The SKWIM code is flexible and allows for various squad sizes



Squad sizes

  • Rugby requires 15 players per side.
  • Soccer (also called football in other parts of the world) requires 11 players per side.
  • Water polo is a game with 7 players, as in a goalie and six who go up and down the pool.

In SKWIM, the games are flexible as to the amount of players for each team.

If a camp group shows up to the pool with 35 swimmers, break off into two teams and play. Meanwhile, if there are only four or so players, play SKWIM. The beauty of SKWIM is its flexibility. It can be crowded or not. 

This podcast from Wayne Goldsmith points out a few of the trends with the rules in the other sports that are now being shaped more like SKWIM is played.

Head photo of Wayne Goldsmith

Wayne Goldsmith, author, speaker, coaching leader.

Transcript from the podcast, edited slightly

We are think we are seeing a changing environment in junior sport, so reports Australian sport and said Wayne.

With an incredibly big data set, they report that between the ages of 8 and 12 there are a lot of kids still taking up team sport. At age 13, the data proves that there is a bit of a dip, and that is connected to the start of high school.

The fastest rate. of decline is when the kids are at age 15. The decline accelerates from 15, 16 and on it goes. 

Everyone in the audience is both stunned and nodding their heads saying, "Yes."

The English Rugby Union has an amazing presentation. Look for GameOn.

As of the 2019-20 season, the union is saying to rugby clubs in England that as long as there are ten or more per side, the results count. As long as you play for 40-minutes, forget this 80-minute stuff, the result will stand. 

Stunning news

The rationale is this: Would you prefer to have a bunch of kids turning up and only one side has 14 players, (15 are needed for a full side for rugby) and having the game get called off. Then all the players go home upset, angry and frustrated that they just don't get to play. Or, would you prefer to see two teams of boys with 12 players per side, at age 16, playing the game, under the sun, on the field, throwing the ball around. 

Look, the aim is to just get those 15-and-16-year-old continuing to play. We have to be flexible for them. We have to adapt and modify and change and give them the environment to play the wonderful game that we got. If we insist that it has to be 15 players per side, and they all must have white socks, and if we keep insisting that there are ridgid, unbreakable rules, then we are effectively shooting ourselves in the foot. 

Other codes are onto this?

This is a widespread realization that the flexibility now needs to be a part of any plans moving forward for the major codes. Believe it. 

Personal story

On Friday night, my 16-year-old son, back in Australia's Gold Coast, is in that target age group. He has a wonderful girlfriend. He is in his final two-years of study. He is trying to win an income. He has lots of stuff in his life. 

My wife organized a baby sitter for the younger child, and the 16-year old and mom drove an hour to get to a soccer game. They show up and they only had ten (10) players. They waited. Then they said, "That's a forfeit." Those ten boys gave up a chance to earn money on a Friday night, go out with their girl friends, do studies and all those other things in their life. They choose to go play soccer. They all got in the car at the end and all said, "This sucks. Maybe this is my last year of soccer." 

This rule is not helping us. And, it must come from national bodies. They have to go to the clubs and say, "We give you permission to be flexible in the interest of engaging and connecting with the kids that are so important to us.

That's mind-blowing! How could they call off the game with 10 people on the one side!

The excuse that the sports administrator gave on the gold coast was that there are federation rules. So, the officials were not doing anything wrong. The poor guys had to deliver the information to the kids and parents. They said, "These are the rules. I'm sorry. We can't let you play."

So, the national bodies in all the sports need to be more flexible and tell them that we got to keep them playing, loving the game, enjoying the game. We just got to keep them playing. 

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Coach Mark, the executive director of the nonprofit 501(c)(3) of SKWIM USA, lives and coaches in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, where he helps to lead swim, SKWIM and water polo activities for a wide range of participants.

You may also like

MHCC hosts pick-up games on a Sunday

MHCC hosts pick-up games on a Sunday

Ammon SKWIM with some lifeguards and a couple of youngsters

Ammon SKWIM with some lifeguards and a couple of youngsters

Deep water SKWIM with water polo team at dive well at Settlers Cabin Wavepool

Deep water SKWIM with water polo team at dive well at Settlers Cabin Wavepool
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!