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Practice Groups

PRACTICE GROUPS

The Aquajets Swim Team offers a wide variety of training group levels, each developed and structured with the purpose of creating a long-term passion for competitive swimming. We do our best to make swimming fun, exciting and fulfilling for each team member, from swimmers at the State and National level to those who recently completed swim lessons. 

The Aquajets’ practice group criteria have been developed to responsibly train athletes as they grow and mature. Young swimmers are continually going through tremendous changes both physically and emotionally, even within one season. Emphasis in proper technique training, aerobic development, kicking and dryland training make up the foundations of our program’s levels no matter what stages of growth and development a swimmer may be in at any point in time.

Determining the Best Fit
Because all kids develop at different stages and rates, a cookie cutter method does not work. As a result, coaches use a three-layered approach in determining the best fit for each swimmer's stage of development:
    •  Age of the swimmer
    •  Physical abilities (practice and meets)
    •  Emotional readiness 

Many misunderstandings happen when swimmers (and parents) focus mainly on the time standards criteria for group moves. Often, this mindset means that a swimmer's season successes (or failures) are based solely on whether the swimmer moves to a new practice group. Swimmers want to avoid this mindset in their training and when determining success; much more goes into the coach's decision to move swimmers to a new training group then just simply achieving "Champ" or "A" times.

Below is a detailed breakout of what the coaches look for in the three-layered approach for group placement: 

   Age of the Swimmer
   •  Gold group: ages 6-8
   •  Blue group: ages 9-11
   •  Junior group: ages 11-13
   •  Senior group: ages 14+
   •  National group: ages 15+ with specific qualifying times

   Physical Abilities
   •  Practice Training
   •  Sustained effort level throughout practices and practice sets  
   •  Attends practices regularly
   •  Prepared to begin practice on time
   •  Completes full practices and practice sets without multiple
       
interruptions and stopping
   •  Successfully completes all challenge sets
   •  Trains up to ability in practices (example: swimmers who
       achieve higher time standards at meets, but continually train at
       the back of the group in practice, or behind swimmers who may
       not have achieved higher time standards, are considered not

       swimming up to their ability level)
   •  Consistently training among the leaders of the group 
       
and/or lane
   •  Goes above and beyond the bare minimum
   •  Meet Performance
   •  Time Standards 
   •  Event repertoire (i.e.: a mix of distances - 50s, 100s, 200s, and
       the four competitive strokes)

   Emotional Readiness
   •  Demonstrates “coach-ability" 
   •  Listens while the coach is speaking
   •  Grasps instructions/concepts quickly
   •  Able to receive feedback and apply instructions in training and
       competition

   •  Demonstrates emotional maturity
   •  Demonstrates sustained concentration on the task at hand
   •  Positive influence among teammates.
   •  Acts responsibly in and out of the pool
   •  Has an “I can” attitude (especially when things are not going as
       hoped)

   •  Demonstrates resiliency and overcomes adversity 
   •  Demonstrates intrinsic motivation

In determining group placement for the upcoming season, coaches are not hasty in their decision. We observe swimmers' training patterns, collect and analyze data, and collaborate with one another to determine the best fit for each swimmer. The entire process takes a full season to figure out, which starts on the first day of practice. 

When the coaching staff has observed that all three layers are present, they will begin initiating the swimmer’s move to a new and more appropriate level. Swimmers and parents should keep in mind that in the larger scheme of a swimming career, practice group placement is only temporary and moving to a more rigorous group lies within the swimmer’s own preparation, attitude and effort. In order to meet increased rigors and intensity in training of the next practice group, swimmers MUST demonstrate they can swim above and beyond the challenges of their current practice group. Coaches place swimmers in groups where they will have the best opportunity to reach their full potential, as well as prevent injury and avoid getting overwhelmed and discouraged. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your swimmer's coach.