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I am a Masters Swim Coach and my squad of swimmers compete at all levels of competition from County, National up to World championship level. Last October I took on a new swimmer who is a19yr old girl who has Downs Syndrome and who is currently ranked in the top three in Europe for her swim events. This is a new venture of coaching for me so I have spent the first few weeks developing a positive way to communicate with her to ensure that she can best understand the pathway that she needs to approach and work at to achieve the various pace levels that will enable her to improve and develop her full potential in her swim events. I am aware that the thought process can vary within the varying levels of Downs Syndrome and it is this aspect of the coaching process I am having the biggest problem with. My swimmer is a 100% positive with all the challenges I have set within the training session. I have developed a process of relaying the information I require for each set of work in the water, number of reps and stroke to be swum but the difficulty I have is that due to the short span of concentration my swimmer has she is unable to retain all the instruction and therefore loses some of the effectiveness of the set of work. I have set level of pace to work at by using word association Warm up pace = walking, Aerobic pace = jogging, Threshold =running, sprint = race and Olympic pace, which works up to a point but due to the level of ability to take on board information there are sometimes a varying level of achievement within the sessions. I am going to try an ear piece for my swimmer so that I can have contact with her whilst she swims to help relay any corrective instructions. If anybody has any suggestions as to how best I can improve my swimmer's ability to take on board detailed instructions and any other ways I could relay the emphasis of achieving the pace levels needed then please contact me via the chat line. I look forward to receiving any contacts and advice
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