GUIDELINES FOR SUPPORTING YOUR SWIMMER
• BE POSITIVE . Help your child look beyond today and towards his or her goals. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. However, don't exult too loud or too long over great results. That could signal your child that he/she can best earn your love through sports success.
• BE PATIENT . Swimmers develop at different paces, but all swimmers need time. No matter how your child seems to be doing in comparison to other swimmers, don't push. When he or she is ready, the big improvement will come. When they get in a slump, as all athletes do, they won't need any extra help feeling poorly about their performances.
• Never "bug" your swimmer about his or her swimming. It will only irritate your child. Leave it to their coach to dissect the reasons why his/her performance isn't up to par; you leaven it with love and encouragement.
• BE PROMPT. Please make sure that your swimmers arrive to all practices and meets on time. If your child is late, they will not benefit from proper warm ups and/or miss receiving important communications from their coach.
• BE A FOLLOWER, NOT A LEADER . Your swimmer will perform as well as he or she wants to, not as either you or the coaches want.
• Let your child dream big dreams. Big dreams, whether they come true or not, often lead to diligent and disciplined practice habits and to giving full attention to a coach's instructions. Use Olympic-size dreams to make gentle points about the work habits of high achievers.
• Encourage your child to play other sports at young ages. Experience shows that pre-teen age group swimming success is short lived. Ultimate swimming success at the highest levels stems from a wide foundation in "motor programs."
• Although swimming has strong individual elements, your child is, most of all, part of a TEAM.
• Teach your child the difference between critical instruction and negative instruction.
• The single most important thing you can do for your child is to help develop a strong sense of sportsmanship and positive self-image. With your help this will be swimming's best benefit to your child.
HOW TO BE A PERFECT SWIMMING PARENT
If you choose to watch our practice sessions do not talk to, signal, wave to or admonish your child while he/she is in a practice. If you notice a problem, talk to their coach about it at a later time. If there is a situation that would require you to have your swimmer leave practice early, TELL THE COACH, and let the coach tell your swimmer. Avoid timing your child during practice. The repeat times are something for the coach and the child to discuss. If your child has a poor workout or meet, try to offer encouragement for them to swim better at the next opportunity.
DON'T TRY TO TALK TO THE COACH DURING PRACTICE TIMES
Consider the pool deck a classroom. Would you interrupt a classroom teacher in the middle of a lecture? If a coach is not talking to the swimmers, they are thinking, watching and analyzing. If you need to ask questions, please wait until practice time is over and the swimmers have left the pool. The coaching staff will be glad to talk with you when they can give their full and undivided attention. (If a coach thinks he/she can and must talk with you during practice, they will speak to you first.)
THE COACH IS THE COACH / TRUST YOUR COACH
We want your child to relate to his/her coach as soon as possible concerning swimming competition, technique and training. The better the relationship and bond between swimmer and coach, the better the results will be. When parents interfere with opinions as to how the child should swim it causes considerable confusion as to whom the swimmer should listen to. The coach's job is to develop the athlete. Their basic tool of evaluation is congratulations or criticism based on their effort and approach to performance. The parent's job is to grow a healthy, functional individual with strong self-esteem. This will develop out of the type of unconditional love that doesn't become confused by sports performance.
BE AS STRONG AS YOUR CHILD
Anything worthwhile usually means sacrifice and hard work. Avoid complaining about the practice schedule your child logs every day. When your child needs to be at morning practices during the school year, wake up earlier than they do to get them ready. Make your swimmer realize that you will support them in every way.
Above all, communicate. If you question any aspect of the swim program, please make an appointment and discuss it with a coach.
AT SWIM MEETS
Though parent participation/help is often needed, parents should allow their children to take an active role at swim meets. It is the responsibility of the swimmer to ensure they swim their events and talk to the coaches. Except for novice swimmers, parents should not escort their children to the coaching area at a swim meet. Swim meets are learning environments, it is important to allow swimmers to navigate meets by themselves.
Parents should avoid discussing their child's performance with the coach at a swim meet. Usually coaches are very busy coaching and watching other athletes to carry on a discussion with parents. Don't offer elaborate gifts for swimming successes. This will tell swimmers that their successes are about receiving a material benefit rather than goal setting and achieving.
Often swimmers look towards parents as how to react after a swim. Many parents tend to react negatively when a swimmer performs poorly. A parent’s reaction to a performance also has an effect on the swimmer. Be positive. A swim meet is a parent's opportunity to watch their kids grow up. A hug and a pat on the back is a great way to show support. Please allow the coach to deal with the swimmer regarding any evaluation of performances.
A NOTE ABOUT BEST TIMES
When a child first starts swimming, it is not unusual for them to start dropping time every time they swim. Their bodies are changing so fast that drastic improvements are expected. However, as a swimmer ages and starts swimming at higher levels, it becomes harder to have such significant drops. For the senior swimmers it may take an entire season to experience even small drops.
When Should We Think about Scholarships?
Going and looking for scholarships before high school is pointless. Kids change their mind about sports and colleges every day. So, wait until sophomore year of high school before even starting the search. Towards the end of the junior year and the start of senior year is the prime time to look for scholarships and the narrow down possible colleges to attend.
Start to initiate contact in March and April of junior year by visiting colleges, swimming websites and filling out questionnaires. College coaches may send out school information, but are not allowed to call you until after you have completed your junior year. Even at meets, they cannot say more than “hello” until after your last race of the meet.