So I joined Coast Aquatics, the club team I swam with in middle school and high school, but this time as part of their coaching staff. So I got to my start coaching career at first with the youngest newest swimmers, which we called the novice group. The novice group is solely based around learning how to swim AND kick all 4 strokes.
For the novice group, it is the most developmental group on the entire team. It is where all of the athletes learn basic technique for every single stroke. Like I mentioned earlier kick is a big emphasis in the group. Why you might ask?
Well kicking in swimming is in an essential building block that is used throughout every level of swimming, it is the base of all strokes and a determining factor any swimmers potential. Some swimmers are natural kickers but a lot of it has to do with ankle flexibility as well as hip flexibility. Both of these things can be cultivated to help a swimmer later on in their career, in that increasing the height of their ceiling for improvement. For that reason novice swim practices consist mainly of kicking and drills to improve basic fundamentals of all four strokes. This helps shape and form good practice habits. When the swimmer starts to excel and is by far at the top of his or her group we will then move the swimmer up into the next group. This is usually a very noticeable and easy decision to make. The second developmental group which is slightly more advanced is the group that I primarily coach is called the “age group” group. In this training group workouts are a little bit more concentrated on different levels of training and we break them up into four days mainly because those are the only four days that we have practice offered. But of course it can be opened up onto a larger scale depending on practice schedules.
Our weekly practices consist of primarily aerobic freestyle on the first practice of the week transitioning to threshold I am work on the second practice of the week moving to moving to a practice we like to call a rainbow practice because it has small parts of every component of the training week. Finally on our fourth and final day of practice we do what is called quality. Quality swim practice is almost always consist of extremely fast swims with Max effort there is tons of rest in between each of these swims to almost completely mock a real swim meet we do this to give the kids a chance to get up and go fast and get used to the racing routine.
With the age groupers kick is also a humongous component to their success as a swimmer. Age group is still an extremely important developmental building block for the athlete, as they are still learning great fundamental habits for all four strokes and are still improving technique. Technique and very fast kicking is the key focal point for the age group swimmer. Theoretically, the more solid foundation they have in the beginning the easier it becomes to advance. Hopefully now you have a grip of what competitive swimming is like at a the developmental stages!