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HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD AT SWIM PRACTICE

 

HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD AT SWIM PRACTICE

The best thing you can do is to encourage your children to “have fun, be safe, and play smart”.

After practice ask them if they had fun and learned anything new or did anything they had never

done before and offer your praise. Sometimes children will express feelings to their parents that

may help the coach provide a more suitable environment for the individual. You are encouraged

to talk to the coach about your child’s responses to the practice sessions.

If you decide to watch practice the most important thing you can do is allow your child to focus on

the coach and on the tasks at hand. We know it is common in many youth sports for parents to

stand at the sidelines and shout instructions or encouragements and sometimes admonishments

to their children. Please try not to signal them, or to try a certain technique, or to offer to fix an

equipment problem or even to remind them to listen to the coach. In fact, just as you would never

interrupt a school classroom to talk to your child, you should not interrupt a practice by attempting

to communicate directly with your child.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH ENCOURAGING YOUR CHILD DURING PRACTICE?

There are two issues. First we want the child to focus on the coach and to learn the skill for their

personal satisfaction rather than learning it to please their parents. Secondly, parental

encouragement often gets translated into a command to swim faster or run faster and going

faster may be the exact opposite of what the coach is trying to accomplish. In most skill

development we first slow the athletes down so that they can think through the motions. Save

encouragements and praise for after the practice session.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH SHOUTING OR SIGNALING INSTRUCTIONS TO YOUR

CHILDREN?

Those instructions might be different from the coach’s instructions and then you have a confused

child. Sometimes you might think the child did not hear the coach’s instruction and you want to

help. The fact is that children miss instructions all the time. Part of the learning process is learning

how to listen to instructions. When children learn to rely on a backup they will have more difficulty

learning how to listen better the first time.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH HELPING YOUR CHILD FIX HIS EQUIPMENT?

Quite simply, we want to encourage the children to become self-reliant and learn to take care of

their own equipment.

If you need to speak to your child regarding a family issue or a transportation issue or to take your

child from practice early you are certainly welcome to do so but please approach the coach

directly with your request and we will immediately get your child out of the practice. If you need to

speak to the coach for other reasons please wait until the end of practice or call the coach at an

appropriate time.

Adapted from “News for Swim Parents.” Published by the American Swimming Coaches

Association.