Goals of a Pre-competitive Swim Program

Often times in swimming, children enter the competitive side of the sport EXTREMELY fast…..transitioning from a once per week lessons program of 30-45 minutes to a 2-3 day per week program of hour long practices can be a bit daunting and overwhelming for both children and their parents. This “rushed” experience many times will lead to burnout at a very young age, with children no longer enjoying the sport of swimming with too much time committed to practices, and not enough time committed to fun, or just being a kid.

One solution that is making its way to different programs across the country are Pre-competitive swim programs. Pre-competitive swim programs are once a week programs designed to ease children into the sport of swimming without overwhelming them. The goal is that swimming is treated just like any other sport that children take part in-baseball, softball, lacrosse, basketball, and soccer.

The Pre-competitive program offered at Excel Aquatics is no different. It has been designed to act as a bridge for children looking to competitively swim, but have no experience. Here is a brief list of the goals our program has for its participants-

1) FUN-we probably cannot stress this one enough. Children often times burn out of sports and leave because they were not fun. Period. Making sure the learning process in swimming is surrounded by fun elements helps children enjoy the process of learning in the pool, which can grow into a lifelong passion in the sport.

2) Reasonable commitment-At a young age, children have a lot on their plate in terms of activities and sports. Too often it becomes a challenge for children to try the sports they desire because the commitment levels are too much at even the lowest levels. For swimming, asking a child to commit to multiple days of practice for an hour each practice seems a bit silly-how does anyone know if the child will enjoy the sport? Maybe these practices are keeping the child away from another opportunity they would enjoy more? Pre-competitive programs help solve this problem by keeping the commitment level realistic, which allows the child to have the opportunity to try swimming, without making it their “primary” sport at such a young age.

3) Small group coaching-keeping class sizes small at the Excel Aquatics Learn to Swim Program has been one of the program’s cornerstones since the beginning. With the launch of our Pre-competitive program, we decided to carry this philosophy over to the next level. Children more often than not learn better in groups, but the groups cannot be too large! We instead believe in having multiple coaches on deck working with our swimmers, keeping the ratio to 6:1, ensuring individualized attention and safety during every practice.

4) Team atmosphere-finally, swimming has proven time and time again to not only be a great individual sport, but a team sport as well, providing the best of both worlds! Giving children the opportunity to practice with their peers, and create an enjoyable atmosphere really adds to the fun factor (see point #1). Here at Excel, we firmly believe in the team aspect of swimming, and make it a focal point of our Pre-competitive program where the swimmers get to enjoy the company of their friends during practice.

Interested in learning more about Excel’s Pre-competitive programs in either Albany or Schenectady? Visit our website at www.goswimexcel.com, or send us an email at [email protected]!