May 10, 2013
Sports do not build character, they reveal it.
- Haywood Hale Brown
Bring in your 2012 Year End Trophies: There are still a few of our club trophies in the hands of last season’s winners – please ensure that you return them to the club office by Monday at the latest! And plan to be at the Year End Celebration at Manitou Park in Naramata on June 4th to hear who this year’s winners are! Sign up will be available on the website next week.
Advise our Club President if you have broken a Club Record this season! Check out our current club records here. If you believe that you have broken one of these records this season, please email Nancy Telford (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, age, event, and time!
Get sized for next season’s new team suit: Please have your swimmer try on bathing suits at Friday or Saturday’s practice so that you will know what size to order next season – and don’t forget . . . girls, please ensure you know your “back” preference!
Order your track pants soon: Once we have received the sizing kit for the track pants, we will be taking orders if you didn’t order them with your track jacket – we will let you know soon! And . . . jackets are going to be ready shortly as well – thanks for your patience!
Start thinking about registration for next season: Registration for returning swimmers will be open on July 1st. Registration for new swimmers will be open on August 1st. This year, you will be able to order team gear (bathing suits, track suits) at the time you register. Remember, when three family members register, you get 10% off of your registration . . . this includes KISU parents who register for Masters! Something to think about, yes?!?
. . . Still More Parent Article from Coach Michael Brooks
Unfortunately, no child is the perfect swimmer: listening to everything the coach tells her, doing everything right the first time and every time thereafter, getting best times in every race at every meet, swimming with beautiful strokes both in practice and in races, etc. Novice parents need an instruction manual, and veteran parents sometimes need a reminder.
Kids are inconsistent. There is nothing that any coach or parent can do to change this. A ten-year old swimmer who knows better will in the pressure of a meet do a flip-turn on breaststroke. Another young swimmer will take twenty seconds off her best time in a race this week, and next week add it all back, with interest. One week it will seem that the butterfly is mastered, and the next week that we’ve never even been introduced to the stroke. A senior swimmer will take ten seconds off her best time one race, then an hour later add ten seconds in her next race. It’s enough to make your hair turn grey. Take a few deep breaths. Learn to expect it and even to enjoy it, or at least to remain calm when it happens.
So, you thought she was a backstroker. Age groupers change favorite or “best” strokes approximately every other day. A stroke will “click” suddenly, and then later just as suddenly un-click. A stroke the child hated becomes her favorite by virtue of her having done well at yesterday’s meet. These are implicit arguments for having kids swim all four strokes in practice and meets, and for not allowing early specialization.
Beware false comparisons. Kids grow and develop at different rates. Kids learn at different rates and in different ways. Kids have different abilities. One swimmer picks up the breaststroke kick in a day; it takes another swimmer a year to master the same skill. Two swimmers the same age on adjacent blocks resemble a giant and a pygmy. If you pay close attention, you could probably write a treatise on motor learning after watching just one practice of young swimmers. Be careful of comparing your swimmer to others, and especially be careful of comparing your swimmer to others in her hearing. Never never never measure the continuing success of your child by his performance against a particular competitor, who is likely to be on a completely different biological timetable from your child. Doing so makes you either despondent or arrogant.
Why doesn’t he look like Michael Phelps? Little kids are not strong enough or coordinated enough for their strokes to look like the elite senior swimmers, no matter how much stroke work they do or how hard they try. And parents shouldn’t stress about a little thing that a swimmer struggles with for a time, such as a proper breaststroke kick, or the timing of the breath in butterfly. Kids seem to get these things when they are ready, and not until: “on God’s time, not Mom’s.” We are winning the game if they steadily improve their motor control and stroke efficiency, steadily improve their aerobic conditioning, and steadily improve their attitudes. Michael Phelps didn’t always look like Michael Phelps, either.
How they do versus what they do. Especially at younger ages, how fast a child swims and how well he places in a meet have little significance for how that swimmer will do as a senior. Many national caliber athletes were not at all noteworthy as ten year olds. Competition times and places often tell you not about the amount of athletic potential a child has, but about how early a developer he is. What is truly important in determining future swimming success is what happens everyday in practice: Is he developing skills and technique? Is he internalizing the attitudes of a champion? Is he gradually building an aerobic base and building for the future? The work done is cumulative, with every practice adding a stone to what will eventually become Chartres Cathedral.