Tag Archive | "Swimming"

Are 6 two hour sessions too much for a 9 year old swimmer?

Are 6 two hour sessions too much for a 9 year old swimmer?

QUESTION:

Hello my dear,

I have a son. My son is 9 years. He is good swimmer.

I have a question of you.  Due to his age, my son several times a week to swim practice.

His coach says: 6 sessions of 2 hours a week to practice.  It is not too much for him to practice?

Please guide me

TA

ANSWER:

Hi TA,

To be honest, while 6 x 2 hour sessions is a lot for a 9 year old, there are many 9 year olds around the world who train this often.

I personally think it is too much at 9 years of age and would rather see sessions of 1 or ½ hours for children of this age.

Some coaches have a belief that this (6 x 2hr) is the right amount of training to do at this age and argue that if 50% of the time is spent on technique and skill development then it is very beneficial for the child (which it would be).  The key would be to maintain the child’s interest for that long.

My suggestion is to talk to the coach to find out the reasons they would like your child to do this much and then move forward from there. Most coaches have a really good understanding of what is required for each individual swimmer they are coaching.

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert

Posted in Coaching, Questions, Squad SwimmingComments (0)

Parent’s Guide to Competitive Swimming

Parent’s Guide to Competitive Swimming

For many parents having a “swimmer” in the family is not something they planned.  Most swimmers begin in a learn-to-swim program and progress through to advanced lessons. From there they are asked to complete a couple of sessions in a junior squad and before you know it they are entrenched and absorbed by the sport of swimming.  By this stage, parents begin to realise the commitment required by a swimmer to complete the necessary training and competitions offered in the sport.

As a swimmer I had the opportunity to observe my own parents first hand and how they managed me as a swimmer, and how they worked with, and communicated with my coaches.  I was also fortunate enough to be coached by three of the most talented and experienced swimming coaches in the world - Julie Dyring, Bill Sweetenham and Leigh Nugent.

As a coach for more than a dozen years I worked closely with swimmers of all ages and have been directly involved in the introduction of parents to the sport of swimming.

For a swimming parent, understanding the role of the coach, the role the parent is required to undertake, and the responsibilities of a swimmer is critical to ensuring a positive and successful experience for the whole family. Yes, the whole family is affected by having a swimmer in the family and learning how to balance your time and other family member’s needs around the swimming schedule can be a challenge.

Over the years I have observed many parents who are introduced to swimming for the first time when their child is promoted to a junior squad.

For most swimmers who train for competitions, the measurement of their improvement is through performance and parents are encouraged to understand the many different aspects to training and competitions in an effort to provide parents with a more complete understanding of the sport and what a swimmer is experiencing.

One of the aspects I love about swimming is that when swimmers compete, no one else can affect their performance.  They have their own lane and no one can tackle them, bowl them out, hit the ball past them or affect their performance in any way.  It is just the swimmer and the black line.

Children who choose to train and swim competitively learn so many life skills as they become more exposed to the sport.

In general their grades improve at school, their time management skills improve and they learn how to win and how to lose with grace.  They are introduced to goal setting and taking responsibility for themselves.  They are also exposed to the concept that if you work hard on a skill and commit to doing something correctly over and over again, it will improve.

Swimming for Parents is a vital resource for all swimming parents.  The book, available also as an eBook with instant delivery, is a lifelong project that draws on many of my experiences as a swimmer, coach, swimming administrator and now as a parent of young children who enjoy swimming.

This book has been written to educate parents of junior and teenage swimmers and has sold more than 3000 copies all over the world.

The second edition is now available at www.SwimmingForParents.com.

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Protein Supplements for Children

Protein Supplements for Children

QUESTION:

Hi Gary,  I appreciate your time and dedication

First of all, I want you to get to know more about my 12 years daughter whose life dream is to become an Olympic champion and a world champion Her life is dedicated to swimming and actually she is a champion here in our country ( Egypt) I always encourage her and give her all the support she needs.

My question is, her coach advised me to start giving her protein supplement as a way of helping her having stronger muscles

I know that it’s better for kids to have a complete healthy meal rather than having supplements but my concern is that she has no time to eat a proper meal, she stays late at school till 6PM then she comes home for her training sessions. I can only control her supper late at night after her training but the rest of the day she eats at school.

she trains 6 days weekly, 2 hours each in water and 4 times weekly, 2 hours each in the track ( running and jumping obstacles,…)

P.S. she didn’t reach her puberty age yet ! Please advise !

Thanks,

Best Regards, RY

ANSWER:

Hi RY,

I do not believe in protein supplements for children and encourage children to eat a healthy meal and healthy snacks in between.

Protein is well known for its role in muscle development and recovery.  This role in development is especially important for the adolescent athlete who is still growing and maturing.

Protein is found in meats, meat alternatives and dairy products.  Good sources of protein include beef, lamb, goat, pork, duck, turkey, fish, tofu, egg, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, lentils), soy products, milk, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream.

It is important that you look for ways to eat some of these foods at school when she is not in your care, as well as foods with the necessary carbohydrates and other vitamins.

For a 12 year old girl she is doing a lot of training 6 x 2hrs in the water and 4 x 2 hours on the track.

Please keep a close eye on her energy levels as 10 x 2 hour sessions a week is a lot.

I would strongly recommend that you download the following two eBooks to read, which will help you as parents and your daughter.

Swimming for Parents – www.SwimmingForParents.com

Nutrition for Swimmers – www.NutritionForSwimmers.com

All the best,

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert

Posted in Nutrition, QuestionsComments (1)

Breathing Problems near the End of Races

Breathing Problems near the End of Races

QUESTION:

Hello again Gary!

My 13 yo swimmer son’s technique is greatly improving, and he is overall seeing a marked difference in his efficiency and times.  Thank you so much for your advice and recommendations….it is definitely working!

There is now another issue….my son has an affinity towards sprint races, and finds difficulty with his breathing patterns during longer freestyle events, such as 500, 1000, etc., and more recently the 400 IM.   He starts the races breathing as he should, then his breathing patterns become erratic towards the last 100 meters without a steady pattern, causing him to lose efficiency in the water. He wants to find a more comfortable breathing pattern, especially when he is fatigued during these somewhat longer distance events in which he is less accustomed. Do you have any suggestions for him ( he tends to “double breathe” when he tires, and says he wants to change this but doesn’t know how)?

Thank you again,

Tanza

ANSWER:

Hi Tanza,

Thanks for your feedback.

In regards to effective breathing in longer distance events it is so important to practice the breathing pattern you wish to use in a race in training all the time.

Many swimmers breath at different times in training and then expect to be able to hold a breathing pattern under pressure and when they are tiring in a race.

For the best results, your son needs to practice the breathing pattern he wishes to use in every set in training including all aerobic or distance sets and particularly every harder longer set.  This may take some time, however if he gets good at it, he will then be able to use this pattern in races as well, leading to a more efficient stroke and body position towards the end of races.

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert

 

Posted in Competitions / Swim Meets, Freestyle, Questions, Squad SwimmingComments (0)

Cross Training for Swimming

Cross Training for Swimming

Eliza is just 10 years old and has written to ask me what she can do for fitness work whilst living on a farm.

She is only able to make it to practice twice a week because she lives so far away from a town with a pool and squad program.

Listen to my response by clicking on the link below.

More training, live on farm – Eliza ( .wma 1.89MB )

 

Posted in Questions, Squad SwimmingComments (0)

Does Competing in Carnivals Improve a Swimmer’s Times?

Does Competing in Carnivals Improve a Swimmer’s Times?

QUESTION:

Hi Gary,

My daughter is 10 and my son is 9 and I was wondering how they can improve their swimming times to be able to compete in the NSW Country Swimming Championships . My daughter missed out last year but she is keen to go this year.   She is competing in different carnivals over the next few months and would love to see her achieve her goal.  She is between 3 sec – 5 seconds off her goal in 3 events of 50, 50 & 100 metres.

Does competing in carnivals improve their times or should they just keep training and show up for the main carnivals? Any advice would be helpful. I sometimes think it’s in the mind.

Many thanks, Ingrid

ANSWER:

Hi Ingrid,

Yes, competing in Carnivals will assist a young swimmers development as they will learn how to start, turn and finish in a racing environment and also practice their pacing for each lap and swimming fast.

Your coach will work with your children in regards to the balance between the number of carnivals versus having some weekends off to recover from the week’s training.

Training well continues to be important in between each carnival.

And yes, sometimes it is in the mind.  Some would argue more often than not for young swimmers, so it is really important that positive encouragement is provided around training and competition so that each child builds their own self-confidence, as well as their physical preparation.

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert

Posted in Coaching, Competitions / Swim Meets, Questions, Squad SwimmingComments (0)

How Long Should a Young Swimmer Warm Up For?

How Long Should a Young Swimmer Warm Up For?

QUESTION:

Hello Gary

I am 9 yrs old. How long should I warm up for before I race please ?

Thank you Emily

ANSWER:

Hi Emily and thanks for your email.

When you warm up is important. If you are able to, it is a good idea to finish your warm up about 30 minuts before you race. This is enough time to keep your body warm and swim well.

If you have to warm up earlier than that for your race, then it is important t move your body around a bit prior to your swim (swing your arms and jump around) to ensure your body is warm and ready to go.

The length of your warm up will vary depending on a number of factors.

If you are practising a number of times each week (eg. 3 or more) then you should be able to do a warm up over a half hour period of 800 to 1200 metres.  If you are not practising as often, your coach may give you a little bit less.

If your race is 100 or 200 metres, your coach may give you a slightly longer warm u than if you are only racing 50m events.

Work with your coach in regards to when you warm up and what you do in yor warm up as they will be able to advise you.

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert

 

Posted in Coaching, Competitions / Swim Meets, Masters, Questions, Squad SwimmingComments (0)

How to Pace 200m and 400m Events?

How to Pace 200m and 400m Events?

QUESTION:

Hi Gary,

I was just wondering how it is best to pace 400m freestyle and also the 200m’s free, back. breast.

I am asking because I am a sprint swimmer I often find myself struggling with these distances which I think is probably due to my pacing.

Thank You, James

ANSWER:

Hi James,

The most common patterns in 200m and 400m races are:

• that each lap gets slower especially when the swimmer has gone out too hard or does not have a high level of fitness;

• the middle laps are the slowest and the swimmer has plenty of energy to speed up and swim fast near the end of the race; or

• the third 50m in a 200 or third 100m in a 400 are the slowest because the swimmer has a mini rest to prepare themselves for the last quarter of the race.

The secret to pacing a 200m or 400m race is to even split the whole way through the race.

The first lap will tend to be a bit faster than the others because of the start and how fresh you feel, however it is important to pace all other laps around the same time.

To get the best time possible, your lap times need to be at the fastest pace possible where you can hold that pace for the distance of the race.

For example in a 200m race, your first 50m may be 35 seconds and then aim to hold 38 seconds for the last three 50’s.

Swimming with even splits will often give the swimmer the best time possible.

Strong swimmers will often negative split a race, meaning that the second half of their race is faster than the first.  These swimmers normally have a lot of experience and are very fit.

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert

Posted in Freestyle, QuestionsComments (9)