FAST PRACTICE GROUP INFORMATION

 

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Practice Group Descriptions - FAST Flyers

Practice Group Descriptions - FAST Pirates

Practice Group Progression Information


FAST FLYERS

(Lindbergh School District Sites) 

Swim Lessons

At FAST swim lessons, swimmers will gain skills and build strength while enjoying their lessons. Skills are learned over time as good habits are created. FAST south county runs perpetual swim lessons, so participants are enrolled in a class that meets the same day/time each week and will be enrolled in lessons until a withdrawal notice is filed. An initial commitment of at least two months of lessons is recommended to build a good relationship with your child and begin the learning process. 

Future Flyers

Future Flyers is for swimmers who have graduated from lessons or are placed in the group by an evaluation with a FAST coach.  These swimmers are building toward the commitment of our year-round competitive team.  Future Flyers swim in a smaller group with a coach who is in the water refining stroke mechanics.  Swimmers in this group are focused on learning the techniques and skills learned to progress through the program.  We will work on stroke mechanics, sportsmanship, and the rules of competitive swimming.  Selected swim meets give the athletes a chance to show off their skills and get a taste of competitive swimming.  Practices consist of three (3) 1-hour sessions per week.  Gear: Cap, Goggles and Fins

10 & under Prep: Space Squad

The introduction to competitive year-round swimming for athletes under 10. The group focuses on stroke technique, swimming etiquette, sportsmanship, and the rules of competitive swimming. Swimmers will be placed in the group after graduating from Future Flyers or through evaluation by a FAST coach. Swimmers in this group are expected to compete in at least 5 short course meets, including 3 FAST hosted short course meets, and at any championship meets for which they qualify. Practices consist of four (4) 1-hour sessions per week with 2-3 attended practices per week encouraged. Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, and Fins

Prerequisite for entering group:          Legal in all four competitive strokes

10 & under Competitive: Shooting Stars

The Shooting Stars group is designed for 10 & under swimmers who have achieved BB times.

This group continues to develop stroke technique and skills for races up to 100 meters of each stroke.  Swimmers in this group are expected to compete in at least 5 short course meets, including 3 FAST hosted short course meets, and at any championship meets for which they qualify. This group will have six (6) practices offered per week, of which athletes will be expected to attend four to five (4-5).  Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Fins, shoes, and socks.

Prerequisite for entering group:          BB time in at least one event

                                                           

11-12 Prep: Flight School

This group is designed for our 11-12-year-old swimmers striving to achieve 11-12 BB times.  Swimmers may enter this group from a new swimmer evaluation or any of the previously listed groups. This group will continue to work on technique, kicking, basic pool etiquette as well as the swimming skills and endurance necessary to compete in events up to 100 meters of a stroke. Swimmers in this group are expected to compete in at least 5 short course meets, including 3 FAST hosted short course meets, and at any championship meets for which they qualify.  Practices consist of five (5) 75 minute sessions per week with three-five (3-5) attended practices per week encouraged. Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, and Fins

Prerequisite for entering group:          Legal in all four competitive strokes

11-12 Competitive: Rocketeers

This group is designed for our 11-12-year-old swimmers who have achieved 11-12 BB times.  Swimmers may enter this group from Shooting Stars, Flight School or if transferring from another USA Swimming team.  Swimmers build on previous experience to develop skills to compete in races up to 200 meters of each stroke.  Rocketeers are expected to race in one (1) meet per month in preparation for championship meets.  Practices consist of six (6) 105 minute practices offered per week, of which athletes will be expected to attend four to six (4-6)  Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Fins, Shoes and Socks.

Prerequisite for entering group:          BB time in at least one event

Demonstrate ability to meet the demands of Rocketeers while in Shooting Stars or Flight School

13-18 Prep: Senior

This group is designed to accommodate athletes 13-14 with below BB times and 15& over athletes with up to A times working towards training in the Senior Select group (13-14 year olds) or Sectional group (15-18 year olds). Athletes will be placed in this group at the coach’s discretion and will commit to the practice guidelines and meets as directed by the lead group coach, including championship meets.  Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Paddles, and Fins

13-14 Competitive: Senior Select 

Focused on 13-14-year olds with BB times in multiple strokes who are working towards Age Group Championships. Athletes will be placed in this group at the coach’s discretion and will have to commit to adhering to the practice guidelines as well as committing to attending and all meets as directed by the lead group coach including championship meets. 

Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Paddles, and Fins.

15-18 Competitive: Sectional

Swimmers ages 15-18 with A times in multiple strokes who are working towards training in the National Development group. Athletes will be placed in this group at the coach’s discretion.  They will commit to practice guidelines as well as competing in an average of one meet per month and participating in the dryland program.  Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Paddles, and Fins.

13-18 Elite: National

Entry to this group is by Coaches Invite ONLY.  There is a heavy emphasis on IM training, goal setting, race pace, and speed work. Championship meets will be Regional and National level, and swimmers will taper and shave for only those competitions. . Swimmers must demonstrate the highest commitment level prior to entry into the group through positive attitude, leadership, hard work, attendance, race performance and interval training.  Athletes will be expected to be in the pool seven to eight (7-8) times per week.  Dry land training will be handled by FAST staff for the 2018-2019 season.  Specific information regarding our dry land program will be sent to swimmers once it is available. Some athletes may get the opportunity to compete at the International level. Gear: Cap, Goggles, Water Bottle, Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Paddles, and Fins.


FAST PIRATES

(Pattonville High School site) 

Swim Lessons

The Pattonville FAST swim lessons mirror the program utilized at the FAST south county location. Lessons at the Pattonville location run during the school year, September - May. Students may enter the program at any time during the year and can advance within the program at their own pace. FAST offers swim lesson as part of a monthly tuition based program. 

Space Squad

The Space Squad group includes swimmers who range in age from 8-13.  The focus of this group is the development of proper stroke technique for all four competitive strokes (Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly). Racing starts and turns are taught along with all of the necessary swimming skills for entry into the age group practice groups. Practice is offered 3 times per week for 60 minutes a session.  It is recommended that Space Squad swimmers attend at least 2 practices per week  Swim meets are encouraged (although not required).

 

Flight School

The Flight School group includes swimmers who range in age from 11-12. This group continues to build on the skills developed in the Space Squad group. Stroke technique development is still the highest priority in Flight School, while adding development of turns and race strategy for races longer than 50 yards. The group offers practices 4 times per week for 75 minute sessions. It is recommended that Flight School swimmers attend at least 3 practices per week.  Swim meet attendance is encouraged. The competitive focus of this group is to develop the swimmers for success at the Ozark Championship meets.

  

Rocketeers

The Rocketeers group includes swimmers who range in age from 9-14. Skills learned at the Space Squad and Flight School levels are further developed and more advanced racing skills are introduced to aid in the athlete's preparation for the senior side of the program. The primary practice focus for this group is the continued technical development of the athlete and the ability to race properly at all distances using all four competitive strokes. The group offers practices 4 times per week with water time of 90 minute sessions. Swim meet attendance is encouraged.  

 

Senior 1

Senior 1 is designed to introduce senior swimming and competition to teen-aged athletes. There is a strong emphasis on drill work and building up an aerobic base to increase the swimmer’s chances for promotion to the Senior Development. This is also the perfect group for someone who values swimming, but is also active in other extra-curricular activities. The group offers practices 5 times per week with water time of 90 minute sessions.

 

Sectional Development

Sectional Development is designed to allow for more growth and development from the Age Group program while introducing new training at the Senior level. There is a strong emphasis on drills, speed work, a continuation of aerobic training and underwater swimming. The group offers practices 5 times per week with water time of 90-120 minute sessions.


FAST GROUP PROGRESSION

Group Placement 

Each FAST swimmer is placed into a practice group by the coaching staff when they join the team.  The group placement decision will take into consideration a variety of objective and subjective factors such as age, physical maturity, social and emotional maturity, skill/technique development, level of aerobic conditioning, experience in the sport, and the level of commitment necessary required for success at the level of the program under consideration.

The FAST coaching staff takes a great deal of time making these decisions each season and you can rest assured that the group placement decision is made with care and concern for your child’s long term development as a competitive swimmer.   

Group Progression Summary

Typically, beginner to intermediate level age group swimmers (swimmers age 12&under) will enter the FAST program at the Age Group Prep level where they begin to focus on developing proper stroke technique in all four of the competitive strokes along with the racing starts and turns necessary for competition.  Swimmers are exposed to swim meets at this level of the program and the focus of competition is the application of proper techniques at race speed.

FAST believes in developing age group swimmers who are capable of competing successfully in all four competitive strokes and a complete range of racing distances.  It is for this reason that we prioritize swimming correctly from a technique perspective at each level of the program.  Once a strong technical foundation has been developed, a swimmer will be moved to a training group that is appropriate for their age, skill, and level of commitment (practice and swim meet attendance). 

The training groups will continue to focus on the technical side of the sport. However, the focus on the aerobic development of the athlete will begin to increase in importance.  Swimming correctly over longer distances at faster aerobic paces will take years to develop and the training progressions are designed with this important aspect of long term development as a priority.  As the swimmer progresses through the training group structure, they will also be introduced to the appropriate levels of anaerobic training.   

The focus of competition at the training group level will involve correctly executing racing strategies and approaching the swim meet environment with a clear and goal-driven purpose. We introduce the athlete to the important life skill of goal setting as early as the Age Group 1 level. 

Group Advancement Protocols

Group advancement should always be initiated by the swimmer’s primary coach.  The primary coach reports regularly to the Head Coach about the progress of the individual swimmers in his/her group.  When the primary coach believes the athlete is ready for a group change, he/she will approach the head coach for approval and then approach the family to discuss the change if the group change is approved. 

If a group change is made, the team administrator will contact you regarding any changes to your training fees.

Tips and Advice for Parents when Discussing Group Advancement with your Child or Primary Coach

  • Encourage your child to ask their primary coach any questions that may arise about their group placement whether regarding their current group placement or criteria for advancement to a different group.  
     
  • Do not view or allow your child to view group advancement as a primary goal for the season.  Group advancement will take place when they are ready and your child’s focus should be on mastering the skills necessary to improve as a swimmer in the group they are currently placed in.    
     
  • Kids develop and mature at different rates and group advancement will not be rushed to keep your child with a friend, peer group, or carpool.   
     
  •  One of the first things a primary coach looks at when considering a group advancement is the commitment level of the swimmer (swim meet and practice attendance).  If the swimmer is not displaying the necessary commitment to be successful at the next level, they should not expect to be considered for group advancement.
     
  • There is no strict linear progression from group to group in the FAST program.  There are many factors that go into group placement as mentioned above.  While the more advanced groups are typically linked to the higher commitment levels, there are multiple paths a swimmer can take to advance through the program.  
     
  •  Ask questions.  Ask questions.  Ask questions.   Your child’s primary coach is available to answer questions outside of practice time.   While we certainly encourage the athletes to develop the comfort level and confidence to ask their coaches about their progress on a daily basis, parents are encouraged to do the same from time to time.  
     
  • Email is not the best forum for questions regarding your child’s group placement or status.  Please take the time to set up an appointment with your child’s primary coach to discuss questions of this nature.
     
  • Be patient.  The most happy and successful swimmers and parents understand that developing as a swimmer will take years and not a single season.  There is no need to rush through a program and premature advancement will only stall the developmental process.  Trust the professional coaches you have hired to guide your child through this exciting journey!