The most important component in a successful swim program is team design. The developmental sequence a swimmer goes through is determined through the skills taught and the training given at each stage. The design of the Stingray Swim Team has been established using foundations from developmental physiology, motor learning, and psychology. This blueprint will be monitored each season to ensure that it is meeting the needs of individual swimmers and the entire team. The design of the Stingray Swim Team is one of the most inclusive offered in any age group sport in Alaska. Through proper planning, Stingray Swimmers are progressively taken through skill instruction, training, racing, and the stages of becoming an athlete.
Teaching Skills: Stingray Swim Team utilizes a comprehensive approach to teaching strokes, starts, and turns. Coaches teach strokes with similar terminology (modified for the age of the teaching/training group) throughout the program. This ensures that swimmers build their strokes from group to group acquiring proficiency as they move through the program. Beginning with our entry level groups Stingray Swim Team teaches a sequence of stroke drills that improves coordination, balance in the water, feel for the water, stroke timing, and kick/stroke patterns. Drills are incorporated into every practice session. In addition, coaches use video tape to show each swimmer what they are actually doing while they swim. We feel there is no better tool to enhance stroke development than video. Few teams in the state invest as much time and energy into technique and mechanics as Stingray Swim Team.
Training Design: This is the ultimate key to success for Stingray Swim Team; Progressive Training. Coaches planning and communication is integral to this component because the planning looks forward in segments 5-6 weeks, 15-18 weeks, yearly, and on a quadrennial cycle. Swimmers must build themselves systematically, increasing duration and intensity. Stingray Swim Team's philosophy is based on building a great aerobic foundation. In building an aerobic base swimmers can recover quicker and acclimate better to all types of training and racing demands. Steadily increasing training demands both aerobically and anaerobically prepares the swimmer for better and faster performances. There is an optimum age range to improve aerobically and this depends on a swimmers age, gender, genetics and previous training background. Individualizing the training program is done for the swimmers best interest; this is why swim group assignments are ultimately decided by the coach.
Race Analysis: We have 3 stages of development in competitions.
1). Young swimmers are taught to relax in a competition setting. The goals are to climb on the blocks with a smile, do their strokes the way they have rehearsed in practice, and finish the race with a sense of accomplishment. We introduce competitions that are smaller in nature and run in a timely fashion.
2). The next progressive step in analyzing a race is evaluating the overall time and splits done during the race. Swimmers are given post race times when they review the race with their coaches. This process is reinforced when swimmers create their season goals. The goal process includes planning on doing the race properly and developing an understanding of how to construct the ideal race.
3). The final stage taught involves a complete race analysis. Swimmers are occasionally video taped at a competition and measure the variables that determine the race outcome; splits, turnover rates, and stroke counts. Swimmers are given norms and taught to analyze their race. This is the best way to evaluate a swim, compare to past performances, and to learn what is required for an optimal performance.
The Willing Athlete: Information is given at the swimmers age level on many areas including; nutrition, goal setting, sportsmanship, and ways to evaluate performances. When swimmers enter the Senior portion of Stingray Swim Team, time is spent on bringing all the instruction and information given over years of age group swimming together so that each individual has the opportunity to experience what is called "being the athlete". This includes the discipline required to be an athlete at the pool and away from the pool, the ability to set relevant and achievable goals, the understanding of how to control emotions at race time, and how to be a good teammate. It is the goal of Stingray Swim Team to help parents prepare our children for success by giving them an opportunity to build these lifetime skills.
Coaching: To become the best athlete you can be takes expert coaching in a number of specialty areas; including physiology, biomechanics, sports psychology, management and organization. Coaching experience is crucial in leading and directing swimmers to success. Stability and past success in coaching are important keys in choosing coaches to guide you in your effort to be the best that you can be. The highest levels of coaching knowledge, skills, experience, creativity and commitment are available to you at Stingray Swim Team!
Fun: Underlying the entire Stingray Swim Team program is the key element of having fun. Early in the process coaches make sure that swimmers enjoy their time during practices by mixing skill development and conditioning with social interactions and games. Later training groups emphasize the value of being in great condition, enjoying traveling to competitions, and building a peer group that makes time at the pool worthwhile and memorable. One of the greatest quotes by a swimmer was from Pablo Morales speaking of his years as an age group swimmer when he said "we worked so hard in practice … but we didn't know it because we were having so much fun" - now that is our goal!
Swim Groups: Our swim groups are aligned to insure progression in skills and training abilities. Each age and developmental stage of a swimmer lends itself to a particular type of training and skill instruction. We are preparing Stingray swimmers to be their best at each level. A general guide to our swim groups are below. Time and training standards for each group are determined by the coaching staff.
Copper Group (non-competitive)