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Nine year old swimmer not improving


Dear Sir/Madam

I have a 9 year old son who swims for a club and participates in galas regularly. The issue is he seems to always underperform at his galas. Kids in his age group and smaller constantly achieve better times than he does. He is at training 3 to 4 times a week and still seems to have not improved in the last year and a half. The time improvements are either level or  very small .

Did speak to his coach but was told to give it time and to keep in mind that he was born premature at 8 months and therefore he will be slower than the other kids.

My problem is, he gets very de-motivated and down when not being able to be able to achieve the same times as fellow swim colleagues in his age group and yes I do understand there will be faster swimmers out there. Is there anything that can be done to help him improve ?



Hi Ugeshen,

Every child is going to improve at a different rate.  Some will develop power and strength quickly while others will be more late developers.

At 9 years, the priority should be on improving his technique and learning the racing skills of starts, turns and finishes in each stroke and for individual medleys.

I agree with the feedback you received from his coach to “give it time”.

I note that your son feels demotivated when he compares his results with others.  It would be worthwhile helping him to set some goals that are based around self-improvement in times, technique and racing skills.

I am about to release a new book called Behind the Goggles in December and this would be a great resource for him.  It will be available at www.BehindTheGoggles.com.

As his parent, I would encourage you to remain positive with your son at all times. Encourage him to focus on the process of what he is doing rather than worrying about the outcomes (times and places).



One Response to Nine year old swimmer not improving

  1. Coach Abdul October 22, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Excellent advise, I agree totally

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