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To not want to raise an Olympian?

(176 Posts)
LeytonPolo Wed 03-Aug-16 00:53:47

DS2 is almost seven, he's been on his local swim team, a summer only team since he was five. He usually comes in first or second but they're more fun races than actually competitive and the pool of competition isn't that wide iyswim.

We've been approached by a coach that works for another swim team, who saw DS swim recently and want's him to come to a trial they're having for their junior team.

The swim team is in the next town over, it's a 30 min drive, it's much bigger and much more competitive, coach said kids under 10 are expected to do training outside the pool as well as two 2 hour sessions during the week in the pool for under 8's and the amount of sessions would grow depending on the child once they turned 8.

It's also year round with only a few weeks off here and their instead of just for the summer.

Coach kept naming Olympian swimmers that had trained there at one point or another as children, I know nothing about the olympics, so this really didn't mean anything to me but it's clear that it's a very serious team who expect kids to pull their weight.

DS wants to go to the trial, DH is more excited then he is, but it honestly seems like a lot of effort & pressure for swimming.

We have 2 teens, we both work full time, I can't even imagine where we'll find the time to make sure DS trains outside the pool or what that would even entail.

I don't want to go the trial and waste everyone's time if we're just going to turn it down but I really don't think a small shot at the olympics is worth it.

VioletBam Wed 03-Aug-16 00:59:30

It's not your DS' fault you've got two teens. He wants to go so YABU to not take him.

The chances of him actually being an Olympian are tiny so I wouldn't even worry about that.

In all likelyhood he will do it for as long as it takes to lose interest...or...he may thrive and be an amazing athlete.

Either way he has a chance to do this and YABU not to take him.

caroldecker Wed 03-Aug-16 01:12:25

You will have to be prepared to take him daily from 5am if he progresses. if you are not prepared to do that, then don't stretch yourself now.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Wed 03-Aug-16 01:24:39

I'd speak to DS about what he really wants to do. Serious training, for any sport, really IS serious. Lots of hours, early nights, less playing time. That's the reality. Obviously there is the payoff of get get better at said sport. For some children, that's what they want, for others it isn't.
It can also be expensive. DD trains 11 hours a week, and that's NOT really serious, that's just keen and fun. It costs us at least £1,800 a year. You have to make an informed choice about the commitment needed, with your DH. If he's (That's DH) is that keen, then he's going to have to help with ferrying your DS around. It's going to involve LOTS of weekends, very early mornings and after school trips to the pool, and DS is very young, imo. (Which is actually neither here nor there, as its YOUR opinion that counts)

RandomBlueHat Wed 03-Aug-16 01:50:33

No-one does well in sport without effort and pressure confused

He's 7, he's been invited to trial for the junior team. He's obviously talented but that is a long, long way from the Olympics. At this point, if he is keen it would be massively unreasonable to prevent him from doing it, and likely to foster a huge amount of resentment. My DM prevented me from doing something I really wanted to; I didn't ever really forgive her. Do you want to risk that happening? He's got plenty of time to drop out between now and whichever Olympics he might qualify for if it all gets too much or he loses interest.

For now, its a bit of ferrying about and encouragement to maintain a general level of fitness. The teens will become increasingly independent. If DH is enthusiastic he may volunteer for the taxi service. It probably won't affect you much at all. If DS wants to do it, I think you should let him have a go.

NotBadConsidering Wed 03-Aug-16 05:26:45

If he was mine I wouldn't take him. It sounds too intensive and relentless. If it was a short intensive block it might be ok but all year round ad nauseam? There is a large body of research to show that if children super specialise too soon with a particular sport they are more likely to burn out, start hating it and resenting it and never do it as an adult. At 7 years of age swimming should be just one of a few different activities he does to keep healthy, and for enjoyment. If he has the ability to be an Olympic swimmer there won't be any time lost by waiting a few years and in fact it could actually be beneficial, in terms of building up natural ability in other areas.

Anyone who talks about the Olympics in reference to coaching a 7 year old should be avoided in my opinion as they can't seriously have the child's best interests at heart and clearly don't know their stuff to know that pressure too early is detrimental.

KiteCutter Wed 03-Aug-16 05:43:05

This struck a chord as I read this article at stupid o'clock this morning:

My sister was a high-level gymnast (competed British but not in the league of the Downey sisters). At the age of 6 she was training 4 days a week. By 12 it was 6 days then 7 if there were competitions. Either my parents or me (once I could drive) took her there - 40 minute drive or so then 3 hours sat watching; then the drive back or, in my case when I was older, coaching (background in dance).

But the thing was that she wanted to do it. The day she said she didn't want to was the day it stopped (long back story but starting at a different club when younger and not breaking both her ankles aged 12 and getting into boyfriends she could have gone far further).

It cost my parents a lot of money (subs, insurance, leotards, competition fees, handguards, physio etc.) and was one of the main reasons I couldn't continue with university.

I was also friends with a current Paralympian whose parents gave up so much to get her to where she is now (can't name sport as it will out her, not me) but that also involved training at stupid o'clock in the morning.

They also supported the younger (of the three) siblings in their sporting pursuits. (The middle one, as far as I am aware, couldn't have cared less).

But I do still remember the father shouting in public at the youngest for "failing" at something which I still remember now, 25+ years on.

My DD has potential in a few things (which I never had although I was fairly good at javelin). I'm still hopeful of the 1,500m and she's sat through Kelly Holmes on Youtube a few times blush

If there is something she decides she is going to set her mind to, I'd drive her anywhere needed and get up whatever time it is.

ProfessorPreciseaBug Wed 03-Aug-16 05:45:50

So the coach kept naming olympic swimmers he had trained..
Is he more interested in himself or your child? The coach will not loose his childhood if your child spends his entire time training yet does not make the cut., Your child will, however be no one who will never be remembered.

PS, i was approached by a swimming coach when I was at school. I turned it down as I could see it was just swimming up and down for someone else. Later I did honours personal survival whichnwas a lot of work. But it was on my terms.,

SaltyMyDear Wed 03-Aug-16 06:06:32

Turn the trial down!

Swimming is a brutal sport with very few winners. Soon he'll need to train 6 (or more) times a week.

And for what? He can't be a professional swimmer. Almost no chance he'll Winter Olympics.

Help him finds different sport. Which is more fun and less intense.

And if HE wants to take a sort seriously support him. But just not swimming, because compared to lots of sports it's particularly brutal.

CatherineDeB Wed 03-Aug-16 06:21:12

I wouldn't do it. DD is a very capable swimmer and swims 3 x a week - because she loves it. It is only 5 miles from home and I only have 1 child. Her trainer would like her to do more but we are not up for it and I don't like pressure on young children (she is 10).

She also does other things including Saturday music school, Cubs (soon to be Scouts) and a weekly arts class.

To go ahead with it would mean narrowing down his other options because it would become all consuming. He might love it enough for that but it is a massive commitment.

Interesting how things have changed, my Dad swam and did gymnastics for his county at secondary school age and we had a conversation about it recently (post swim coach discussion about DD).

He said that the sort of pressure/schedule we see these days on children just didn't happen when he was young. He turned down the chance of becoming a pro gymnast to go to university but said that that offer came at 18 whereas I wonder if that would be at a much younger age today.

PinkBallerina Wed 03-Aug-16 06:26:27

DH is a retired athlete, not a swimmer. He says that nowadays any kid with a hint of potential is pushed to commit to intense training and follow the dream. In his day only kids with a lot of potential were encouraged to train and compete, the fields are much much more competitive nowadays as there is a lot more money in sport.

It is a difficult decision for you and your DC. DH knows a few kids he mentored over the last few years, one is in Rio right now, the other was axed from the Olympic squad earlier this year. A couple of years ago the one axed was the better athlete. His form dipped slightly, just slightly and he is now off the Olympic team. His parents still haven't recovered from the shock, they invested so so much in him and without anything major happening; no bad form, no injury, no race loss just a slight dip in performance and he is thrown out. I really feel for these parents as i think they were sold a dream under false pretenses.

I understand your concern OP. It is a huge commitment for you as well as your DS. Anyway whatever you choose goodluck!

CatherineDeB Wed 03-Aug-16 06:32:23

Sounds awful Pink.

My dad is nearly 80 and his pro invite came at 18 many moons ago. Obviously no big money in those days but invite came after he had grown up a bit and had a fab balanced childhood.

He swam/did gymnastics most days as a secondary school pupil because they had the facilities at school and everyone did something sporty most days back then. No pressure, nothing intense at all - different world.

ApocalypseSlough Wed 03-Aug-16 06:34:10

I'd struggle to turn that down tbh.
Whatever happens the discipline and fitness will benefit him. Can you work out what the cost would be?! Not just financial but eg.
Dad x3 early starts
Mum x3
Teen 1 has to drop running club because you can't get him there.
Both teens getting themselves to bus stop alone.

greenfolder Wed 03-Aug-16 06:36:33

Disclaimer; as a parent I was always very honest with mine about time available. For example I told my daughters they could not do the exhibition circuit with dancing. It was u feasible to spend so much family time on one child.
I had a colleague who spent much of his childhood and teen years progressing up the ranks in swimming. Training at 5 in the morning and every weekend. Travelling away from home etc. he really regretted it as an adult. He got to 3rd in UK rankings. But he said that also missed out on the normal things in life as a young person and was discouraging his own children from following on.

ApocalypseSlough Wed 03-Aug-16 06:37:23

I've just reread and it's not even daily training yet. I'm shocked you're not encouraging him at this staged.

RB68 Wed 03-Aug-16 06:41:09

My view would be at 7 he is too young for anything more intense than where he is at now. He still has lots of growing to do and lots of ground work in education. By specialising so young and committing to so much training it will be a detriment to his all roundness.

It does take a particularly committed pair of parents to make it work - even if you are not the one doing the training runs then home life becomes your responsibility esp if there are other kids.

Many commentators seem to be basing responses on their own experiences, but as a parent you have to take a family view and look at what can be committed to. I would wait till he is 9 or 10 and trial then, in the mean time introduce a range of sports that will help him develop all round and build strength that can only help with swimming.

If you do decide to go ahead then get commitment from the whole family to doing this and be clear what it will mean for them personally - teens as well. In particular DH as he will need to take up slack if he isn't doing the ferrying and vice versa. You have to be 150% committed not just a luke warm 80%

OneArt Wed 03-Aug-16 06:50:43

DD is 8 and has just had a successful trial at our local swimming club. She'll do 2 x 1 hour sessions to begin with, but I think it does ramp up in a couple of years if she's good.

I definitely don't want to raise an Olympian, but I'm happy to support her in this as long as she's enjoying it. I think it's great for her to have an active hobby that she loves.

mouldycheesefan Wed 03-Aug-16 06:59:40

My dd is8 and loves a particular sport. The ones at the club who are showing elite potential at her age are training 20 hours per week. In school hols they are doing 8 hour training sessions. Not my dd as she doesn't have the potential. The best from the club are competing in this Olympics, older ones obviously. I do feel though for the ones that train and train and train and don't make it to that level, there are a hell of a lot of people in that position.

Marmelised Wed 03-Aug-16 06:59:42

Both mine joined the local swimming club and trained 3 nights a week initially moving up to 4-5 as they got older. They both got county times but never made the county team. The potential was there but they wanted the time for brownies/guides, school sports, dancing and messing about with their friends.

That's not to write off swimming though. The club was a fantastic part of their lives. Both went on to swim for their university and branched out into other water sports. Both have amazing physiques. Both earned good money in their late teens as swimming teachers and gained life guarding and timekeeping skills. They got a tremendous amount of being part of a club, swimming for their team, learning discipline and commitment.

I used to get people making comments about 'poor kids, swimming so much' - when it was a part of their lives they loved and asked to do.

CatherineDeB Wed 03-Aug-16 07:06:59

the discipline and fitness will benefit him

He is 6 years old! Nothing wrong with a bit of ambition but at six I would rather my DC was climbing trees/having fun/becoming an all rounder.

RB68 has it imo. If we had gone down the OPs route at 6 DD probably wouldn't be a talented musician or enjoy art/ have a great time as a cub.

Already this is a fair commitment for the adults - two two hour training sessions a week 30 mins from home plus additional swimming.

ApocalypseSlough Wed 03-Aug-16 07:07:08

Both have amazing physiques. Both earned good money in their late teens as swimming teachers and gained life guarding and timekeeping skills.
Yes! I don't know swimming so couldn't give examples, but that's the sort of benefit in thinking about.
I'm shocked at the lack of ambition bordering on laziness in this thread tbh. And DS is your youngest? I went through something similar with my youngest and during those long sessions I'd think 'at least I've not had to drag others along to wrangle!' I could read, or just switch off.

MidLifeCrisis007 Wed 03-Aug-16 07:08:49

7 is not young for swimming. All good swimmers start very early and peak very early compared with other sports. That's why swimming "masters" are 25 or over. Swimming is all about technique and strength and if you don't learn the technique early, and practise it repetitively, you'll never make the grade.

My first question is how tall is your DS expected to be? If he's likely to be 6' plus, then he might make an olympian - the chances of him doing so if he's smaller are slim. How competitive is he? If he's hungry to win things and likes to prove himself, then sacrifices should be made for him.

At this stage you'll either find a way to help him achieve his potential in the pool or find an excuse. Remember he'll soon get disheartened and want to give up if he's not top dog in his age group....

waitingforsomething Wed 03-Aug-16 07:29:42

I think it would be a real shame if you didn't let him to the trial, seeing as he is interested and wants to do it.

I understand your concern about the future training schedule but at 6 years old you're not committing to raising an Olympian, you're nurturing an interest and a potential talent.

Graceflorrick Wed 03-Aug-16 07:34:19

I swam at a national level as a child, it took over my entire childhood. I always said I wouldn't force my DC into swimming, but she loves it and is very good (4). I think i's take her if I was approached like you were.

Ragwort Wed 03-Aug-16 07:39:20

Absolutely take him to the trial (assuming he really wants to go) and see what happens from there - encouraging sporting ability can only be a good thing when we are such a nation of couch potatoes. My DS plays a sport at a relatively high level (no where near Olympian standard grin) and I am delighted for him - it has made him lots of friends, given him good role models and given him something to focus on apart from the computer & TV.

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