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Dadto2

Swimming burnout

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Fifteenyears

My daughter is a mid level gymnast.  I limit her training hours, so she has only been doing 15.5 hours a week, but most of her team mates do 19 hours.   They’re ten and eleven, and they’re not going to the Olympics, they’re just training for regional and (hopefully) state competitions.  There aren’t even Nationals until you get to level eight.

What has been super interesting, for this high hours sport, has been shutdown.  Right from grassroots gymnastics to elite gymnastics, shutdown has made everyone question the ‘necessary’ year round, no holidays, high hours nature of the sport.    Because the elites more or less picked up right where they left off, after easing in for a couple of weeks, and many of them are looking better than ever after months out of the gym let their bodies rest.   Of course they (and the grassroots gymnasts) conditioned during shutdown, but more at the level of six or seven hours a week, not the hours they were putting in at the gym. (Disclaimer - almost nowhere has had to deal with quite the shutdown Victorian gymnasts have had.  I don’t want to sound insensitive.  I am talking about a few months out of gym, not many months).

The other thing that has been interesting is the attrition.    Shutdown seemed to make something click in the people who were in the sport out of habit - because they started when they were little and it became high hours and they adjusted like the proverbial frog in boiling water.   They started with the zoom training but didn’t have the passion to keep it up, and discovered new, fun ways to fill their sudden expanse of spare time.  Some of them went back to gym initially after shutdown, but realised the love was no longer there.

And then there are the kids who genuinely love or need that level of sport.  And they went back and stayed back.

I didn’t know which way my daughter would go, because before shutdown I was wondering whether she was in the sport out of love, or just out of habit.  And now I know.

So my theory is that high hours kids sports need more off season.  Kids need a chance to see if they will miss it, and time off is nowhere near as deleterious as was previously believed, as long as the kid stays active during the break.   Elite athletes come back from injury all the time - imagine taking the time off BEFORE you reach the point of injury!

Edited by Fifteenyears
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MadMarchMasterchef
2 hours ago, liveworkplay said:

Swimming at the elite level requires hours and hours of training. I feel the same as you OP, I think it is pushing too much too fast.  But unfortunately it happens in all sports to some extent. I have seen it with my DD's swimmer friend. Train intensively, win, reach national championship level...multiple times and then at 14 drop out all together and refuse to play any sport at all, meanwhile struggling with an eating disorder as a direct result from swimming participation.  It is sadly a common story.

Pre covid my kids were doing a heap of training, DD1 over 10 hours a week between two sports, DD2 the same over 3 sports, not to mention school sports thrown in. The difference being they are spreading the hour over different disciplines and have kept their love of keeping active and healthy from it. This is what junior sport should be about, success at competition is an added bonus. 

I wish I could give 2 icons this needs a love icon for the second paragraph as well as sad icon for the first. 

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g_uzica

DD11 fell into squad swimming a few years ago and then moved into competitive swimming.  It's been interesting watching the kids that are in it by choice compared to the kids are there because of their parents. It's the second group which peak early while the others are incrementally improving and staying in the sport longer.

DD refuses to do any morning sessions as the kids in the afternoon sessions are a lot more social (more awake!!) and they have more fun.  DD's coach sees potential in her (interest, body shape and height) but isn't pushing her to do more because her body is still growing and wants her in it for the long haul. At a pre-state level the kids are swimming about 4x 90 min sessions a week and will start a dryland session in the summer.

 As DD chose the competition streak (rather than the fitness/social stream) I expect her to put in the effort as there is a lot of time spent driving to and waiting at swim meets, but would equally support her if she wants to move to the fitness stream.  I'm just glad she chose a sport which doesn't require games/meets each week.   

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Manicmum

Under 12s can’t attend morning sessions at our club. 

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MarciaB

I have had 2 dd's that were / are competitive swimmers (the younger to National level - a couple of times).

The guideline for training per week is half their age.  (Or as our coach says - their age per fortnight - up to 9 sessions for school age).  This is mostly water sessions.  Gym sessions on top.

My older dd also did Water polo - and eventually quit swimming to focus on that - Water Polo also around 7-8 sessions (including games) as when you get older you tend to be asked to play in different teams or have NSWIS (Institute of Sport) training.

To be honest with swimming - I have not noticed burnout or been aware of any eating disorder issues.  We regularly have dieticians talk to the team and if anything they tell them to eat more.

I think a lot depends on the culture of the Club.  Things that made it easier for my girls - "forced" pool closures for 4 weeks at a time (usually after champs) - time off for exams, lots of social events. Also a coach that will work with kids who are feeling like it is too much. Last year dd dropped her sessions for 2 months as she plays another sport during winter so Her coach changed her programme to allow for the other training. 
Having said all that - sport is supposed to be fun. If it is no longer fun - time to re-assess and that might mean leaving the sport.

Edited by MarciaB
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Hon Lady Monteagle
On 23/09/2020 at 2:02 PM, CallMeFeral said:

Unfortunately I think this is just the way sport has gone now (not just swimming). It's no longer something kids can just do in their spare time and if they are talented, do well in competitively. It's now a thing they have to get 'serious' in if they want to have any success at it, and that's likely to lead to burnout. 

 

I'm starting to think this is the way everything is going.  My kids' thing is music, as was mine, and I find a similar contrast between how I found it growing up, and how I find it for my kids.  And as another PP said, it does add to the chasm between the have and have-nots. 

I'm wondering whether this is part of a general trend in coached-childhoods also evident in relation to selective schools, which (one line of thought has it) used to pull out the bright locals, and now sit at the pinnacle of the academic coaching industrial complex. 

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spr_maiden

Is an interesting observation and it is sad and worrying if the child is not doing for themselves, but due to external pressure. This is the attitude that puts our family off sport tbh. It's also odd as doesn't research suggest the consistent predictor of Olympic/elite success is as child the athlete tried out a number of sports before settling into the one they achieved Olympic status as a teen? So yeah OP, that would support your "cutting nose off despite face" theory. 

I'll see if I can find it. 

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**Manning**

As Victoria hasn't returned to any sport this year, I think there will be a big drop out rate.

In normal times, trials for rep (netball & basketball) would be well underway.  Those kids who made teams for 2020 may not try out again for a number of factors and probably won't tryout ever again.

All my kids were doing swimming (squad) - 1 hr a week. Nothing serious - more for exercise, fitness and giving them a change from their land sports/activities.  When lessons eventually start up again in Melbourne, I am pretty sure my two older girls won't go back.  My youngest will as she enjoys swimming.

 

 

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kshy
12 minutes ago, **Manning** said:

As Victoria hasn't returned to any sport this year, I think there will be a big drop out rate.

In normal times, trials for rep (netball & basketball) would be well underway.  Those kids who made teams for 2020 may not try out again for a number of factors and probably won't tryout ever again.

All my kids were doing swimming (squad) - 1 hr a week. Nothing serious - more for exercise, fitness and giving them a change from their land sports/activities.  When lessons eventually start up again in Melbourne, I am pretty sure my two older girls won't go back.  My youngest will as she enjoys swimming.

 

 

I think so many sports are going to experience this especially amongst teenagers 

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2_little_boys

DH used to compete (in the olden days) with Daniel Kowalski.

He would train 1-2 hours each morning before school.  Then again 1-2 hours each afternoon after school.  Then would put in time over the weekend too.  He was also a life saver.

He trained a LOT.  He quit it completely at about 18 years old.  In the 25 years Ive known him he *might* get in the water 1-2 times in summer but it has to be super hot and he only really does it because the kids love him going in the beach with him.

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TheGreenSheep
On 30/09/2020 at 2:23 PM, **Manning** said:

As Victoria hasn't returned to any sport this year, I think there will be a big drop out rate.

 

On 30/09/2020 at 2:36 PM, kshy said:

I think so many sports are going to experience this especially amongst teenagers 

I am extremely curious what the drop off rate will be. My DSs have played competitive sport for a few years, but having their finals cancelled and 2 seasons now MIA with Covid, its going to take a lot of motivating to get their fitness and interest back! 

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JRA
2 minutes ago, TheGreenSheep said:

 

I am extremely curious what the drop off rate will be. My DSs have played competitive sport for a few years, but having their finals cancelled and 2 seasons now MIA with Covid, its going to take a lot of motivating to get their fitness and interest back! 

We are assuming a large drop out rate in community sport.

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liveworkplay

We have a shortened water polo club competition running atm. Across all clubs we have seen a 30% decrease in competitors. This is junior through to seniors. 

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Dadto2
3 hours ago, 2_little_boys said:

DH used to compete (in the olden days) with Daniel Kowalski.

He would train 1-2 hours each morning before school.  Then again 1-2 hours each afternoon after school.  Then would put in time over the weekend too.  He was also a life saver.

He trained a LOT.  He quit it completely at about 18 years old.  In the 25 years Ive known him he *might* get in the water 1-2 times in summer but it has to be super hot and he only really does it because the kids love him going in the beach with him.

That to me seems so sad! All those years training.... but I guess pretty common with top swimmers. 

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