Coaches can reference USA Swimming’s Athlete Development Model as a tool to create your team’s long-term athlete development plan, design the practice group structure, and evaluate the overall development and progress of your swimmers.
In the USA Swimming ADM, there are six levels of development focusing on the four critical athlete-centered outcomes with the USOPC’s Quality Coaching Framework:
Sport specific skills, improved health & fitness, healthy training habits
Respect for the sport, ethical and moral responsible behavior, integrity and empathy
Self- belief, resilience, mental toughness, positive self- worth
Positive bonds and social relationships in and out of the sport
Coaches support each athlete’s journey progressing through the four C’s, and the ADM provides suggested training guidelines and competitive performance metrics. Once an athlete progresses beyond level 6 of the ADM, they should be capable of competing at the USA Swimming Speedo Sectional swim meet and above.
Quality coaches acknowledge and embrace the principles and core values of the ADM.
Keep the athlete at the center. Are they having fun?
The ADM is not meant to create clone coaching. The “how” of getting to each milestone is completely up to the coach and athletes.
Athlete development and accomplishments result from balancing the art and science of coaching. Physical, mental, and emotional development occurs in spurts. Not every athlete will progress at the same pace or even make it to level 6.
Each swimmer’s journey proceeds at an individual pace, with many different levels of success. As quality coaches, the ADM helps you address the full development of each swimmer. Your role as a quality coach is to use these ADM progressions to create an athlete’s career plan addressing all areas of development.