The FUNdamental Phase
The physical, cognitive and emotional characteristics you would expect to see with this phase.
(Girls 5 to 8 years. Boys 6 to 9 years)
The club has more boys than girls at this stage with 8 to 9 typically being the age when they start with us. Better that we get them as developing swimmers age 7 though, which means parents need to be taking their children to learn to swim when they are 3 rather than 5 or 6.
I would expect swimmers in this age group, who are children, by chronological age, to show good control of the large muscle groups (running & jumping, strokes) whereas fine motor controls will not be fully developed. Girls will typically be ahead of boys with the finer motor controls. This is evident in the way many girls progress more quickly through the ASA NTPS Levels. Need frequent rest periods. Eye focus not fully developed. Cranium still soft. 90% right handed. Coincides with Peak Motor Development.
Those at this stage in the development pathway like to show initiative and enjoy repetition of fun activities. They are creative and like to show initiative, but have short attention spans.
At this stage jealousy is common. They can be affectionate, solitary and emotional! Giving loads of positive feedback is important. They are eager to please the coach – a trait that should never be exploited. They are sensitive to feelings of others and to talk a lot. They may not be good at sharing and are likely to have two best friends.
Working in a training pool with this age group is far more productive than lane swimming, even widths are better. Keep distances short, lots of variety, individual and team activities, learning ‘by stealth’ with activities that not only building confidence, but develop a taste for water, a competence, natural fluidity and ‘feel for the water.’