May 23, 2013
“The strength of
the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is
ý Phil Jackson
1. Sign up for the June Time Trial: And don’t forget about the bike ride to Tickleberries after!
2. Sign up for AA’s: If your swimmer has a AA time (and no AAA times) be sure to sign them up asap for the LC AA Championship Meet in Victoria.
3. Have you: Signed up for the Year End Awards Night and the Loco Landing Fun Day? Don’t forget . . . log in to your account and do it now! :)
4. Email Jill: if you haven’t already let her know about your mini squad swimmer who moved up to Juniors for May and June.
No, we haven’t lost them in someone’s basement . . . they are in the process of getting embroidered and we will have them to you as soon as possible! Thanks for your patience!
So much good info from the Parent Article from Coach Michael Brooks!
Bigger is better?? The subject of early and late bloomers is a sensitive one, but nonetheless very important for parents to understand. Early and late bloomers each have “virtues” and “challenges.”
To begin with early developers. They get bigger and stronger earlier than the other kids, which means they are more likely to win their races or place well. That early success is the virtue. However, because they can often win without having to work on their technique or train very hard, often they do not develop a solid work ethic, and often their technique is poor as they bull through the water. Note that from the child’s immediate perspective, NOT working hard and NOT working on technique is a rational choice. After all, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”: what he has done has obviously been working, so why should he listen to the coach telling him that he needs to work harder or change his stroke? He beats all the other kids who do listen to the coach, work harder, and change their strokes!
So our pragmatist turns fifteen or sixteen, and suddenly the other kids whom he used to thrash in meets are catching up to him and even passing him. The size and strength advantage that he had relied on has deserted him, and he has no technique or work ethic to fall back on. He is not long for the sport: many early bloomers quit when their easy successes dry up. We avoid this future problem by not allowing the early bloomers to bask in the temporary limelight, but training them for their long run benefit, and educating them and their parents about how they should judge their own performances both in meets and in practices.
Next come the late bloomers. They are smaller and weaker than the others, so they get crushed in swimming meets. If the coach, swimmer, and parent emphasize place standings and winning, then there is little chance that this late bloomer will stay in the sport. This, too, is rational: “Why should I keep swimming? I’m obviously lousy, even though I’m working my guts out and doing everything the coach asks. I’m still getting crushed! I’m just not meant to be a swimmer.”
That is the obvious downside. However, if the coach and parents can help the swimmer find enough rewards from swimming, for instance improvement, meeting personal challenges, friendships, etc., to stick it out through the lean years, and if she relies on technique and hard work to overcome the temporary physical deficit, then she is in the driver’s seat in a few years. It is usually the case that the late bloomers end up bigger and stronger than the others – it just takes them longer to get there. And the qualities in the water and in their heads serve them well in senior swimming.
Note well: it is almost impossible to tell how much potential your swimmer has for swimming, by looking at 10 & Under meet results. Races will often just tell you who is bigger and stronger, and that probably won’t last.
Puberty complicates everything. You would think that because with maturation kids are getting bigger and presumably stronger, they would be necessarily be getting faster in the process. Yes, and no. Whether fair or not, in the end puberty is highly beneficial to almost all boys, but with girls can be more ambiguous. Boys lose fat and gain muscle, getting bigger and stronger; girls, too, gain in height and strength, but they also add fat deposits. With proper nutrition (that does not mean starvation diets or eating disorders) and proper training (lots and lots of aerobic work, consistently), these questionable changes can be kept to a minimum, with no long-term harmful effects.
In the short run, during puberty kids are growing, but they are growing unevenly. Arms and legs and torsos don’t have the same proportions as they did last week, either of strength or length, so coordination can go haywire. Bones and tendons and muscles do not grow at the same rate, so ranges of motion change. Strokes may fall apart, or come and go. Also, various psychological changes are affecting swimming and everything else. Interests change and priorities are re-ordered. All these changes can cause the child’s athletic performances to stagnate or to swing wildly. It can be a highly frustrating time for all involved. Fortunately, it doesn’t last long, and the swimmer emerges from a chrysalis a beautiful (and fast and strong and mature) butterfly.
The perils of getting older. Aging up is sometimes traumatic. Overnight, formerly very good ten year olds become mediocre 11 & 12’s. And often, the better they were in the younger age group and the higher their expectations of success, the more traumatic the change is for them. Their “perceived competence” suddenly nose-dives as they race against bigger and stronger and faster competitors. They are bonsais racing sequoia trees, and the standards of judgement have ratcheted up dramatically. The fastest kids are much faster than they are, to the point that they think they cannot compete, so they figure, “Why try? Working hard isn’t going to get me far, anyway. I may as well wait until my ‘good year.’” Often we see a tremendous increase in practice intensity as swimmers approach their last meet in an age group, since they want to go out with a bang. Then after their birthday, their intensity plummets as they become just one of the pack. This is in despite of the coach’s discussing the matter with the swimmer. Unless we want to lose a year of improvement, swimmers must be made to understand that there is no “good year” or “bad year” for getting better.