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Group Placement Policy

The overall goal of the Vortex group integration is to develop skill proficient athletes that are able to advance their training and competitive swimming career through consistent practice and competition events.  The integration process builds upon a prerequisite skill set that must be in place before advancement is pursued.  The following guidelines are in place for the best interest of the athlete, the athlete’s family and the integrity of the various training groups on Team Vortex.  They are also in place to allow the Team Vortex coaching staff the ability to maintain group integrity and allow a thoughtful athlete driven advancement curve that ensures long term athlete development. The Head Coach is responsible for all group move-up decisions.

Factors that weigh into group placement and group move-up decisions:

  • Level of commitment to practice attendance and competition expectations
  • Training group effort and behavior
  • Psychological maturity level
  • Physiological needs
  • Competitive maturity
  • Independence and self-reliance
  • Age
  • Coachability

Any group move ups will be carried out by the coaching staff and will require a meeting of the swimmer and the head coach (and in some cases also a parent and/or assistant coach). The coaching staff will carefully consider four Readiness factors in assessing the swimmer’s daily attitude, effort, progress, and choices at practice. If a group move up is agreed upon, then the swimmer will transition to the new group over a period of a few weeks.

The athlete will only be moved IF they meet the requirements of:

  1. Physiological Readiness
  2. Psychological Readiness
  3. Technical Readiness
  4. Tactical Readiness

If the athlete still needs to develop in any of the categories they will remain in their current group and continue to work on the developmental factors.

 

DEFINITIONS:

Physiological Readiness: The ability to meet the physical demands of the practice group.

The swimmer is able to make the slowest intervals for the higher group, sustain themselves for the length of the workout, and is excelling beyond their current group’s physiological readiness standard. (e.g., an Elite Prep (EP) swimmer who is consistently going on the fastest EP interval or pushing themselves to the Elite intervals, is showing marked time improvements in practice and competition, and has mastered the basic dryland movements—burpee, push-up, squat, lunge, and plank.)

Psychological Readiness: The mental maturity to participate in their practice group.

The swimmer is able to self-regulate their thoughts and emotions and communicate effectively with their coaches and teammates to the level necessary for the higher practice group. (e.g., an Age Group (AG) swimmer who has the emotional intelligence to process anger/frustration and translate it into motivation, a willingness to receive corrections from their coach and put them into practice, an ability to own their attitude, and the age maturity to practice with the senior groups.)

Technical Readiness: The technical skills and consistent, daily application of those skills.

The swimmer has the known and body awareness of the strokes necessary for practice in the higher group. They consistently work to improve those skills at every practice. (e.g., an EP swimmer who is experienced in all four strokes, engaged in the learning process, actively making corrections and adjustments, and specifically, dolphin kicking out past the flags off of every wall, breathing on their second or third stroke of every wall, has a mastery of freestyle, and is making efforts towards mastery of the other three strokes.)

Tactical Readiness: The ability to assess the demands and challenges they face at practice.

The swimmer is able to use their skills, knowledge, and experience to assess the difficult, risk, and reward of an outcome. In short, it is your ability to make decisions. Your tactical readiness is closely tied to your physiological, psychological, and technical abilities.

 

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS:

I have a state / zone time, so I can swim in a higher group. 
Obtaining a state time or a zones time is super exciting and awesome, but it is one piece of physiological readiness. Equal weight is given to times one does in practice, effort in practice, and attitude/behavior in practice and at meets.
 
One week of "good" practices means I am ready. 
One week of "good" practices is a start. We want to see 2-3 months of sustained effort and attitude to ensure the correct habits are being formed. We are reminded of the Will Durant quote,  "We are what we repeatedly do. So excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."
 
Today is my 13th birthday, so I am ready for Elite Prep. 
First, happy birthday, time for a birthday swim! Second, similar to obtaining a specific time cut, your age is one piece connected to physiological and psychological readiness that a coach is using to weigh your readiness for group placement. 
 
 
 
 
Updated 12/15/2020