As I sat on the pool deck watching swim practices last week, I could clearly hear the coach yell AJ’s name a few times from the other side of the pool. She abruptly corrects form, and then sends the kids off with a vigorous push. A drill Sergeant would not envy her position as she corrals about 20 kids under 10 on deck and across 4 swim lanes. She has them all orchestrated according to skill. She projects her voice like a drill sergeant too, but that’s just necessary in a big loud (humid) room. Ultimately, I wondered if AJ was enjoying the endless laps.
After summer swim team we talked to AJ about swimming year round. I had mixed feelings about this. His first instructor cautioned joining unless he really liked it. It’s also a big time commitment and would pretty much nix the ability for him to participate in other sports.
But AJ actually did seem to enjoy the summer swim league a lot. By the end of soccer season in the Spring, it was not only a drag to get him to practice, he frequently came off the field complaining at the end of practice. But with swimming, he was happy within moments of getting to the pool even if he was grumpy about going.
Plus swimming seemed to fit his style of learning better than soccer. The coaches frequently commented how diligent he was about working on whatever they targeted each lap. As his endurance and speed built over the summer, AJ’s confidence also grew.
If I have to list a single reason for doing a sport, I would want AJ to enjoy it. So far AJ loves swimming.
Bonus points to swimming for actually wearing AJ down. Soccer wasn’t doing it yet. AJ needs a way to regularly blow off energy for at least an hour a day. Since the start of school, he has rushed through his homework, so he could play outside with his friends and ride his bike until bedtime.
Year round swim team started last week. Practice is every week Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Though how often we attend is up to us. To be honest, I was probably more nervous than AJ. It takes a bit of extra effort to get him from school to swim practice and then ready for dinner and/or evening activities. Luckily we had a lot of leftovers stockpiled last week.
Tuesday, AJ was excited. Could not get back in the pool fast enough.
Wednesday, AJ was happy to see the swim bag and ready to go.
Thursday, AJ’s excitement had not faltered. No whining. No stalling.
When I told him that swim team would mean that he couldn’t play other sports, especially lacrosse which he wanted to try again. He was okay with it. “I know, Mom. But I want to swim. I really like swimming.”
Then he proceeded to tell me he swam 16 laps. And he was happy about it.
To top it all off, he’s happy the rest of the evening, even though I know he’s tired. He’s still seven and has his moments, but between focus on the reward system and happiness with his choice to swim, he seems pretty darn content to deal with the new complexities of his schedule.
God, thank you for helping to hook AJ up with a sport that makes him happy and motivated. (Please help him stick with it for at least a few years before he changes his mind.) Amen
(I am not intentionally building a future triathlete. I will not live vicariously through my kid. I hope. I try. Hopefully….)