Monday, 2 November 2009

Since When?

Since when have parents become so obsessed with certifications that they rather choose to forgo their kids fundamental skills?

Since when have parents developed this mentality that once the child pass Bronze test, that child can swim and wont drown?

Since when have parents started to use Bronze/Silver/Gold/Gold star to compare their child with other children in their progress in swimming?

Since when?

One must understand that The National Survival Swimming Award(NASSA) is a test which simulates a scenario of a sinking ship loaded with passengers and goods. The objective is to educate and train candidates to possess the knowledge and competence to overcome adversities in a genuine situation.

I'm sure alot of coaches faces the common question that I face too. But what I'm going to write here is base on my personal thoughts and feelings and does not represent anyone nor any organisation.

We are always being asked "When is my child going for the test?" and after the "test", some parents will say "I think, we will stop for awhile."

In the very 1st place, why did u want ur child to learn swimming?

Ans #1: So that my child will know how to swim and will be able to survive in water. After all, Singapore is an island surrounded by water
Ans #2: So that 1 day, he will be able to compete in a swimming race
Ans #3: So that my child can have some form of exercise and a break from studies..
Ans #4: So that I can let my child go and take the test

Did you choose #4? In that case, why have parents become so anxious about when the child is going for the test? Which is more important? The test or the fundamental of ur child swimming strokes?

As coaches, most of us will choose the latter for ur child. I would rather my kids developed a good and strong foundation in all the 4 competitive strokes and glide like a fish in the water. And 1 day being able to stand on the plunging platform getting ready to race.

Rather than to have them wear pyjamas every other lesson and tell them, "U better go for ur 100m swim now and come back in 3mins."
And when the kids ask. "Huh..3 mins. why?"
"Because, that's ur test requirement."

No no. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against sending the child for swimming test. In fact, I'm all for sending them to the survival test. All my students have to and they must go for their survival test. I know how important it is to teach such survival skills to a child.

Let's take 1 of the few important criteria in GOLD Award. It's to swim 100m in 3mins with pyjamas on. Break that up, and its 50m in 1min30secs.

As of today, Singapore National Record for 50m Under 14 Boys breaststroke is 30.53sec set by KHOO Chien Yin Lionel on 14 Mar 2009 during the 40th S'pore Nat Age Group Swim C'ships 2009.

Now, that's a champion. Let's talk about an average Joe. For example, a child @ the age of 10, if fundamentals and speed of swimming is strong. Clocking less than 60sec, shouldn't be of an issue for him. Shouldn't parents be thinking towards this direction?

I just dun understand why some parents have this mentality that they want their kids to have all the awards ASAP and keep pushing them to wear pyjamas for every lesson.. And the worst - Thinking that having a bronze award is all that they need in swimming and get the child to quit after that.

So, what if you have a bronze/silver/gold award? Take Teacher Jerry for example. So what if I am a swimming coach? So what if I am a lifeguard? It doesnt mean that I won't drown. It doesnt mean that every time I swim out at the sea, I'm not afraid of drowning.

I lost 2 friends thru drowning and that kind of pain is indescribable. Fundamental of swimming and the 4 competitive strokes should come 1st before thinking about test isnt it? NASSA test is important but having ur child to swim the correct proper strokes, isn't that more important?

Quitting after Bronze/Silver or Gold award and thinking that your child can swim really well already, its just like having a Theory Grade 1 in music and thinking that your child can play Beethoven pieces. How many times have we seen kids who have a gold award but swim with all the wrong stroking's? Too many.

End of the day, who wants that award more? The child or the parent? Since when...?

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