KAJ GROUP PLACEMENT PHILOSOPHY
Group placement is based on many factors (assessments, testing results and a fair amount of coaching instinct). However, there is a big picture, team-wide philosophy that drives group placement decisions. We hope that communicating these ideas will allow for a better understanding of group placement and decision making.
Some of the most important factors driving group placement are the following:
- Training ability (fitness level)
- Stroke technique
- Maturity (chronological age, physiological age, and emotional development)
- Commitment (practice attendance, meet participation, priority of the sport)
Racing times are not a primary factor for group placement, although they may be an indirect factor when the racing times translate to meet qualifications and training needs.
The swimmer’s group placement determines the training ability not the achievement of the swimmer. And by that, we mean that each group has different training pace and intensity, but do not have upper limits of achievement. In no way does group placement communicate the coaches’ belief about a swimmer’s potential.
A swimmer’s group is not meant to be a predictor of future success, nor an indicator of his/her worth to the team or to the coaches. First and last, we view swimmers as outstanding young people, and the more we can do to remove inaccurate status labels from groups, the better.
Finding the APPROPRIATE group for each swimmer is the GOAL, and doing so is our challenge. Testing protocol and an assessment for the newcomers are the main tool in the process. As the swimmer’s ability to train grows, their needs for change happens (often rapidly). The more we understand the meaning of the testing protocol the easier the swimmer group placement and out team culture will be.
Also, we understand that group movement are not a small change in your lives as parents. The group moves often change schedules, which potentially affects other activities, car pools, team dues, coaches and expectations. But just like going from elementary school to middle and high school, or from one level of math to the next, these moves can be looked upon as necessary steps along the way.
At KAJ we believe that teaching each swimmer to be accountable for their training and take ownership for their results is critical to self-development and success. A major part of that development is having a relationship with his/her coach that is built on trust and open communication. A swimmer’s face-to-face conversation with his or her coach can go a long way toward answering any questions a swimmer may have. As a parent, our expectations are for you to play a major role in helping to develop a strong relationship between your child and the coach, by providing background information to the coach about your child, including medical conditions, past experiences etc., which may be useful in knowing more about your child.