Swimming is an amazing sport for children. Competitive swimming programs provide many benefits to young athletes including self-discipline, good sportsmanship, and time management skills. Competition allows the swimmer to experience success and to learn how to treat success and failure as two sides of the same coin, while becoming healthy and physically fit.
Whenever deciding on a sport for your kids, first they have to love the sport! As a family you will be immersed in swimming and there is nothing more stressful then taxiing your crying kid to practices and meets when they just don’t want to. It’s important that everyone has a good time and wants to be there.
We have compiled a short list of things to consider when deciding which swim team program is right for you.
1. Type of Team
USA Teams, Recreational Teams, High School or Middle School Swim Teams, or YMCA Teams. Each of these types of teams offer something different. USA teams are the most competitive where as High School teams are only seasonal.
2. Coaching Staff
There can be an array of coaching experience from one team to the next. Some teams have a coaching staff that have experience as both high level competitors and coaching expertise while others have current local competitive swimmers working with their athletes and even others might be seasonal instructors.
3. Commitment – Swimmers and Parents
This is a big one. A swim team is complex organism; with many moving parts. Make sure you understand, when signing up, the responsibilities of your swimmer and the commitments of the parents. Many teams have a required amount of volunteer hours that each family must commit to in order to be in good standing with the team. Swimmers will also have set practice time commitments and team participation for swim meets and other activities.
Swimming is an expensive sport. The maintenance and upkeep of the pool and equipment, the cost of staff and organizing and running meets. On serious teams the costs per season could be thousands of dollars where other recreational teams could be in the mid-hundreds.
It is especially important to understand that the alignment of the team philosophy and your goals and expectations should match. Talk with the head coach about what it is you are hoping your swimmer will achieve in their program and determine if it will be a good fit for both your family and the team dynamics.
Learn more about the Swim team at Sunshine Swim Center, a recreational program designed to be a stepping stone from “learn to swim” swimming lessons to the competitive world of swimming.