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Old 11-30-2010, 08:57 PM
 
1,827 posts, read 2,774,815 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringo1 View Post
Well, I agree that I don't want him to have TOO much time on his hands.

It would be possible to drop the Club Swim - though his HS coach encourages it; because that is where you get all your good training. The HS team only gets the pool for so many hours, etc.

But I agree - this is a possibility.

We are going to see this year through, of course, and then reflect on whether or not we will continue the club swim. There are some on the team that don't club swim; they strictly practice with their HS team. They are not as good; but still seem to enjoy it and being part of a team.

remember the only risk with year round competition is burn out. at some point the vast majority treat the fun activity as a job and it gets old fast. i've seen truly gifted wrestlers who competed and trained all year round only to throw in the towel after their senior year and off to college they went as just another regular student. which is fine, absolutely nothing wrong with that, but in some cases its pretty sad when you see a 4x state champ not competing in college because high school wore them out.

my gf was the opposite of me she says. she swam year round in high school and basically did nothing else but swim, eat, sleep and school for 4 years. while it did lead to a college scholarship for her and then a coaching career in the sport those can be rare especially as colleges nationwide begin to cut swim programs.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:13 PM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
26,437 posts, read 14,692,317 times
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I tried to rep you again Buckeye but it said I had to spread some more around. I agree with you 100%.

But, with swimming, as you get older; it's year-round or you are pretty much out of the game. You simply cannot keep up with those who do train year-round.

I think I will encourage some longer breaks this year once HS season is over.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:59 PM
 
6 posts, read 7,425 times
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Default Craziness

Glad to see someone else out there in swimland questioning the amount of time and energy going to a "sport." My son swims in high school and we did not come up through the "club system." The amount of time and energy going to this sport is beyond what I consider healthy and is definitely leaning to obsessive and unhealthy. Our practices are Monday through Friday 5:15 to 7:00 AM AND after school Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5 or so, (Friday afternoons off! Yippee!). Saturday mornings for several hours, too. It was bad enough during season, but that ended about five weeks ago and now club is starting up. The above mentioned schedule is what was required during the season and is what is being pushed for the swim club spring/summer season as well. Tried looking at USA Swimming to see what the rules are, but it does not appear there are any rules as to how much practice is too much. Shocked to see there are no rules. Spoke with the state swimming officials and there are rules as far as high school competitions, but the club system appears to be a way to get around the rules that have been put in place for the health and well-being of the student athletes. Whole thing seems skewed to me. What are we thinking as parents? When my son first got into this sport we had a lot going on and quite honestly it's only after a couple of years of this that you can kind of take a step back and see how bizarre it is. I have other children who have participated in other sports and trust me, I can safely say that no other sport is as demanding as swimming is. That includes, girls softball, girls tennis, boy's soccer and boy's football for a very dominant and reknowned parochial school team. The football came close, but even that was not as crazy as swimming. I have driven my son to and from every practice for two years. This is a very unbalanced sport which allows little downtime for the athlete or their parent(S). Anytime something is so off balance it is rarely good. USA Swimming needs to set some rules regarding what's allowable for practices and they need to do it with the young athletes in mind.
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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Default Few More Thoughts...From Sane Mom

Just did a little research. If swimming were a job, which it basically does become, then according to US and many state child labor laws, someone would be going to jail. For minors under the age of 16, they are restricted from working before 6 AM, but swim practices start at 5:10 AM. Also, they are limited to the number of hours they can work, and swim practices clearly overreaches the boundaries set to protect children. Here's the question people... who monitors this stuff? Who sets the limits? Because if there were limits like there are in so many sports, then one wouldn't have to worry about competing year round, just to stay up to par with others. Seems this whole system has been contrived for the benefit of a very select few. This is a monolith that is being fed by the many who give up much in the name of this sport. Character? That comes from social interaction, good sportsmanship, morals, ethics. I have seen some of the most elite athletes with the most reprehensible behavior. Too much time focused on a sport, rather than a well-rounded individual. We idolize the elite athlete and then all too often find out that they have more flaws than the average individual, because there was too much emphasis on winning at all costs. It is a very high price these kids pay and it is a shame that adults, administrators cannot take a step back and remember what their mission is. I don't think kids should have to choose between having a life, academics and their sport. There should be a way for it all to balance out. In the sport of swimming as it currently stands, this is virtually impossible. That is what needs to change.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:01 PM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
26,437 posts, read 14,692,317 times
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Well, I share your concern about the time it takes. The only person setting the limits will be you or your child. Yes, some of the most gifted swimmers spend the majority of their time in a pool and not out socializing. I guess this can be good or bad - depending on the group of friends your child might socialize with!

I will say this ~ after our first year on a new (and more demanding) club and HS team. My son LOVES it. He loves the coaches; the fact that it is coach driven and not parent driven; and the kids. No one gets special treatment. This is where his entire life takes place - at practice or at the meets. Is that good? I don't know. It's better than what I was doing at his age! But I do worry about being more 'well-rounded'.

IF he had to practice every day before school - I definitely don't think he would like it as much. That's waaay too early EVERY DAY. Yuck.

Most people don't have a clue as to what it takes to be a really good swimmer. I guess the question I would ask is . . . is your son happy?
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,323,629 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaneMom View Post
Here's the question people... who monitors this stuff? Who sets the limits?
Uhm... how about you, the parent?
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:25 AM
 
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Default Push for limits on practices

Ringo 1 ...

Appreciate your comments. The problem is not the sport, my kid likes swimming and is very good at it even though he did not come up through the club system. He's worked really hard and has achieved some pretty neat things on what would most people would consider an elite team. I don't have a problem with rigorous workouts, I have a problem with rigorous workouts on the schedule I describe.

I think you're right, if your son had to get up EVERY school day at 4:50 AM to make a 5:15 AM practice then go to school all day and practice again from 3:00 to 5:00, 5:30, sometimes 6:00 PM and he did that 7-1/2 months out of the school year... he would probably not enjoy his swimming experience nearly as much. That is where my son is at. I think that any normal, rational person would agree that 13-1/2 hour days for almost the entire school year with no true fall or winter breaks, because of practice and competitions is just too much.

(Side note to the above: I did mention that these kids are EXPECTED to teach swim lessons for club and that then adds another hour and a half or so to their 13-1/2 hour day several days a week. Just wanted to make sure that everybody understands this whole scenario fully. I have absolutely forbidden my son from doing that ever again during the school year.)

Because USA Swimming is the governing body over clubs, I simply believe that it is their duty to have some kind of check and balance system in place for the protection of the athletes. That's all. I'm not going to keep saying the same thing over and over. Just food for thought. I am speaking with those at the highest levels nationally about this issue. They do not disagree that what I am describing is excessive. In fact they agree, but their solution was to suggest finding another club for summer season. I SUGGEST, that they, as the governing body for this sport, exercise their power and authority to set limits for clubs to follow. If they run the sanctioned events and they set the limits, then things cannot get out of control. A simple check and balance system since it seems some clubs, parents included, have gotten far too caught up in the winning and lost focus of the kids. In the quest for success, winning, scholarships, etc., even the parents have lost sight of the things that are truly important.

We've all heard of student athletes suffering life altering injuries and even death. For what? A game? A sport? I bet if you talked to a parent who lost a child because of their involvement in sports and they had the opportunity to go back and do things differently, they would All I am saying here is, let's be proactive. When something is clearly wrong as the scenario I am describing clearly is ... let's be a force for positive change. It will take a huge number of people coming forward to change a system as entrenched as USA Swimming is, but that organization is the key to much of the problem. They have the power to positively impact the sport.

Suggestions for anyone concerned about any of this. Check the American Academy of Pediatrics as to their viewpoint on participation in sports for children and adolescents. Check Psychology Today regarding the negative effects of burnout on student atheles. Google harmful effects of overexposure to chlorine and the phenomenon of swimming induced asthma due to chloramines. Read any of the numerous books on these subjects by reknowned experts. Educate yourself and the more knowledge you have, the more you will question the system and the process.

We will be making changes in our lives as a result of all this. My son has decided on his own to join a different swim club for the summer. He is going to widen his horizons by going out for a different sport and may or may not go back to swimming in the fall. I am a good parent, I've got a wonderful son. Have never really posted something like this out there on the web before. To those who use this medium as a means of improving their lives and the world in general, thank you.

Response to Drover:

To those who like to play the devil's advocate for no specific purpose, I'm not going to play that game. If you cannot see that I am a concerned, involved and intelligent person, then there's really nothing more to discuss or share. Bull's in china factories can do a lot of damage. Constructive comments and criticisms are always welcome and appreciated. Off the cuff thoughtless comments serve no purpose whatsoever.

Hope everyone has a happy, healthy and productive day!
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,323,629 times
Reputation: 29339
Yeah well, if only people didn't occasionally need the obvious stated to them...

You and you alone get to decide if the time commitment is worth it. You and your child can accept it for what it is or reject it. Nobody else needs to "monitor" it.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:21 AM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,450,865 times
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Not that my opinion really matters, but I'm glad that you are supporting your son. As a teenager, I maintained a similar schedule, and I really needed my parents to step in and help me set appropriate limits. Unfortunately, they were oblivious to how completely overwhelmed I was, and I didn't yet have the perspective I needed to walk away. Good for you for listening to your gut instinct that your son might be in over his head and giving him permission to scale back!
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:50 PM
 
157 posts, read 108,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaneMom View Post
... who monitors this stuff? Who sets the limits? Because if there were limits like there are in so many sports, then one wouldn't have to worry about competing year round, just to stay up to par with others. Seems this whole system has been contrived for the benefit of a very select few.
Only parents can decide what is too much for their child.

Is your gripe with the coaches, or the fact that if your son takes off some time, he will not be as good as those who don't.

My grandson is a sophomore in high school. He has already broken school records. He practices with the girls' team because their season is immediately before the boys'. He also helps the coach out with the girls, giving instruction and timing, etc.. He is also in a club that practices year around on the other side of town.

His goal is a swimming scholarship for college and he knows what he has to put into it to be good.

He is also an student teacher in the JROTC program. The two majors in charge of that program at his school are talking to him about West Point or other military officer's training college.

He finds time for his friends and gets high honors in his classes.
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