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PARENTS

 

Being the parent of a child involved in competitive sports is challenging. Your child is a product of your values, the structure you have provided, and the model you have been. However, human nature is such that people tend to lose some of the ability to remain objective in matters concerning their own children. The following guidelines will help keep your child’s development in perspective.

Every individual learns at a different rate and responds differently to the various methods of presenting skills; scholastic, artistic, athletic, or otherwise. Coaches and parents must exercise patience and remember that a swimmer’s ultimate success is achieved through complete development, no matter how rapid that development may be. A swimmer's development can be erratic, which may be frustrating for parent, coach, and swimmer alike. In helping swimmers through this growth process, we must remember that it is the coach’s job to offer constructive criticism of a swimmer’s performance and the parent’s job to provide support, encouragement, and recognition to swimmer and coach alike.

Any questions concerning your child’s training or team policies should be directed to the coach. Criticizing the coach in front of the athlete breaks the swimmer/coach support necessary for maximum success. Coach/swimmer/parent conferences may be requested by any of the persons involved to provide individual attention to appropriate situations. Please contact your coach by email or telephone (in the 'Coaches' link above) or in person before or after practice, not during. You can also leave a note in the coach's folder at the back of the member files at practice.

To Coach or Not to Coach?
We cannot stress enough to parents to please not coach your child at practice or at meets. Teaching proper techniques, racing skills, pacing, breathing control, starts, turns, etc., is the responsibility of the coaching staff. We assume that you agree with this in bringing your children to train at Surfside. If you are not satisfied with the job the coaches are doing, talk with them.

Following are a few do’s and don’ts in this area. These policies have been researched in detail by USAS and are supported by experts in the field of parenting young athletes.

DO

DON’T

Attend meets.
Your participation shows your interest in your swimmer and the team, and can enhance your swimmer’s performance.

Try to communicate with the coach or your child during workout (unless it is an emergency).
Save all communications for before or after workout.

Teach your child to be respectful of the coaches and considerate of other swimmers.
Behavioral problems distract from your child’s and other swimmers’ progress. If the coach feels that your child is causing harm to himself or others, the coach will talk to the swimmer. If the problem continues, the coach will talk to both the parent and the swimmer. If the problem persists, the swimmer may be asked to leave the team (for one workout, one week, or permanently, depending on the circumstances). We are here first and foremost for the swimmer and will do everything possible to work with parents and swimmers to keep this experience a positive one. Please remember that the coaches need to keep control of the entire group for the safety of the swimmers.

Coach your child at practice or at meets.
Having a parent watch every stroke you take in a workout puts an unnecessary burden on both the swimmer and the coach, and detracts from the coach/athlete relationship. Remember, the workout is the main place where a coach and his athletes can develop an understanding of each other and what each expects of the other. Having a parent eyeball each practice clouds this relationship. If you want your child to love the sport, have fun, and develop in both ability and maturity, then leave the training to the coach.

Offer your child love and encouragement regardless of performance.
Of course, you knew that.

Run your child’s warm-up at meets.
This is the responsibility of the coaches attending the meet and is against USAS policy.

Cheer for your child and other team swimmers while they race.

Have your child work on turns, finishes, or stroke techniques between races or in the warm-up lanes at swim meets.

Become involved in the Surfside Booster Club, help at meets, support team activities.

Punish your child for poor performances.
This undermines the basic concepts of age group swimming and makes the swimming experience a negative one for both you and your child.

Talk to the coaches if you are not satisfied with their coaching.
Do consider their collective swimming experience as competitors and coaches of more than 50 years, and try to put your faith in them as coaches and individuals who want the best for your child.

Ridicule coaches or other swimmers.
This destroys team spirit and prevents your child from getting the most out of practices.

Make sure your child gets to practices and meets on time.
For meets, this usually means arriving to warm up an hour before the actual meet starts.

We ran out of Don’ts!

  • Contact information? Email the specific person responsible for that area.  See Contacts List under the Team Info Tab.