Athlete Development Support Pathway

Athlete Development Support Pathway for Swimming (ADSP)


What is it?

This is basically the long term athlete development model, however it has been given a new name and made specific to the swimming pathway.


What does the model represent?

The model is a framework for the development of children’s physical literacy (fundamental movement skills and sport specific skills) and aims to encourage lifelong participation in sport and physical activity (in this case aquatics)


The Model

Includes seven key stages, with clear progression routes from Active Start right through to Active For Life.




Key features

Active Start – This stage should be fun for children and include both unstructured and structured free play in order to develop children’s basic movement skills. The aquatics aim here is also to develop their general water confidence.


FUNdamentals – Again this stage is about fun and enjoyment, with the key focus on the development of movement skills. Play should remain a key aspects at this stage however with more focus on structured play. The aquatics aim here is the development of core aquatic skills.


Learning to Train (Swim Skills) – This stage should focus on two key areas:


  1. The development of specific skills and technical elements needed within sports.
  2. Individual’s physical, social and emotional development.


Enjoyment should still play a key role at this stage along with participation. The aquatics aim is to develop the specific skills relevant to the aquatic pathway chosen (Competitive Swimming, Diving, Lifesaving, Para-Swimming, Synchronised Swimming, Snorkelling, Water Polo etc) and this may take place within club environments.


Swimming assistants and teachers do not need to understand the remaining stages in any real detail, however an understanding of how participants may progress right through to active for life would be beneficial.


Why do Swimming Assistants and Teachers need to be aware of the model? 1: Supporting Lifelong Participation in Aquatics

Swimming assistants and teachers play an important role in lifelong participation in aquatics. If swimming lessons are fun, developmental, multi-skilled and multi- aquatic then the likelihood of participants staying within aquatics increases.

2: Signposting to clubs and other aquatic environments

Swimming assistants and teachers should support participant’s development right through stages 1 to 7 (or equivalent) and beyond. They should also be aware of the opportunities available when they complete stages 7 and be able to provide participants and parents/carers with advice and guidance on these opportunities.

This isn’t just clubs, it can also include other health and fitness opportunities within aquatics such as fitness sessions, fun splash sessions etc.