Creating Little Champions
Should you move swimmers out of their age group to train?
Mainstream philosophy is to push talented swimmers upward, that sometimes includes placing age group swimmers away from their peers into groups with junior high and high school age swimmers.
The dash to improve and develop young swimmers is understandable- but is it healthy?
Wanting to move up doesn't necessarily mean you should.
Here are a few factors that coaches consider-
1)Age- Studies show developmentally, swimmers benefit from training with their own age group.
2)Coachability- Ability and talent don’t count for squat if a swimmer's behavior is detrimental to team culture or disrupting practice.
3)Compatibility with group- Practice runs smoother if groups ability and speed are relatively the same.
Remember moving up should not feel like an impossible jump.
My experience as a coach has shown me is there are few things as important to your swimmer's success as self-confidence.
Moving swimmers up too soon, or before they feel ready can create frustration and self-doubt. This can affect every level of a swimmer's life.
Not just in the pool.
It isn't just the danger of what a young swimmer
might overhear in the locker room, or
the loneliness of being at practice without their
friends. Being the new kid usually means adjusting
to longer practices and faster sets.
It usually means being last in the lane.
And maybe lapped.
At the end of the day being last over and over
at practice can be soul crushing.
That is why I show caution moving swimmers into new groups.