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General Do's and Don'ts
  • Let the coach be the coach.  That’s what you pay him for.  Most times, your child just needs and wants you to be Mom/Dad.
  • At swim meets, encourage your child to first get a valid, legal time for each particular event, then work on improving that time at future meets. 
  • Do not expect your child to achieve District and Championship cuts right away.  Many times it takes months or years to make the really difficult cuts.  Patience is key.
  • Celebrate small time cuts as well as large ones.  Many times that .01 sec drop is as difficult to achieve as a 5 sec drop is.  And a time drop is a time drop - that’s a new Personal Record (PR)!
  • There will be instances where your child adds time on an event.  This is normal and common.  There may even be times when your child has an amazing race and drops a bunch of time on an event, and then cannot quite meet or beat that time for months and months.  Again - normal.  Try to help your child understand that he is not a bad swimmer because of adding time, but that sometimes it just takes patience and practice to break that particular wall down.
  • Sometimes, after a bad race, all your child wants from you is silence or a hug & reassurance that you still love him.  Let the coaching staff do the coaching and correcting - for it will usually just anger or annoy your child if it comes from you.
  • After your child comes back from a race, one of the best things you can say is “What did your coach say?”  This will be your clue as to how to react.  Usually, if a swimmer tanks a race and has gotten feedback on that from the coach, the last thing he wants to hear is “Great Job!  You did amazing!”  Likewise, if they had an amazing race and the coach was congratulating them, they don’t want to hear you say, “You should have done this different/better.”
  • Be careful on any technique coaching you might be tempted to give your swimmer.  Swimming technique has changed over the years, and what might have been best or correct before, might not be best anymore.  The last thing you want to do is contradict your child’s coach’s instructions and confuse your child or force them to choose between you and the coach.  Remember, you pay the coaching staff at MSA to know and teach the correct methods for swimming optimally.  Trust them to do their jobs. 
  • Try not to compare your child to other swimmers.  Comparisons rarely help motivate your child to swim better.  They either defeat your child by making them feel less than someone else, or they build your child up by tearing another swimmer down, which leads to feelings of superiority.  Either way, comparisons destroy team unity.  Instead, try to encourage your child to simply be the best swimmer he can be and celebrate those big and small victories with him at each meet. 
  • Ultimately, encourage your child to have fun!  Swimming can be a lifetime activity, regardless of whether your child becomes an Olympic or college swimmer.  But this will only happen if you let him enjoy the process.  Swimming laps, hour after hour, day in and day out, will burn your child out if it’s all about having to “be the best” all the time.  Encourage him to “be the hardest worker out there - and the one having the most fun!”