As a collective body, the Shanghai Swim League (SSL) Aquatics Directors and coaches have made a unanimous decision to adjust the way in which Under 8s will be introduced to competitive swimming. Beginning next year, Under 8 students will participate in their own ‘developmental’ swim meets that are designed to promote positive first experiences and early enjoyment in this life-long sport. In turn, how we structure our Under 8 training programs within SSL schools, will remain consistent and in line with recommendations from international swimming bodies. We encourage you to read on to gain a deeper understanding of these positive improvements our league has made.
The improvements have been made to align the SSL with international swimming bodies such as USA swimming, Canadian Swimming, UK swimming, Bangkok Swimming League’s model and these changes are proving to improve the longevity (Long Term Athlete Development Plan) and overall engagement in our sport.
- The Under 8 age category will be removed from Rounds 1-7 of the SSL.
- Under 8 students will participate in a ‘Developmental Series’ consisting of
- 3 swim meets organised by the SSL. These swim meets will occur on different weekends to Rounds 1-7 of the SSL.
- Developmental Series swim meets will be morning or half-days only.
- Individual scoring and placing will not be recognized – no medals or ribbons.
- Students will leave each developmental meet with a valid time, token of participation and a big smile.
- Additional ‘Friendly’ meets may be organised by individual schools throughout
- the year at a time and location convenient to the schools involved. These meets are not organised or sanctioned by the SSL as a collective body. They are run and organised by the schools participating.
All SSL school representatives are in agreement that it is not age appropriate to have Under 8 students spend an entire day at the pool to swim in 3 races that take less than a few minutes to complete. This is not a positive introduction to the sport of swimming for our students or their parents.
With Under 8’s having their own exclusive swim meets, waiting times in between events will be significantly reduced resulting in fast, action-packed mornings with active and excited students. Students and their families with then have the afternoon to spend together, engaging in other exciting activities.
By removing the emphasis off performance (medals and ribbons), more attention and focus can be given to stroke development and team building during training sessions. It is also hoped this will reduce the excessive number of training sessions some Under 8 swimmers are doing. Anything beyond 3-4 training sessions per week is not healthy for the long term development and retention of our younger swimmers.
The SSL league are proud of this transition, it allows our young athletes to a welcoming and specific introduction using methods that are reflective of their chronological age.
After all, if we are asking our swimmers sometimes as young as 6-7 to compete in a way that the 15 & overs do, how can we expect engagement and longevity?
As stated in the Long Term Athlete Development Plan our under 8 swimmers should be given an opportunity to engage in:
- An active start (page 23 of L.T.A.D Canada)
- developed (page 24 of L.T.A.D Canada)
- Coordination skills developed; hitting, striking, single arm movements, double
- arm movements, jumping throwing & participation in multiple activities/sports
- Promote involvement in multiple sports
- Promote and teach safety
- Be based on enjoyment and fun
- Promote fair play
- Foster a positive attitude towards activity and participation
- Promote teamwork and personal interaction skills
- Learn to love our amazing sport!
Common swimming questions from parents:
My child is under 10 and is a great freestyler. What does (s)he have to do to make it to the top?
The first thing to accept is that there is no such thing as a champion ten year old freestyler. Swimmers who experience success pre-teenage years generally do so because of accelerated growth or unique ability to understand water feeling early on, i.e. they are bigger and stronger than the other kids or water smart!! Another common situation is that as kids grow, change and develop, their ability to swim the competitive swimming strokes also changes – this year’s backstroker could be next year’s freestyler and then the following year they are great at swimming fly.
In the long term, the factors which determine success as a senior swimmer are the 5 Ps:
• Perseverance – the ability to try and try and try and try – and to never give up;
• Patience – it takes time to become a great swimmer – about ten years of consistent hard work of deliberate practice;
• Physical training – great swimmers are usually the best prepared. It takes a high level of physical fitness, technical development and skills refinement to make it to the top;
• Personality – world class swimmers demonstrate some common personality traits – none the least being determination, commitment, the ability to overcome adversity and the capacity for accelerated learning (open mind-set);
• Passion – Swimming is like anything else in life: you have to love it to do it well!
These adjustments shall come into effect as of academic year 2019-2020, the SSL committee are delighted to move our league forward with these developments which continue to create a pathway for our young athletes to develop and mature through.
Monday: 6:15am – 7:45am
Tuesday: 3:00pm – 4:00pm & 4:00pm – 4:30pm(dryland)
Wednesday: 6:15am – 7:45am
Thursday: 3:15pm – 4:15pm & 4:15pm – 4:45pm(dryland)
Friday: 6:15am – 7:45am
Monday: 3:15pm – 4:15pm
Wednesday: 3:15pm – 4:15pm
Friday: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Monday: 4:15pm – 5pm
Friday: 3:15pm – 4pm
Friday: 3:15pm – 4pm
Monday: 4:15pm – 5pm