ASCA Parent Article

The following article was written by OA coach Don Heidary for the American Swimming Coaches Association. The intent was to help bridge a gap in communication and understanding in the athletic process, with parents, athletes, and coaches.  After being deeply involved in sports at the summer league, high school, and year-round levels, he believes that a shift in dialog could result in enhanced experience and performance.

ASCA Newsletter Copy

Below are some comments on the article from coaches and parents:

Dear Don,
I just had to take a moment to congratulate you and thank you for the wonderful article "The Questions Swim Parents Don't Ask". It drives home several points why us "old timers" continue to coach. I've spent a few minutes of practice time to read to the top 11-14 year olds of the group I coach, the main points established and we discuss them a bit. I'm photocopying the article in full and attaching a cover letter to distribute to each of the families I coach with the hope that the discussion continues over the dinner table. It's truly one of the best things I have read regarding the true benefit of swimming and the development of the 'complete' athlete who excels in living and giving back. Well done.
Sincerely,  Bill Thompson

Don, I truly appreciate this wonderfully insightful, thought-provoking article. While I have always striven, as a father, to instill at least some of these ideals in my son, I must admit that, as a father, I have also, at times, been weak and focused on the immediate gratification (an all-too-common human flaw). Therefore, aside from the high value of your insight, the article also serves as a "wake-up call" for me -- which will extend to him.  Regards, an OA parent


It was helpful to be reminded about the big picture as we go through this journey of parenthood.  Parent


Phenomenal.   This is a gift.  Thank you, an OA Parent

We are going to have a parent meeting and make this required reading.  USA Swimming Coach


Dear Coach,  I started coaching in the very late 60s while a Navy flight instructor in Pensacola. Since that time I have coached Age group, had some final at Jr. Nat’ls  and the last 28 years founded and coached a masters team in San Diego. I fell in love with swimming in the mid 50s in Reno, Nevada.  Nevada was not at the forefront of swimming but the love affair never diminished. I read and study my craft even in retirement.  I must comment on your article in the ASCA News letter.  Sir you are to be commended for telling everyone what we do, should do and what we should attempt to teach the parents in the age group clubs. This sport teaches life or should. It builds character and the foundation for success as a human being. You did not miss a point. Your article should be a “must read” for every kids coach in any sport not just ours. It additionally should be a must for all parents and young people who compete. Bravo sir. Bravo.  Thank you for making my day and my guess it will have an impact on many ASCA members.  Thank you Sir, you are a credit to our sport and profession.   Chuck Hay,  Life Member, San Diego, Calif......

Don, first and foremost, thanks for taking the time to write your beliefs in such a clear manner for all of us, swimmers, parents and coaches, to appreciate. Leadership is so critical…thank you very much. Second, this message is going to go out to our NBA community, including Masters, because we want all to have an opportunity to benefit from your observations. Advanced thinkers – you are one – are a precious resource. Please, keep thinking and writing. Proud to be a colleague of yours.  Don Swartz, North Bay


Hi Don! My name is Gaku Ito and I am the Head Coach of PASA's Alpine Hills site. We recently received your article, "Questions Parents Don't Ask (The Coach)" and would love to include it in some form with our weekly newsletter. Would you be agreeable to this? Additionally, if you have a formatted version that is easy to distribute, please let us know. Thank you! Gaku Ito, Alpine Hills PASA | Head Coach



Thanks Don! I read this initially when you first sent it and immediately passed it on to friends I have coaching athletes. Your ideas are so good. Thank you for sharing them and bringing all of this to the forefront of my mind. Best wishes always! An OA Parent 


This is a great article!  I really appreciate the reminder to stay focused on the swimmer's overall work ethic, team commitment and leadership skills as opposed to the immediate gratification of fast times and new goal standards. Really well written in a thought provoking manner.  A parent


Hey Coach Don,
I read the piece you wrote about how parents should rethink conversation with their kids about workout and swimming in general. Great job! You put into words, concepts that are only enacted by the top 10% or so of coaches and maybe even fewer parents. Hopefully you will get better / more-guided involvement from parents. I enjoyed reading it. I've got two kids and the things you wrote about are top of mind for me daily. Parent