Thread: Michael Andrew
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Old 04-03-2012
ian mac ian mac is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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ian mac
Default Kids, intensity and training mindfully

Oh swim2Bfree, you so do stir things up. Although you always have so many wonderful things to say, even though your wit is appreciated - I wish that you would be somewhat less caustic toward some of my more sensitive TI brethren.

So many great points were brought up, but when it comes to children especially, I strongly feel that it is less about what parents and coaches do physically than it is about how they develop kids mentally and emotionally.

At this year's upcoming USA swimming Trials, approximately 1250 young men and women will be vying for a maximum of 52 spots - less than .05%. Since several of the most talented will be swimming multiple events, it is an even smaller actual number.

Forty years ago my younger sister was National champion as a ten year old in the 50metre butterfly with a time of 36.3. Friends and relatives were always asking her if she was going to the Olympics as if it were a predetermined fait accompli. At swim meets, many wanted her to lose. Not easy stuff to assimilate emotionally when you're ten. By 13, she had quit the sport. In a study of US swimmers, it was found that in the past 50 years, almost no children who were National Champions at ten successfully made the US Olympic team.

As father of 5 children (3,8,10,13 & 14) I often dwell on the best ways to motivate them, give them love and assurance and encourage them in their passions and endeavours. Yes, I set the bar high - but try to be realistic regarding their successes and failures. Ultimately it is up to them to find their inner drive and as parents, hopefully we can encourage them to do well rather than push and cajole beyond their unique individualism.

As a distance swimmer during my teens and twenties back in the 70's it was not uncommon for me to train between 14,000 - 20,000 metres/day. I fondly recall once covering 32,000 before tapering for my first Nationals back in '74 when I was 16. My only regret is not the mileage, but that it was far less mindful than what my training is today. Sadly, youth often is wasted on the young.

Regarding Andrew, it would seem that both of his Olympic parents are wisely keeping on the reins, appreciating how long the journey is. This seems to be true of many parents who have excelled athletically and to this I say, "Bravo".

Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern day Olympics once famously said, "Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical values." I suspect that regardless of whether or not Andrew makes a US Olympic team, his parents will have instilled this in him and ultimately make him an Olympian in life.
ian mac
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