A team of German swim specialists with Klaus Rudolph (editor), German coaches and German National Head Coach Henning Lambertz wrote a very detailed concept about the finding, athletic education, motivation and continuous support of young swimming talents. With zero medals at the London Olympics, and less swimmers in A-finals, the head organization of swimming in Germany must find structured and well-planned ways to get out of the pool of tears.
In 2013, Henning Lambertz (44) was appointed the German National Team Head Coach. From the beginning, his way to get back on the path to success, has been the encouragement and support of young talented swimmers. He has created the „Perspective-team-project“. About 20 hopeful, talented German swimmers are in this group and get special support in the form of training camps, special medical and psychological assistance but also must follow trainings and competition schedules and must reach clearly defined goals.
The youth development concept starts several steps before. It has been developed as a guidance and practicable basis for coaches, swim clubs, associations. The document is divided in 6 chapters – Basics, Education of swimmers on different levels, talent selection, training control , talent development and coaches.
Here are some focal points from every chapter:
The 1st chapter presents a summary of the basic thoughts and motivation for the concept. It summarizes the current state of knowledge about systematic and long-time performance building in swimming. The promotion of young people included a complete psycho-physical support and a stronger involvement of parents and coaches. And, as we all know, it is important to start competitve swimming at an early age – and the authors emphasize that it is necessary to challenge children systematically with trainings loads. The basic education should be more achievement than fun-orientated – because an education of „wimps“ (page 7) shouldn’t be the goal.
The second and longest part of the concept covers a precise monitoring at every level of the education with regard to the swimming and athletic skills. It contents also examples for trainings sets in and out of the water.
The chapter talent selection describes some indications to recognize a possible future top swimmer: the physiques, fitness and coordination skills, mental stability and trainability.
Chapter 4 is all about the training control – with examples of control methods.
The following chapter underlines the importance of the coordination of school education and high performance sport. In Germany, talent selection and support are the main tasks of swim clubs – and it is the same in other sports – the great exception in Germany is soccer with a perfect system to find and encourage promising players. But with 5 federal swimming training centers (BSP – Bundesstützpunkte) in Berlin, Essen, Halle/Saale, Hamburg und Heidelberg and some schools with a „sporty profile“, a supporting network arises.
Last but not least the concept deals with coaches and describes the different levels coaches can reach in Germany because of their qualification and the special tasks on every level!
And coaches get at the end some good advice with 106 tips including these:
„Have fun – life is short“, „Be persistent, never give up“, „Coach life lessons not only athletic skills“ and „Keep the dream alive every day“ – on the long way, a coach and a promising swimmer must go together to reach their goals.