I’m often asked what swimmers should do over the Christmas holidays. It’s a very good question, and one that doesn’t easily lead to a good answer for all levels.
There are two factors at war with each other.
- Swimmers typically don’t reach their peak until their 20s, and so there really should be no rush to get swimmers training hard at a young age. Learning the basic techniques, and learning to have fun with swimming at a young age, can lead to an enjoyable sport and the potential to still be swimming in their 20s. However, pushing too much training on swimmers at a young age can easily lead to burn out. There is a long history of fantastic young 10 year olds quitting by the time they’re 16.
In fact, USA swimming did a study a few years ago in which they monitored the top 16 swimmers in each age group over a period of decades, and then calculated what percentage of top young age group swimmers ever became top senior swimmers. The results were disheartening. Only 11% of top 12&under swimmers ever became top senior swimmers. In fact, only 47% of top 15-16 years olds ever became top senior swimmers. In other words, success at a young age was not strongly related to success when older.
- Moderate success at a young age is often a requirement for a swimmer to want to train harder and harder as they grow older. In other words, a lack of success is less likely to lead to a young swimmer wanting to eventually train 5-6 days a week, with 6 am morning practices. To make it worse, many coaches at top teams have conditions on their employment that the team must perform at a certain level compared to …read more
Source: Rick’s Blog