Long Term Athlete Development – Disability Swimming


LTAD Learn to Train Girls 8 -11. Boys 9 – 12 years

Learn to TRAIN


(Girls 8 to 11 years. Boys 9 to 12 years)

If you experienced it as a parent or saw it over several years through the swimming club, you will have a view on how boys and girls differ and the quite different growth spurts they go through, both physically and mentally.

Personally I’d teach boys separately from the girls ’til they are 15 or 16 – not achievable though.

Don’t you find you have a class splits down the middle where there are equal numbers of girls and boys? And how a boy on his own in a group of girls might not last long? If we’re going to address the problem of so few boys being attracted to or staying in the sport, then clubs should get their heads around the gender differences.

In our club this learn to train phase is at the top end of teaching groups, say grades 7 to 10 (here treating Mini Squad as a teaching level).

Whilst we promote on merit, skills and times being achieved, meeting the entry requirements for squads, if not training groups, we ought to be more conscious of the need to get competent girls out of teaching as they reach 11, while with boys we could run for another year.

Mini Squad at present has girls and boys 8-12 and splits into two distinct groups. To achieve our long-term goals to gain Swim21 Competitive Development Status we need more coming in age 8 (girls), age 9 (boys) so that they are ready to compete for in the age 9 category.  This in turn means bringing them through teaching stages faster, but with not less efficiency. This can only be achieved is the more committed swimmers a) start younger – age 7 into the club; b) swim more often – twice a week initially and three times a week+ from age 8/9; c) talent spotting to fast track skills and stamina into skills groups at both pools.


At this stage young athletes show no fear but lack the skill level so accidents can occur. They are extremely active, but they still need to rest. As ligament growth is not yet complete they still cannot withstand too much stress.


They show short attention spans and enjoy repetition of fun activities They are eager to learn.


They are sensitive to criticism and need oodles of positive feedback. They are eager to please the coach and are prone to sneak on each other are cliquish & competitive!


Positive feedback

Swimming drills are repetitive anyway, so try to make them fun with constant variety.

Use their eagerness to learn, a few minutes on the side of the pool every week and they can quickly pick up all kinds of valuable lessons.



Teaching Grade 7

Teaching Grade 7 & Change Management

6.30 to 7.15 Grade 7

(all names changed in this 2008 teaching session)

Put times from all swimmers into a database so that it is easy to compare their times with others in their age group.

Sophie’s Mum feels she is in a group that has too many in the lane. I impress on her that I am more the qualified to take this number, that they work well together. Check with Twinny who says Peter is moving up. Letters go out also to Bluey & Becca who will move into G8.

Nicholas doesn’t appear. Is he being put off by all these girls!? How does the ASA engage with boys? More rough & tumble! More competitive team games?

Time Trials were continued after a warm up of

1x50m each of FC, BC, FC Head Up, BC Slomo

+ 1x25m each of FC & BC 12.5 sprint, 12.5 easy.

All performed well and with determination in the BS & FLY.

Because of the numbers and over explaining/teaching the starts the thing took up the entire session. Zoe (LI) was taking the lead; Rose (LIII) shared with me her frustration at the need to give the kids a swim.

LEARN to TRAIN (Girls 8 to 11 years, Boys 9 to 12 years)

Sophie, LSD, Emmeline, Bluey, Erin & Zoe

TRAIN to Train (Girls 11 to 14, Boys 12 to 15)

Becca, Doone & Peter

Focus on individual differences, give lots of +ve reinforcement, push skills and work out between you what the rules should be. Get them to buy into what they are doing and show leadership.

When they were in a lane near to the 3 I was timing I gave those from my group huge praise.

Bobby (Head Coach) has wanted me to take part in T2T3 that follows.

It is run by a lady whose daughter is in the group. I have never met a more bitter person. I introduced myself and asked about the information I require for Swim21 and she snapped my head off! ‘I give so much time to this club.’ When she calmed down she then complained that she had already given this information a year ago when CB was the Head Coach. I asked her if she had been at the Teaching Meeting when these forms were handed out; she claimed to have been there. It is a shame I don’t have this, but it also highlighted the need for teachers to have a physical folder or file in which they need to keep copies of certificates & letters of attendance handy.

People skills and personality have a significant role to play, more so than mere qualificaitons.

I need to create a database that is easy to keep up to date. I’ll do this in FilemakerPro. I’ll then email everyone who hasn’t come up with the answers in the last 3 weeks.


(This database has grown to include 90 or so active and lapsed volunteers, and nearly 900 swimmers. It is a record of achievement as well as notes on strengths and weaknesses that informs decisions about teaching, training and promotion)

Warm Up 200m
1 x 50m FC Head Up + Float on head
1 x 50m BC Slomo
1 x 50m As 25m Kick, 25m half sprint
1 x 50m As 25m Kick, 25m half sprint
Practise dive, glide & kick into stroke

TIME TRIALS (Flexibility, not stretching)

BS BIAS: 350m

3 kicks, one pull
Catch up
One arm, one leg
Competitive start


Underwater through a hoop or for sinkers.


Topple & Jump
Topple & Dive into GLIDE
Topple & Dive into GLIDE + Dolphin Kick
Topple & Dive into One Dolphin Flick, GLIDE then Dolphin Kick


(This lead into a competitive start has been re-inforced with notes and diagrams from various books).



START drills & training takes time.