Amongst the benefits from a well directed swimming program children learn how to win and how to lose, something that is very important in this sport.
While every child needs to win sometimes if they are to gain satisfaction from swimming, the fact remains that in a 10 person or 8 person swimming race, there will only be one winner in each heat or final, so a majority of swimmers will not experience winning in each race.
One should not be taught to win every time, or to be resigned to losing; rather, children and adults should be taught to expect both and to cope with both.
It is very important for young swimmers to learn that within defeat, there is often victory; an improved time, a personal best, the attainment of a short term goal or the contribution of points towards the team’s point score at a local swim meet.
Coaches and parents should remember that the occasional defeat is as important to an individual’s development as the occasional victory is.
Another important skill learnt through the participation in swimming is time management. The time management skills learnt through your involvement in swimming will assist your child and you as a parent for the rest of your life. With the regimented training schedules that swimmers experience in their club or squad training programs, a swimmer’s time management is crucial to fitting everything into each day.
Swimming training is conducted primarily before and after school, so children need to allocate time to travel to and from training around their normal daily routine.
The training requirements for swimming mean that swimmers develop time management skills from a young age. Balancing school, homework, swimming, sleep and time with friends or participating in other activities can be quite demanding and most swimmers develop their own time management plan to fit everything into each day.
The established time management skills are very useful when swimmers are completing high school and university and assist them to coordinate study and swimming.
These time management skills are often transferred into other areas of life, with a majority of former swimmers maintaining the time management skills developed when they swam and utilising them in their work and social lives.
Equally important as managing your time for activities is allocating time to do nothing. Many swimmers will find ‘doing nothing’ difficult because they are always on the go. Rest, recovery and relaxation are equally as important to a swimmer’s development as training and school. Ensure that your child allocates time for rest and recovery.
It is important that we all learn how to use time effectively and goal setting will assist to achieve this. Goal setting is something that a majority of swimmers are taught within their current swimming program. Accomplished swimmers and experienced coaches use goals on a daily basis to improve performance on the day, knowing that when it comes to competitions they will improve.
The setting of goals by swimmers of all ages is an important skill that will assist them to improve their swimming performance and provide them with direction. Goals can vary from improvements in stroke technique in each of the four strokes and improvements required to starts and turns, to time goals that focus on the outcomes of races. It is important at a young age that goals are measurable and time based goals are very popular for newcomers to the sport.