Posted on June 17, 2013 by

Swimming For Parents
The Ultimate Education Guide for Swimming Parents
2nd Edition
By Gary Barclay


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Swimming parents all have one thing in common – they want the best for their children. Your child’s swimming experience should be an enjoyable one, which builds confidence and self esteem. Your involvement is vital to this experience, and can be enhanced by observing the following guidelines:

The parent / athlete / coach team

Each person within this ‘team’ has a specific role to play. Overlapping the roles becomes confusing and often detrimental to the swimmer.

  •  The parent provides emotional and practical support for the athlete.
  •  The coach provides technical expertise, and motivation in the form of structure, vision and challenge.
  • The athlete brings the raw material and the desire to succeed.

Allow the coach to do the job you pay them to do. Realise what is being done with your child now is part of a plan for the long-term development of your child’s swimming career.

Swimming is something your child chooses to do.

  •  ‘There is nothing heavier than great potential’ – avoid putting expectations on your children (even in the form of ‘motivation’)
  •  Separate your child’s achievements from their value as a person (and your value as a parent) – love the person, not the swimmer.
  •  Measure performances against your child’s personal goals
  • Allow your child to take responsibility for their swimming involvement, their ‘successes’ and their ‘failures’.

 What can you do?

  •  You are a role model for your children – your behaviour in the swimming environment never goes unnoticed. Deal with outcomes and experiences in a mature, controlled manner.
  •  Show your support for your children’s choice of sport by becoming involved in the running of the club and of competitions you attend.
  • Allow motivation to come from the enjoyment – extrinsic rewards (e.g. payment) are always detrimental in the long run.