There are several life lessons that can be learned from participating on a summer swim team. Helping your swimmer set goals and then pursue them throughout the course of a season is a skill that carries over to success in school, and later on in a career.
Swimming is both an individual sport and a team sport wrapped together. The coach usually has goals for the team like winning various meets or winning the regional championship. But the individual aspect of goal setting is best represented by time improvement. Each swim meet offers an opportunity to set personal best times in one or more events. Time improvement comes partially from getting into better physical condition each week, and partially from stroke technique improvement.
It’s hard to suggest a general rule of thumb for setting time improvement goals but here are a few things to consider.
Helping Your Swimmer Set Goals
- Talk to the coaches. They’ve seen kids of all ages and abilities improve times throughout a summer season.
- New swimmers in their first season will typically improve times more aggressively than in future seasons.
- For new swimmers, one option is to set a goal of improving times each meet in at least two of three personal events. And perhaps half way through the season you can set some specific time goals to achieve but with the benefit of a few swim meets under your belt.
- It’s harder to improve times on a 25 yard event than a 50 yard event because of the difference in distance but also because a 50 yard event gives time improvement opportunity from turn technique.
- If your child has a time that is somewhat close to a qualifying time for a regional or invitational meet, that can serve as a good benchmark to shoot for.
Of course, your child might not accomplish all of the goals they set out to achieve. But that’s another one of life’s lessons, isn’t it?