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  #1  
Old 06-28-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Default TI for kids?

My 5yr old just started swimming lessons, and they are doing the traditional airplane float, torpedo kick, kickboard kicking, kickboard with alternating pulling, catch up drill... and so on. My daughter is currently at the torpedo kicking stage.

I am just wondering if there is even such a thing as TI for kids? All materials that I am seeing are aimed at adults.

Last edited by terry : 07-03-2013 at 10:23 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-28-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Which elements of the TI method would you see as great fit for kids?
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  #3  
Old 06-28-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Just the whole TI sequence of drills, the divergence seems to happen right at the beginning.

Supermans glide vs Airplane glide, then side balance vs torpedo. TI doesn't advocate any kicking when lying flat.

Use of kickboard vs no kickboard, progression to catch up drill, whereas TI progresses to switches.

Is there a reason why TI progression wouldn't work with kids?
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  #4  
Old 06-28-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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What do you mean by "Work"?
What's the purpose of the TI Method?
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Ok maybe I didn't explain myself clearly. I am talking about the process of taking a 5yr child with no water experience and progressing him/her to the point of swimming freestyle.

I do a search for swim schools in my area and come up with a multitude of results, basically every public pool in the area has multiple swim schools teaching kids to swim. In addition there are also some private schools and health club affiliated schools. In fact seems like 99% of them advertise kids lessons above adult lessons. But none of them mention TI. Why is that?
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  #6  
Old 06-28-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
Ok maybe I didn't explain myself clearly.
Yeah, sorry for having insisted for clarification, swimming is a very vast universe. TI Freestyle only represent a fraction of it.

Kids are generally gradually exposed to a much wider landscape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
I am talking about the process of taking a 5yr child with no water experience and progressing him/her to the point of swimming freestyle.
Hmmm. I learned my job as a swim coach in regards to teaching kids long ago. But there remains several concepts which I'm not willing to question.

One of them being the extraordinary ability for kids to learn.

I'm a strong believer that you shouldn't teach kids the way you teach adults. The little tots are learning machines. They are geared toward copying, mimicking, etc...

With adults, you want to decompose, and possibly even avoid approaching the freestyle from fullstroke first. With kids, it's different. You can certainly try your luck with a global approach first, then you decompose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
In fact seems like 99% of them advertise kids lessons above adult lessons. But none of them mention TI. Why is that?
There needs to be a serious work of adapting the TI method for kids, because the way I see it, its "adults version" delivery is so well adapted to take unflexible out of shape adults to the pleasure of freestyle, that it's not entirely adapted to work out of the box with kids.

One compelling example. You just can not ask a 5yo to "think" or be mindful about every stroke. Some will be able too, but you'll loose several little tots that just don't have this ability to focus on every gesture for 1hour.

Kids love to play, they better learn playing. They can kick. And you'd typically don't want to gear a kid for LD swimming.

TI is mostly about LD swimming (hence this obsession for the 2bk).

The day I register my kid for a swim class, and learn that the teacher does not teach the 6b flutter kick, I will un-register the kid. I see no rational in teaching 2bk only to 5-10yo tots. Makes no sense. Same with patient hand, etc... Kids must learn rhythm.

So all in all, these new wave systems were meant to the Adult clientele, and without tweaking, I'm afraid that they aren't adapted out of the box for kids.

Could some values be useful for kids? Of course yes. So I'm not saying that everything about TI would be bad for kids, but rather that the system as it is taught to adults needs some tweaking for it to be perfectly adapted to kids.

(in my answer, I assume you talk about the competitive swimming path. In Canada, we have 2 paths, the competitive swimming and the general grand public path. The later is managed by the Red Cross society. TI is absolutely no match to their program, as they also include security, in a boat, around backward pools, helping rescue yourself and others, etc....)

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 06-28-2013 at 11:04 PM.
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  #7  
Old 06-28-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
There needs to be a serious work of adapting the TI method for kids, because the way I see it, its "adults version" delivery is so well adapted to take unflexible out of shape adults to the pleasure of freestyle, that it's not entirely adapted to work out of the box with kids.
I see your point.

Now that you mention it, I've been thinking that for a while too. Kind of like the 'Chi' and the 'Pose' methods in running? (reference to our earlier discussion). Can benefit elite athletes too, but are mostly there for the 'unflexible out of shape adults' as you put it.

Still there are a lot more kids learning to swim than adults, so getting in on that market share should benefit any swim school, I am surprized TI hasnt been trying to make any inroads into that.
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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I donno, of course as a former age group coach (like they call us), I can only agree with you.

You raised a huge topic, much bigger than you think you did.

We could call that the new world vs traditional world clash.

At the mo, traditional world is believed to produce fast swimmers. Only recently has there been a proof (to my knowledge, it was the first occurrence) of new world producing a champion (as opposed to new world associating their name with one). I'm talking about Paul Newsome's victory at MIMS (against a few elite contenders, ie FINA WC swimmers).

So underlying your question, is: "Will we someday see the 'new world' systematically producing champions?"

In order for "that" to happen, at least in the pool for 50-1500 events (IM), the new world must tackle on kids' development.

However the mentality has to be entirely different, and at the moment the new world is very far from being geared toward taking a 5yo and bringing him to Olympic Games.

A TI coach must put an age group club structure in place, and apply TI to fast swimming performances, at least by a certain age.

To give you an idea of what may be involved. Age 5-8 in the club I used to coach, would see months committed to learning non swim aquatic fun game based activities, such as tumbling etc. Freestyle was the least of our concern at that age. That program is a varsity level program with a civilian club (ie, pre U elite swimmers), which takes kids by age of 5 and develop them all within the same club until young adulthood.

Imagine teaching the free to a kid that can jump, feet first, head first, torpedo push, tumble forward, tumble backward, blow by the noes, look through the water without goggles, pick objects at the bottom of the pool, do the frog (sink downs), etc etc etc... After that, it's really a matter of giving them a demo and bang, they're off for the front crawl.

If you have the chance, if you have such a program in your area, I would recommend you go for this. Fun and learning to play in the water well before exposing the kid to the complexity of freestyle.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 06-29-2013 at 01:46 AM.
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  #9  
Old 06-29-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Imagine teaching the free to a kid that can jump, feet first, head first, torpedo push, tumble forward, tumble backward, blow by the noes, look through the water without goggles, pick objects at the bottom of the pool, do the frog (sink downs), etc etc etc... After that, it's really a matter of giving them a demo and bang, they're off for the front crawl.

If you have the chance, if you have such a program in your area, I would recommend you go for this. Fun and learning to play in the water well before exposing the kid to the complexity of freestyle.
Hmmm you gave me something to think about.. The school my daughter is in seems to go straight for the freestyle stroke, in fact some of the more advanced kids are already doing catch-up drills for about 30 feet at a time, with no breathing yet... And this is only after about 15 or so 30 minute sessions at the pool.

As for the new vs traditional, I am not even going to try and apply this to swimming since out of all the sports I've participated in, swimming is probably my weakest. But going back to running which is my strongest... and I apoligize in advance for bringing back that argument but if 'Chi' or 'Pose' is the 'new world' then its almost useless when applied at the elite world championship level...

Last edited by Rincewind : 06-29-2013 at 02:10 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-29-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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It ain't that bad you know, but what you got to be more careful about isn't even the actual technique taught to the kid, at that age catch up isn't a problem, especially when it's used as an intermediate step.

But it has to be fun.

Making teaching fun requires more work, as you got to plan, unless you're a hell of an improviser. But kids must smile, must be challenged the right way.

Teaching kids as you'd do to adults is well, going down the "turn your arms, make this gesture, etc..." path. It's understandable that this remains the most common way of teaching kids, but if you can find better it's great.

You know how it works. Like "Hey every body, show me who can go the further without moving, just by pushing off the wall real hard and making yourself streamline. If I see any of you moving either arms or legs, you'll have to sing a song in front of everyone!!!"...
Just improvising here. But that's how you teach streamlining. It's just an example.

You want to teach exhaling by the nose, obviously you get them to perform 5 backward tumbles in a row. First, they will choke a bit and blow torrents of water by the nose (this is funny I find..). They you ask them, "In your opinion how can you avoid water to come in your nostrils?". They raise their little hand and try something. You build upon that, etc...

Teaching single arm? It's as simple as asking them "Do you think you can swim with only 1 arm??" You then see what their initial solution might be. Kids are imaginative. Adults are analytical. Kids love to show adults that they can do things, they're like a bunch of monkeys. Adults are different in this regard, some judge you so you have to display knowledge. You have to exploit kids strength. They're all flexible, they can all kick, their lungs are fairly close to their toes, so they generally display better balance, etc etc...

There are many ways to make things fun, it's too sad to witness boring swim classes.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 06-29-2013 at 02:15 AM.
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