Assessments

With the permission of the club and the parents I would either have a camera on a headband or a cameraman shooting what I ask them to record. I would in return analyse all stroke problems and share with parents/guardians and in appropriate way with the young swimmers.

All swimming problems can be fixed but each swimmer has to be treated individually where possible as too often there is a problem unique to them that does not apply to the group. Ideally we’d have one teacher per swimmer of course, the times this occurs it is remarkable who a long standing problem can be fixed for good. Indeed, you can deal with several problems in 45 mins if you have only one swimmer.

I saw 13 swimmers in three groups over 2 hours+. Very manageable. Had I 8 swimmers in each session would it have been harder? You adjust everything you do to suit the skills, mood, problems of the swimmers you are presented with, by grade, gender and skill-set.

Patterns you see in the first week usually continue across the weeks, though the surprise is when a swimmer pulls it all together … or less often, starts to fall behind. The reasons are usually very simple: regular attendance, which at this age needs to be twice a week and is great if they make three times a week.

In the back of my mind is an ASA Level III Coaching qualification which requires me to be working with competitive squad swimmers, however, I enjoy spotting the talent as well as fixing problems for any swimmer from about age 7 up.

ASSESSMENTS

I do these early in order to try and fix problems ahead of the final assessment some weeks later. If a fault is too elementary it is not possible to fix: diving if a swimmer cannot somersault in the water for example, even a screw kick in breaststroke can be hard to undo in a group of swimmers. And there are problems like a straight arm recovery in front crawl that may be wrong, but if the swimmer is winning races keep it for something to fix gradually.

Diving is key. Kids have no opportunity to learn to dive outside a formal lesson. They should be practising their diving and building confidence in ‘free time’ in the pool. However, pools these days ban all diving 😦 I wish they could be made to understand how disabling this is for swimming clubs. That they are creating a problem.

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