Wow, the first half term is coming to an end, what a whirlwind it has been!
Over the past week we have been carrying out Group Assessments with the TigerSharks squads and it has led to questions and concerns from a number of people which have led me to sharing my thoughts with you all.
The assessment week is a longstanding part of the TigerSharks program and a system used worldwide to support with structuring squads within a swim team. With such a large swimming community at Bangkok Patana, this is an opportunity for us as coaches to see how swimmers are progressing and, maybe more importantly, check that the training groups are filled with the correct level of swimmer getting the correct level of coaching.
Within our swim team, we strive to support swimmers to become ‘all-rounders’ that can cope with the vigour’s of multiple strokes and distances within swimming. For every swimmer, there will be a preference; a favourite stroke, a favourite distance, but for us as coaches we want them to develop the skills and fitness to swim a range of events. This is focussed around IM (Individual Medley) as a great indicator of all round ability in swimming, beginning with 100yrds, then 200yrds and finally 400yrds to progress from Gold squad.
To support with this, the freestyle set is a reflection of the target turn around that swimmers will need to achieve in the next squad.
I view the assessment week as a marker in terms of swimmer progress. I do not expect swimmers to progress through an entire squad in one term, often not even in one year (sometimes they simply are not ready- socially, mentally or physically), but I do want to see progress. Progress in the assessment week is easily measurable, via the swimmers time, but there are other indicators. As you will see from your child’s graduation checklist, we are also keen to see the correct attitude in training (positivity to what they are doing, listening to technical advice and making changes, maintaining technique through sets).
This is the message I would like you as parents to share from me, with our swimmers. There has been a number of swimmers not wanting to complete the assessment or not trying during the assessment, as they viewed that the only focus was on moving to the next squad. As coaches we are promoting progress and development, and I hope you will too.
I hope you all have a wonderful break over the next week and look forward to seeing you, and your swimmers after the mid-term break.