Coaching 12& Under Figures according to FINA

Tips for coaching12&Unders

So for some of you, your 12&under figures will not be the FINA 12&under figures.  I know in Alberta there will be modified 12&under figures based on the FINA figures.  That is not really going to change what I am going to take you through today.

When coaching figures I suggest at the beginning of the season you make a list of all the positions in all of your figures and the number of times they occur. I have done one for you below:

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* I have asterisked these two positions because they need to be trained with more frequency than may be expected. Fishtail and knight are in the walk out figures but are not held. I suggest you train holds of these positions to gain strength.

Not sure if you noticed, but 12& unders are not required to do a submerged double ballet leg position or a bent knee position. Train these positions when you can so when you swimmers move up they have all the skills necessary to be successful.

At the start of the season you should be doing every position every practice or at least every other practice.  These positions will most likely need to be performed with some sort of aid like the wall, bottles, noodles, or anything else you like to use to help your swimmers find their alignment and learn how to float.

Next list out the transitions and note which ones are worth the most. The NVT on the left shows you which transition is worth the most. The higher the number the harder FINA ranks the transition. There are 21 transitions in the 12& under category.

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Check out this post where I talk about 12&under sculls. I would train positions and sculls separate for a few weeks then add easy transitions to the position training when your swimmers are decent at the positions.  When you add the transitions you may need to go back to using bottles or other aids.

With this list, take the number of practices you have over the week and start to put the transitions into your practices over the week. Keep in mind that you want to practice to harder transitions a bit more than some of the other transitions as well as the compulsories.

Another way to spread out the figures over the week is to put the specific figures on each day and then list the transitions that go with that figure.  I suggest doing compulsories at least every other practice.

At the beginning of the season use equipment, the wall, partners, or anything that will help the swimmers understand how to perform the transitions correctly.

Here are some videos for the figures.

These videos are great resources for athletes, coaches and judges. Please share.

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Yours in Synchro,

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  1. Camila Silva on March 31, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    I just wanted to thank you for this post and tips!

    I am myself recently started coaching a 12 and under group. I am only 18 and although I used to swim I was never really that good. So I want to do my best for the youngsters. I feel that this post could really help!
    Thank you looking forward to your future post!
    Much love from Sweden!

    • Vanessa Keenan on March 31, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      That is great to hear. Good luck. Let me know if there are any other topics you would like covered.

  2. Louis Vuitton Scarf Replica on June 25, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

    • Vanessa Keenan on June 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      Thank you. I always love hearing from those who are reading my posts.

  3. Wendy on November 10, 2016 at 2:25 PM


    I often come and read your posts and must say that it has given me a lot of ideas!
    Right now I currently coach a 12 & under group. There are a few girls that show a lot of potential, but sadly a lot of that potential is lost because they aren’t sculling.

    When we practice the positions & transitions with help the girls do quite well, but as soon as we take that help away, they loose their balance, hight, … . We also work on sculling only in and out of the water and that is mostly without problem, but we can’t seem to combine positions and sculling. Do you have any advice as how we can get them to scull while doing their positions, transitions and figures?

    Thanks so much!

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