Participating in a sport at a young age can be a positive part of your child's development. There's the physical benefits, helping them to avoid being part of the childhood obesity epidemic here in the U.S. Then there's also the social aspect, allowing them to make friends outside of school and develop life long relationships. And of course, there's the developmental element, which enables your child to take on more responsibility, understand the value of teamwork, and learn valuable life skills.
If your child has expressed an interest in swimming, and you feel that they are ready to join a swim team, here are some considerations to choose the best team for them.
Assess Your Child's Skill Level
Before throwing your kid into the nearest swim team, make sure that the club goals and team match your child's skill level. If your child is a beginner and learning the basics of technique and water safety then it's best not to put them in the squad that's training for a championship season. Take time to speak with the coaches of the local swim team and make sure that your child is physically ready for the team you are considering. There's nothing worse than putting your child in a group where they are struggling to keep up and feel like they are inadequate to the other kids on the team. Do an honest assessment before sticking your child in a club.
What Else is Your Child Interested In?
Just because you or the other siblings in the household love swimming, that doesn't mean that every child will enjoy the sport. Find out if your child really wants to participate in a swim club; maybe they'd rather join a soccer team or dance squad. Or maybe one of their idols is an Olympian swimmer and they want to practice to become just like that athlete. Either way, there's a club out there to match your child; some just focus on the fun and fitness, while other clubs are committed to producing champions. Knowing your child's interest level will help you find a team that fits the commitment level and passion of your child.
Do Your Homework
Ask around the neighborhood and talk to other parents about what swimming teams their children have been a part of and find out more about the clubs. Does the team require a big time commitment from the parents? Will you and the other members of the family be able to actively participate in the team activities? Is the team schedule so demanding that it will cut into your child's academic responsibilities? Learning about other families' experience with the different clubs will help you and your child choose the one that fits best with your needs as a family.
Interview the Coaches
And feel free to interview the coaches, too! There's plenty of great coaches out there, but each one is different and has their own coaching style. Sit down with the coach and inquire about their coaching philosophy. Ask them questions about their own training and swimming experience, how they structure the training, and what they do to prepare your child for competition. If your child is serious about competing and wants to try and earn scholarships, make sure the coach is fine-tuning their stroke technique and other aspects of their performance, instead of just having the team do laps the entire session.
Whatever swim team you choose for your child, they are sure to have a great experience. Stay informed about nutrition needs for your child and other swimming related articles by subscribing to our P2Life blog today!