Tips for Preparing a Child for Competitive Swimming
It’s important for kids in Los Angeles to learn to swim not only for their safety, but for the active lifestyle it encourages. Many parents find that their child thrives from the fun, yet disciplined environment of swim lessons, and they think that taking swimming to the next level would be beneficial for them. Kids learning to swim in Los Angeles frequently show interest in competitive swimming, so if this is your child, there are some things you need to prepare both you and your child for. Here’s what you need to know.
Of course, the first step towards competitive swimming is to make sure your child is completely competent and comfortable in the water. Lessons can start for children as young as a month old. Starting early helps children acclimate more quickly so that you can avoid the stage of water anxiety.
Once your child is able to show survival skills in the water, it’s important to get him or her in swim lessons to make sure they know the correct technique for swim skills and the different strokes. Stroke development classes are usually recommended when your child can move efficiently through the water consistently and without any assistance.
Children typically begin learning the four swimming strokes as soon as they conquer safety skills in the water. Freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, and backstroke should all be familiar to your child before you begin thinking about a competitive swim team.
It’s important to remember that when your child reaches a certain age or skill level, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is emotionally ready for competitive swimming. Emotional and mental readiness is important for your child to be able to focus on instruction and follow through on drills, posted workouts, and pace clocks independently.
Additionally, your child needs to be able to accept constructive criticism in a positive manner before joining a competitive team. If your child has the physical skills but isn’t quite ready emotionally, you may want to consider finding a bridge program or pre-team until your child is ready.
Another thing that both you and your child need to be prepared for when entering competitive swimming is how much time will be dedicated to practicing. In addition to regular team practices, it’s important that your child has ample time to practice alone to perfect strokes and strengthen skills learned at practices. The only way to master the skills and become more efficient is through repetition, so be prepared to spend quite a few hours every week at the pool.
Cross-training is important for swimming because a healthier body will result in better swimming. Make sure your child is engaged in other activities that build strength and cardiovascular endurance. While a diet is discouraged, make sure your child has ample healthy foods in their diet.
Find a Swim Team
There are swim teams available for children of all ages, often as young as five or six. Some leagues are more competitive than others so many parents gauge their child’s interest by enrolling them in a recreation department league, school team, or one through other local organizations. Depending on how serious your child is about competitive swimming, they may be ready to move right into a more competitive league. When you’re considering different teams make sure the league provides quality instruction on technique and offers friendly competition against swimmers of similar ages.
At SwimRight Academy, we know that our program is a great way to prepare young swimmers for competitive swimming. Our SwimRight Method will make sure they have all the skills they need to succeed at the next level. Contact us today to learn more!