coaches and have nothing against them. I honestly asked to see if this was standard practice based on what others have experienced. If it is, it is and I have no qualms with it.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Quote Originally Posted by fishiefish View Post
    No, I didn't come to complain, I like the coaches and have nothing against them. I honestly asked to see if this was standard practice based on what others have experienced. If it is, it is and I have no qualms with it.
    I would not call a 12 year old an older swimmer. Granted, my kids' team is pretty atypical in that we have a lot of senior swimmers relative to the team size.

    But seriously, ask if you can have a few minutes with teh coach to gain an understanding of how things work.

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    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Welcome to the forum! It's great that you're seeking to educate yourself as much as possible - knowledge is power. The amount of feedback depends on the coach - some coaches tend to give a lot of input while others may not. Additionally, it is often very difficult to provide individual feedback when there are a lot of other swimmers in the practice itself, so look for the feedback should be inherent in the practice itself (in other words, reflected in the kicking, drills and interval sets administered by the coach). If you don't feel that your son is getting enough technical advice, you might talk to the coach and see whether he will provide individualized sessions for swimmers - or you can also seek out camps and clinics - whether offered by your team or through others- that are geared towards providing developing swimmers with technical feedback and instruction. Swimming is a long journey, so take your time and continue educating yourself on the sport. Good luck to you and your son!

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimspire View Post
    If you don't feel that your son is getting enough technical advice, you might talk to the coach and see whether he will provide individualized sessions for swimmers - or you can also seek out camps and clinics - whether offered by your team or through others- that are geared towards providing developing swimmers with technical feedback and instruction. Swimming is a long journey, so take your time and continue educating yourself on the sport.
    Oh, here we go with the feelings. That's probably the last thing that should be considered. I would suggest you look at what your club's mission is and how many swimmers they have in the water at once. That is the best barometer of the kind of coaching your child will receive. Clubs have different models. For instance, if you have 30 kids in the water and 1 coach, then you are probably getting what you paid for. If, however, the ratio is smaller, then you have some decisions to make possibly. And head coach is a lot of different things. It is the head coach of the club, the lead coach of the group, the lead coach of the entire age group, etc??

    Going to your coach and asking for lessons or asking for camps is some kind of insulting. If a family is asking this, it's a huge red flag. Jumping immediately to privates or camps is not the best way to go. A meeting away from the deck with the coach usually clears everything up, or makes it worse, who knows.

    I consider 15 - 18 to be older swimmers. 12 is right in the middle for most larger clubs.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    Oh, here we go with the feelings. That's probably the last thing that should be considered..............

    Going to your coach and asking for lessons or asking for camps is some kind of insulting. If a family is asking this, it's a huge red flag.
    "Feelings" in this context means "opinion," sheesh.

    As for the private coaching. Wow. Just. Wow. Could not disagree more. Maybe there is a regional thing or something, but around here, they are common, from 8 year olds all the way to one of our kids who is swimming in the TYR Pro meet tomorrow (who has a lesson once per week). In some cases, the parents approach the coach, in others, the coach asks the kids. Any coach that gets offended by a swimmer who cares enough to want some private coaching is a huge red flag for me. And it ain't about "feelings," it is about giveacraps.

    FWIW, heard an interview with Neal Peart a day or so after he died. One of the best handful of drummers in the world. He still took lessons, even in his 60's.

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    As for the private coaching. Wow. Just. Wow. Could not disagree more. Maybe there is a regional thing or something, but around here, they are common, from 8 year olds all the way to one of our kids who is swimming in the TYR Pro meet tomorrow (who has a lesson once per week).
    I live in your region and we have 20+ club kids in Knoxville this weekend, and in every big meet nationally. If your club is so inadequate that weekly lessons are needed, it's time to find a new club.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    First of all, I would like to congratulate the original poster for reaching out to learn more about our great sport. As you can see from the responses the subject of age group coaching is a very hot topic among swimming parents. As a former ASCA age group coach of the year, I will share some of my opinions on this topic. Understand, these are only my opinions and likely if you were to ask 10 age group coaches, you will get 10 different opinions...

    To begin with whether your child is being coached by a "Head Coach" or an "Assistant Coach" largely does not matter. What does matter is that the coach is providing a positive and challenging environment for your child. How many days per week is your child swimming? Are the practices challenging (the best test here is if your child is tired when (s)he get's out of practice)? Does the coach force your child to "think" during practice? Do the children in the training group seem to have a good level of camaraderie - at practice and at meets? Finally, and in my opinion most importantly, is your child swimming faster and improving (this is the easiest to figure out - are his/her times getting faster at meets?)? If the answers to these questions are generally yes, then you are likely in a good place. If not, then you likely should begin to ask for a meeting with the coach(es) to discuss and understand why not. As a retired age group coach, I always respected and enjoyed meeting with parents to discuss both our training program and the specific performance of their swimmers. Usually when performance was discussed, I would have attendance records and could largely demonstrate how performance and practice attendance are directly correlated.

    The one thing that I can assure you is that after years of competing at a very high level, coaching at a very high level, and now swimming and coaching masters - Swimming is a sport with no shortcuts. Your child's improvement and development will be directly proportional to their willingness to commit to attending practice, listening and learning from their coaches, developing skills, and most importantly - training hard.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    This is a good article. Don't be swayed by the "10 and under," similar principles apply. https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.co...-swim-parents/

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Seems to me that what the kid/swimmer wants ought to be the primary concern. Sure, the parents are paying for the kid to be part of the team/club. The parent and child should determine what they want from the team. If the kid isn't so concerned about getting faster, but just wants to join...and if the particular club/team/coach is primarily concerned with winning...then maybe the parents/kid should find another team/club. When my daughter swam in h.s. she didn't really care about becoming a faster swimmer. (She didn't swim on teams as a youth.) In h.s. she just wanted to swim and be with friends. She, like lots of other kids on the team, did it only for the social aspect...to be part of a group, to make and be with friends. That's sort of why they don't have 'tryouts' and don't cut kids from the h.s. team. (That's how it is in my area. Maybe in other areas school swim teams do have tryouts/cuts.) Other than the cost of a swimsuit, goggles, and cap...there's no charge to be on the h.s. team. Club teams might be different.

    In regard to participation where kids (via their parents) pay be on the team...
    When my kids were young, there were a few times I coached their youth sports teams. Not swimming, but baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. Me coaching was usually a result of not enough people stepping up to coach (people who know the particular sport much better than I)...which would result in fewer teams, with more kids per team, and thereby less playing time per kid. I was somewhat of an anomaly among the youth league coaches, with a different participation philosophy. Since the parents were paying for their kid to be on the team, I tried to ensure that every kid on my team had equal amount of minutes in games. Winning wasn't primary. Having fun was. Only if the games were close at the end...then I might put the better players in for extra minutes.

    So, I say that because I feel that if the swim team in question requires payment to participate...then all swimmers/parents should get equal time from the coach.

    Dan

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    I think it depends on the relationships triangle: kids-parents-coach. I was a swimming coach at a local private school and then they fired me because of conflicts with parents... An unpleasant thing, but this experience taught me some important aspects of coaching: parents always protect their kids and think their kids are always right (no matter what); I know what helicopter parenting actually is and I've met a couple of mama's boys; coaches/teacher should always have an adequate reaction to an inadequate situation.

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    Re: Fairly New Swim Parents Looking for Insight

    Thank you everyone! I do really appreciate all the responses.

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