10 Tips for Swimming Parents:
1. Do not push your ambitions onto your swimmer
Do not forget that swimming is your child's activity. Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each swimmer. You should judge your child's progress based on the performance of other athletes or push your swimmer based on what you think they should be doing. The nice thing about swimming is everyone can strive for a personal best and benefit from the process of competitive swimming.
2. Always be supportive......No matter what.
The only question you should be asking your child after a practice or a competition - "Did you have fun?" If meets and practices are not fun, you should not force your child to participate.
3. Do not coach your child on your own.
You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offers professional coaching. Do not undermine the professional coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to provide love and support. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy. Never pay your child for a performance. This will only serve to confuse your child concerning the reasons to strive for excellence and weaken the swimmer/coach bond.
4. Always have positive, encouraging words during a meet.
Be as encouraging as possible towards your child and their coach. Do not criticize either party, they will know when mistakes have been made. Remember “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering for”.
5. Acknowledge your child's fears
New experiences can often be stressful situations and it is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don't yell or belittle, just reassure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event or meet if they did not think your child was ready. Remember your job is to love, support, and encourage your child through all of the swimming experience.
6. Do not criticize the officials.
Please do not criticize the officials during the meet, they are doing their best in their voluntary position.
7. Respect your child's coach.
The bond between coach and swimmer is special. This special bond contributes to your child's success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child.
8. Be loyal and Supportive of your child's team.
Jumping from team to team is not the wisest decision. The water is not necessarily bluer on the other side. Every team has their own internal problems, even the best teams. Switching from team to team can be emotionlly hard on your child. Often swimmers who do switch teams don't do better than they did before they sought the bluer water.
9. Make sure your child has goals other than winning.
The most successful swimmers have come to learn that focusing on the process if more valuable than focusing on the outcome. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome ends up to be, is much more important than winning. One Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in fact I am very proud of that swim." This is a tremendous outlook to carry on through life.
10. Do not expect that your child will become and Olympian.
There are 250,000 athletes in USA Swimming. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years. Your child's odds of becoming an Olympian are about .0002%.