Swimmer motivation: Why kids love swimming through winter

Most kids love splashing around having fun with their friends in the pool during the summer and even joining a seasonal team to get a taste of friendly competition. But when the days shorten and temps dip down below freezing, why do some kids turn to the splashy sport for serious training — and love it?

The answer lies in motivation. Although warm-weather swim training has a large percentage of social motivation, those who continue into the dark and frozen months of winter workouts have their own special reasons. And although dreams of Olympic gold or college scholarships might dance hopefully in the heads of some swimmers or their parents, the common reason for young athletes training with Sedona Race Pace Club are much simpler.

According to Ultra Short Race Pace Training (USRPT) founder, Brent Rushall, Ph.D., the primary answer might not be what you’d expect.  It doesn’t involve diligent parental lectures or tireless advice from a coach. It doesn’t hinge completely on peers, either.

Although parents, coaches and peers are all very vital components of helping swimmers stay motivated, dedicated kids have self-actuated reasons.  One of our 8 & Under Sedona swimmers said it best: “It’s just fun!

USRPT provides its own unique motivator in that it’s fun to tackle the training goals. Athletes get to see whether or not they’re improving on a daily basis, and that make it much easier to access their own internal; motivation and learn to overcome challenges.

Going fast is what kids love to do best; once a child learns to walk, it takes very little time before they go everywhere at a run. Race pace training is all about going fast, using improved technique and racing against yourself to try to make your goal times, complete more repetitions in a set, or accomplish other workout goals.

Kids also learn to use positive self-talk to reinforce their own behavior during USRPT according to Rushall. Life skills learned in workout translate into more focus out of the pool as well: A recent study of swimmers showed above-average scholastic skills as well as physical skills that translate into other athletics, playing musical instruments, and physical fitness.

Check out part two to see why social interaction is the No. 2 motivator for swimmers.