Questions and Answers
In an effort to help parents keep their child's swimming development in the proper perspective, the following list of commonly asked questions with answers is provided.
1. Our child has just joined the team and their times are worse than when they started - what is wrong?
When an athlete first joins the team and starts practicing, it is possible for them to swim slower instead of faster. In the case of team members in the Age Group squads, this phenomenon is partially due to the emphasis placed on stroke technique. It takes a great deal of the swimmer's attention to master these skills. These new techniques and habits are the basis for later improvement.
2. My swimmer's times have not improved for a long time - why?
Plateaus occur at one time or another in every swimmer's career. Plateaus can happen in competition and in training. A plateau signifies that the swimmer has mastered lower-order skills. It is important to explain to the athlete that plateaus occur in all fields of physical learning. The more successful athletes are those who work through these momentary delays in improvement and go on to achieve greater performance and approach their personal potential.
3. My child's times vary a lot from meet to meet - why?
Age-Groupers and Novice swimmers, particularly 10 & under, are the most inconsistent swimmers. This can be frustrating for parents, coaches, and the swimmer alike. We must be patient and permit these children to learn to love the sport first and then work on their consistency.
4. My child is not competitive enough to win races - what can we do?
Slow development of competitive drive at an early age is normal and perhaps more desirable than precocious or forced early development. It is important that everyone learns to compete and develop some competitive spirit. It is also important for children to learn to adapt to a reasonable amount of emotional stress. The small disappointments they learn to handle as children prepare them for the larger ones they are certain to experience as adults.
5. My child is losing his/her enthusiasm for swimming - what can I do?
A parent's attitude and actions often shape their children's attitude and actions. Be enthusiastic about taking your child to practice and meets, fundraising projects and other team functions. Do not look at these events as annoying chores. Do not force your child to swim. Be sure that your child swims because they want to. Everyone tends to resist anything they feel they have to do. Self-motivation is the stimulus of all successful swimmers.
6. I don't agree with the coaches - what should I do?
If you have any questions about your child's training, contact your swimmer's coach (but not during practice). Criticizing the coach in front of a young swimmer, or other parent, undermines the coach's authority with the swimmers, and reduces the coach's ability to motivate and properly train the swimmers.
7. My child should be able to beat that other swimmer - why doesn't he/she?
Avoid comparing your child to their nearest competitors. This merely creates dissension within the team and swimming community. Close competition provides two great services for the athlete - it brings out the best in them and shows where improvement is needed.