Becoming a competitive swimmer is not an easy process. Usually, the path towards becoming a competitive swimmer is paved at an early age and dependent on the full support of the parents of the children.
How to become a professional swimmer for children guide
Parents usually sign up their children in a swimming club, in order for them to learn how to swim properly. Some parents, however, already have more in mind when signing their kids up for a swim club. They want their children to compete in the beautiful sport of swimming and maybe someday even make a national team. Generally, one can say that no matter the motivation of the parents when signing up their child for a swim club, the child can either be talented or not be talented in swimming.
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Coaches tend to recognize talented children very fast since they are improving faster than untalented children in the water. At this stage, after coaches notice talent in a child, the first big decision for parents has to be made. Will the child’s training be increased in order to maybe pursue a career as a professional swimmer, or will the child stay in the hobby groups and just swim for enjoyment?
In order to pursue the path to competitive sports, some factors should be fulfilled by children:
- The child should be ready for and approve of more frequent training.
- Parents should be prepared to support their child by providing a way for their children to get to the training facility and back again.
- Parents also need to motivate children in difficult times, and times of lesser motivation without causing the children to lose the fun in swimming. For every child inevitably comes a phase of lesser motivation in which friends and games seem more important than regular training. Overcoming these times is the task of the parents. Consequence and persuasion, not compulsion, are effective here. Later, at first major successes, they will usually overcome this hurdle by themselves because they pursue self-imposed goals.
- A child who wants to do “competitive” swimming needs a great deal of fighting spirit and ambition, as swimming is a very training-intensive sport, where prolonged breaks can be a big step backward.
What are the beauty and the fascination of swimming?
First of all, there is the beautiful feeling of weightlessness in the water. Even children weighing more than the average child can be very successful in this sport, which increases their self-esteem enormously. Swimming is, except for relays and team competitions (generally only once a year), an individual sport and everyone is responsible for his own success or failure (unlike team sports such as handball, football, etc.)
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The feeling that children and adolescents experience after achieving a great accomplishment at their competitions is so special and great, that usually swimmers get addicted to it. Swimmers are overwhelmed by the feelings of happiness and they want to experience it again and again. Only for this reason is it possible that children and adolescents enjoy participating in the next competition and train even harder for it.
How often do you have to train as a competitive swimmer?
The duration and amount of training to become a competitive swimmer depends on the age of the swimmer and the stage of maturity. Some Swimmers are more mature at a young age than others. Depending on this, the amount of training per week will be decided. As a rule of thumb, 6-8-year olds typically train for 60 minutes and 2-3 times a week and 8-11-year olds typically train 75 minutes in the water and 30 minutes of dryland training 3 times a week. After that, as mentioned before, the amount of training depends on the maturity and the ability of the swimmers. The next stage would typically be 3-5 times a week a 90-120 minutes swim workout, plus 1-2 times a week strength and conditioning training. For even more advanced swimmers (generally starting at age 13 or 14) the number of swimming sessions will increase to 7-9 per week.
Many clubs train daily, sometimes even twice a day. In addition to the normal training sessions, there are also various training camps at Christmas, Easter and during the summer holidays. The training camps usually take between 5 and 24 days. Some of these take place in other cities or countries and provide a welcome change of scenery for children and adolescents, despite the efforts of training twice a day. At these training camps, they can finally spend more time with their swimmer friends outside the water.
Inevitably, swimmers usually seek their friends among like-minded people, because there is simply not enough time for others. Moreover, non-swimmers usually do not encounter the necessary understanding for their time and efforts spent in the pool. So, if children decide to fully commit to swimming competitively, their parents should fully support the children on their chosen path.
That really sums up how children get into competitive swimming and mark the first steps towards a professional career as a swimmer. One thing to mention is, that it does play a very large role at what age children begin with swim training. Generally, very successful swimmers have started swimming at very young ages like 4 or 5 years. This doesn’t mean that swimmers who start to swim at older ages will not be successful.