Avoiding Teenage Dropout

 The German publisher of my two previous swimming books has sent me the final book-ready version of my latest manuscript. This is the last opportunity to check for errors and omissions. After this the manuscript will be sent to the printers in the United States. In a couple of months the finished book will be on sale.

I have mentioned this latest book before. It is called “Shaping Successful Junior Swimmers”. The book examines the extent of the world-wide drop-out rate for swimmers between the ages of thirteen and eighteen – it’s about 80%. Clearly that is a stunning and shocking universal statistic. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you live in the United States or Europe or Australia or New Zealand the drop-out rate is the same. What is it about swimming that leads to such a destructive statistic?

And so the balance of the book looks at the factors likely to cause the problem and discusses measures that can be taken to improve the sport’s retention of young swimmers. In particular the book discusses problems in the following areas.

Coaching – are there coaching errors that contribute to early drop-out? Do coaches make errors that can cause so much hurt that young swimmers give up and move on to something less damaging?

Coaches – are there behaviour characteristics in the approach of a coach that turn young swimmers away from the sport?

Parents – do parents play a role in the 80% drop-out rate? What types of behaviour contribute to teenage drop-out? The book discusses events from my coaching career where parents have behaved badly.

Environment – are there aspects of competitive swimming that inherently contribute to young people becoming disillusioned? Are there steps that administrators and federations can take to diminish the hurt and make the sport more interesting and attractive?

Having examined possible problems in each area the book then discusses potential solutions.

For example the book examines different coaching strategies with a view to determining whether some are better suited to retaining young swimmers and preparing them for senior competitive swimming. In addition to recommending good coaching content, the book recommends training techniques coaches should avoid. Coaching recommendations are made covering the aerobic, the anaerobic and the speed and racing periods of training.

The role of parents is, of course, very important. Here too the book not only looks at things parents should avoid but recommends strategies and behaviour that can assist young swimmers stay in the sport.

There is much that administrators and federations can do to reduce the drop-out rate. A variety of these are discussed.

But the book is not just about the problem of avoiding early drop-out from the sport. It is ironic and pleasing that many of the solutions to early drop-out have the double benefit of assisting retention and improving competitive success; two birds with one stone.

The book concludes with a chapter on the subject of retirement. Inevitably that is a subject that must be faced by everyone. It can be a traumatic moment. For ten or more years many swimmers have filled all their spare time involved in this activity. All sorts of advice has been offered on how to train, how to race, what to eat and even how long to sleep. The transition to “normal” life does not receive the same attention – and it should. Hopefully this book will assist those about to move on from competitive swimming to other activities.

If you do get a copy of the book I hope you find it interesting and useful. I would appreciate any comments good or bad. They can be sent to me at this email address nzdaw@yahoo.co.nz

The book is called, Shaping Successful Junior Swimmers. It is written by me, David Wright. The publishers are Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd. Maidenhead, England. And the ISBN number will be ISBN 978-1-78255-140-9.

0 responses. Leave a Reply

  1. Swimwatch


    Be the first to leave a comment!

Comments are closed.