Swim training or playing for motivation?

Swim training or playing? ~ in this article we take a look at a different approach with swimming in the new 2017-2018 season.  How do we keep our young swimmer motivated?

Swimming playing or trainingNew swimming season, new beginnings for our swim family.  There is a sense of excitement in our household despite winter arriving with a big bang a week or two ago.

Swim training in winter

Snow report – May 2017

One day we still play training on the beach and the next we are sipping hot chocolate under a blanket as snow fell in the mountains and we get the icy cold wind down the coast.

We have a rested swimmer, SSA registrations for the 2017-2018 season is done and we changed clubs.  Yes, we decided that a change will be as good as a holiday for our swimmer.

This is also a time of year (April/May) when we take a look at everything we do and apply changes where needed. Time to set goals for the new season.

Nurturing a love for healthy living and swimming as a sport is at the forefront. We know how much Monica still loves swimming after 3 years of hard work, dedication, and competitive swimming.  We are also winning the race against asthma and chronic illness as a result of swimming with a healthier, happier, stronger Monica.

Swim Club change:

North Coast Dolphins swimming clubWe joined North Coast Dolphins Swim team as of 1 May 2017.  NC Dolphins is a new club with the first season (2016-2017) behind them.  It is a small, family-oriented club. We really like this as it fits in so well with what we teach our swimmer:

“Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. ” ~ Coach Gary Gaines

NC Dolphins Swim Team is run under the auspices of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa. There are 3 squads with highly experienced coaches. Terence Parkin and Dominique Donner.

Monica will, however, still receive coaching from Dad Coach Jan.  NC Dolphins trains in Ballito on the North Coast. We live, work and train in Amanzimtoti on the South Coast (51 minutes drive one way.)  Distance is still an issue.

Swim training or playing as part of motivation:

Swim training I want to focus on some aspects of swim training vs playing in the process of staying motivated.  How do we keep our young swimmer motivated?  How do we nurture the love for swimming?

This article circulated the other day on social media:

25 most likely reasons swimmers quit.

Pressure and athletes/swimmers:  As swim mom, I must say that the swimming community never seizes to amaze me.  There are two camps.  The naysayers and the yeasayers.

One would think that the whole swimming fraternity gets behind young swimmers that excel.  The 2016 US female team consisted of 8 veterans and 14 newcomers.  Michelle Weber was the only female swimmer (open water) on the RSA team in 2016.

Everybody talks about the fact that South Africa needs more female swimmers – especially ones that swim A qualifying times! There is, therefore a lot of spots open on the team.  Do not worry at the age of 10,11, 12+ whether or not you are going to make it!

At the end of the day, it does not matter which club you swim for.  Swimmers end up representing a province, region or country.  We should teach our kids that we all stand for one thing at an early age:

The love of swimming.

Set aside the negative comments when someone does well.  Congratulate your teammates and inspire each other to do better as individuals and as a team.  Stop worrying about the Olympics when you are young – focus on your times and do your best.

 Best is good enough.

Maintain childhood in swimming – how do we do it?:

To me, as a swim mom, all swimmers are different.  I am sure if someone does a survey they would find a lot of reasons kids swim.

The point is this.  I think we should all ask ourselves which type of swimmer we have.  How do we do right by our children and preserve their childhood without pressure?

The answer: Once you know which type of swimmer your child is, build their strengths and turn weaknesses into opportunities.

Our Example:

We know that Monica has an extreme love for water and training.  She also loves the beach.  Instead of doing dry-land training in the gym, we go to the beach on beautiful days and we let her just have fun.  Yes, we do core strength but she does not mind that.

There is a burst of energy on the beach when she plays in the water, runs to heart’s content, yells at the top of her lungs until she is exhausted.

We just have a lot of fun and laughter when she plays training on the beach.  Super child, super day, super happiness and super motivated.

Swim training or playing – take away:

Therein lies the answer.  Sometimes the athletes do not need more training to improve.  They need playing to preserve their childhood.  This builds incredible memories where training is not punishment but something they just love to do.

When kids love something, they want more of it.  When they get more fun and enjoyment out of training they grow into highly motivated optimistic individuals.

 The sky is the limit. You can do everything you set your mind to and work at it.

Pick a day in training, make it a huge surprise and let rip!  Make swim training, playing!

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