Swimming is an excellent sport that teaches incredible life lessons and instills virtuous qualities within its participants.
But what is expected of young swimmers and the parents that raise them? Read on to see what swim team life looks like for parents of swimmers age 10 and younger.
Is that what you were wondering? Has your imagination run wild hearing other swim parents talk about endless weekends and early mornings? Don’t let the pessimistic talk get you down. There are countless benefits that far outweigh the early mornings and long weekends if your child is in the sport for the long haul.
For swimmers age 10 & under, you can expect a swim team to offer 5 – 6 practices per week. Some coaches will want their athletes there every day, without exceptions. Other coaches are more relaxed and will recommend a smaller number of practices per week. Personally, as a coach, I encourage kids to never plan to miss. Why? Because things come up. Last minute homework, family emergencies, illness, fender benders… there are a million things that can keep your kid from attending practice. Always plan to go to practice, this stands true to all ages. This is a basic life lesson you can start at a young age. Commitment.
Swim meets will likely be timed finals, single session events, so just an afternoon or just a morning. Sometimes meets will only last one day, but more often will be two. Friday afternoon coupled with Saturday morning or Saturday morning and Sunday morning.
At this age, your young swimmer should be having fun and learning about being a team player (emphasis on fun). FUN. They are encouraging and cheering for each other and doing things together as a team.
Young swimmers go through tremendous growth & development during early involvement with swimming, learning how to listen and take instructions- and execute them. Their motor skills are increasing drastically. They are exploring their limits and pushing themselves.
Coaches may talk about goals- short term and long term to help your swimmer build their intrinsic drive. The kids get to compete with their peers on a regular basis in a battle of who rules the pool. Sometimes it might be a kick set and other times a swim set. A good coach will find ways to have multiple kids be the victor and leaving everyone feeling accomplished.
Expect your child’s appetite to grow. Your swimmer may eat more than other kids their age who aren’t in athletics. Make sure you feed them quality foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, meats, and grains. Encourage them to drink plenty of water (not energy drinks) and make sure they get a reasonable amount of sleep.
Please let me know if you have any questions and watch for my next post on swim parenting for 11-12 year age group!