Please also see below, the Youth Performance Squad 2018/19 Season Plan information as sent out by Coach Dan Cross on Monday 2nd Sept 2018.

1-Yth Performance Squad (Mar 2019)

Youth Squad 2018-19
Welcome back everyone and a warm welcome to all new youth squad members. This document is aimed to give you as much information as possible about the squad’s goals and plans for this season.
Season Plan
We will be working towards a cyclical plan where we will be focusing on different training outcomes at different times of the season. Further details will be given in our squad meeting. The key to a cyclical season plan is understanding what the key focus of each cycle is and buying into what is required.
As the main focus of the squad is to enable swimmers to compete at a national level we will be focussing on getting quicker as the season progresses and the training is specifically planned so that swimmers will get stronger/quicker as the season goes on.
Things that will affect this will be things such as attendance, lifestyle management, growth, injury and training commitment. As long as swimmers stay committed, work hard as well as understand the process involved in swimming at a high level then they will have a successful year!
The squads focus is to qualify for National level events through our performances during the national qualifying window. With that being said it’s vital that we are ready to race and perform during that important phase of the season. We will have a couple of target meets where swimmers will look to post times to qualify.
All meets that we attend outside of the national qualifying window will be focussed on self-improvement (Process Goal Setting) which we will concentrate on improving areas of our skills and race tactics. Our focus is to make sure we understand HOW we race our best events and try to learn from each racing experience. These swims outside of targeted meets will not always result in PBs as the races may occur during heavy training or may be early in the season.
The meets we will be attending in Cycle one are:
– SER Winter Regionals (For those with qualifying times)
– Guildford Open meet (Especially for those who did not compete at SER Winters)
– Winter Nationals
– Thanet Festive meet (Non-winter national qualifiers)
– Arena League

*Please note that East Invicta’s is not a Youth Squad meet but you may wish to enter a few events that you would not usually swim at other meets. I will be in attendance for parts of the meet but not the whole event.

Training Sessions
We have a couple of small changes for swimmers to be aware of from the 3rd September, firstly mornings now starting at 5:30 so swimmers need to be poolside from 5:25 am, I realise that 90% of swimmers already poolside by this time so its only the few who turn up close to 5:40 who need to be aware. This will help those who need to get out early for school as well as giving everyone an extra 40 minutes of training each week and over a month is 2 hours 40 which is the equivalent of a whole extra session.
The other small change is to Sunday mornings pool session with that now being 8-10 rather than 10:30. I felt the extra 30 mins was unnecessary for the swimmers and wanted to keep all sessions at 2 hours.
Land training has had a few changes due to the new team gym area coming into place (Mid September) we now have 3 land training sessions available and I would like to see swimmers attending twice a week. The sessions are now Tuesday/Thursday 4:30-5:30pm and Sunday AM 10:45-11:45. I realise that its a little inconvenient being at the other pool site on the Sunday but it’s the best time-slot we can have and allows those who struggle to get in at 4:30 during the week a chance to have an S&C programme or for those who can only make one of the weekday sessions a chance to get a second session done.
Swimmers are expected to train a minimum of seven pool sessions a week, I would like these to include Tuesday PM / Thursday AM / Friday AM / Sunday AM as they are going to be key training sessions.
The rest of the sessions can be made up from the rest of the week, but my advice is to try and keep to the same sessions each week so that you can keep a structure which will help when planning other activities such as school work etc.
The outline for what we are focusing on each training session will be discussed in our squad meeting, so swimmers have a good understanding of what we are focusing on each session.
Cancelled Sessions
We will have some cancelled sessions throughout the season however as per usual we will try to keep these to a minimum. Current cancelled sessions are below:
Sunday AM (Guildford Open)
Sunday AM (SER Winters)
Sunday AM (Thanet Festive Qualifier)
Goal Setting
We will be holding goal setting sessions early in cycle one and will have more regular athlete-coach meetings to ensure that swimmers are staying focused and motivated.
Process Goal Setting
Process goal setting is a tool used by British swimming that helps swimmers understand racing and gives them the ability to have more focus on how they execute races. This is important for when you are racing either early season or when in heavy training.
We know that not every race is going to be a PB performance and that becomes even more of the case as you get older, so we must be able to stay focused on learning and developing from every race. Setting a race process (race plan) and trying to stick to it as a great way to ensure that you are learning whilst racing. It gives you the chance to analyse your performance and see what you did well and most importantly what maybe didn’t go to plan and what you need to work on in training to ensure you get a better outcome next time.
As long as we are learning and making improvements from each race then it will help athletes make the necessary process improvements so that when it comes to the target races they can perform well knowing that a lot of practice and planning has gone into the previous swims.
Swimmers will be issued with process goal setting sheets prior to meets and they will be asked to complete and give back to me before the meet so that I can understand what they are trying to focus on tactically. It’s really important that the process does not involve focusing on times and instead race skills and tactics as ultimately the times and speed will come when the swimmer executes the swim correctly.
Squad Meetings
I am well aware that communication needs to be better this season and more regular dialect and meetings with the squad and with swimmers individually will help the communication.
I am also available to meet swimmers/parents from 5pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings before training. Please just drop me an e-mail or text to book a slot. Even if it’s just a 5-minute chat about gala entries or a training issue that needs clearing up. Please don’t hesitate to ask for a chat.
One question I get asked a lot is about how much parents should get involved in their child’s swimming. The answer is it depends on the athlete but ultimately you can’t swim the race for them so the best thing to do is support your child and help them understand that swimming is a hard sport and when the cold dark mornings come around and they don’t want to get out of bed you can give them the gentle nudge and remind them of what they are working towards.
Whilst I appreciate that parents give up an awful lot to support their children’s swimming it really does have to come from them. They will have good and bad days but ultimately, they have to learn to deal with both success and failure. One thing I can assure you is that no swimmer enjoys a bad race so please keep that in mind if your child is struggling, they don’t need to be told they didn’t do a great job by mum and dad on the way home. The best thing is to leave the coaching talk to the coaches!

If you have concerns with any training/competition, then it’s always best to have that conversation with me in private away from your child as the last thing you want is for the swimmer to start becoming anxious about racing and training. What we all want is happy confident young people who enjoy what they do!

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