Introduction to Competitive Swim
Ages: 8+ Years | Parents off Pool Deck
Swim club participants will be introduced to and engaged in active swim training. This includes flip turns, spacing and timing for sets. Our staff will be using whistles, stop watches and other training resources to define placement. Swim club is divided into two groups: Intermediate and advanced. The advanced group will enhance their distance, pace and level of vigorous training based upon ability.
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During the eight week session we follow a specific style of coaching to ensure the students learn efficiently and maximize their retention of information. For the first four weeks the children are given one stroke to primarily work on each week for the majority of the class. Teaching multiple strokes per class only confuses their ability to learn quickly and efficiently because the abundance of information is just too much to remember on a week by week basis. So a Strong Focus on one stroke per class allows the students to retain most or all that they have learned from week to week. During this Strong Focus type of class the instructors use a progressional coaching style. This involves breaking the stroke apart into smaller pieces that make them easier to learn. The team then progresses through each piece adding more and more until the child reaches the completed stroke. For example, if we were working on Freestyle, we may use this progressional outline:
1) Flutter kick on kick board
2) Flutter kick in streamline position
3) Flutter kick in streamline position breathing to the left while taking a stroke with the left arm
4) Flutter kick in streamline position breathing to the right while taking a stroke with the right arm
5) Flutter kick in streamline position taking a stroke with left and then the right arm breathing to either side
6) Complete freestyle breathing to either side they choose when needed
7) Finally, complete freestyle breathing every three strokes focusing on alternate breathing
As we get to the last four weeks of the session instructors concentrate on the technical skills that need improvement in any of the four strokes. Still following a Strong Focus approach during that class on a specific stroke, the team may work on things like alternate breathing in freestyle, shoulder rotation in backstroke, gliding in breaststroke and body movement in dolphin kick. The team of instructors communicates regularly about what to do and whether or not getting in the pool with the students is necessary.
Begin each class with a simple warm up combining kicking and pulling to create a consistent beginning structure. This could include something as simple as a 50 swim, 50 kick, and 50 pull. Feel free to increase the yardage for more advanced classes. This repetitive format gives the children something familiar to begin every class.
Make the focus of each individual class about one specific stroke or skill. This allows the children to concentrate better due to the constant repetition. Hitting multiple strokes in one class does not allow the children to retain important information and understanding of the strokes. Depending on the stroke selected, start with basic drills followed by intermediate drills, advanced drills, and finish with the complete stroke. Please refer to the Drill section of this manual for a variety of potential drills you can use. An example outline of this format could be as follows:
1. Kicking Drills
2. Pulling Drills
3. Combined Kicking and Pulling Drills
4. Complete stroke
5. Complete stroke with an Advanced skill (push offs and finishes)