Q: What is a healthy Parent - Coach Relationship?
A: A key component to an athlete's healthy swimming experience is the building of a positive relationship between a parent and a coach. Both the parent and the coach have important roles in supporting a swimmer. A coach is there to teach and judge a swimmer's performance and technique while a parent should love and support the child regardless of the outcome. It's helpful for a parent to realize some key things about a coach. A lot more comes with coaching than the athletes, practice and competition. Beyond the initial hours at the pool, a coach's time is spent planning for workouts, understanding the long term-term nature of the sport and each individual swimmer's performance, doing key administrative duties, and providing emotional support for many athletes.Ultimately a coach loves the sport and is willing to make countless sacrifices to foster swimming and its athletes in and out of the pool. Keeping this in mind, there are key things parents can do to support their child's coach and ultimately help their child achieve swimming success.
HOW A PARENT CAN HELP
A. Trust and listen to the coaches
B. Respect and support their decisions
C. Focus on supporting your child, not adding additional pressure
D. Maintain open communication with the your swimmer's coach
Q: How do I determine if ACAC is right for me?
A: Browse through this website (www.swim4acac.com). It provides information about the club’s past, present, and outlook for the future. It also provides valuable information about the sport of swimming.
Talk to a current ACAC parent! Members currently involved in the program are a very useful and informative resource to find out more about the team.
Contact Dean Gerchar (firstname.lastname@example.org), our Membership Chair, to find out the steps required to join and also to get a parent's perspective of the ACAC experience.
Q: Why swim?
A: The USA Swimming age group swimming program is America’s largest program of guided fitness activity for children. Age group swimming builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of good health by teaching healthy fitness habits.
Swimming is considered the ideal activity for developing muscular and skeletal growth by many physicians and pediatricians. Why do doctors like it so much?
- Swimming develops high quality aerobic endurance, the most important key to physical fitness. In other sports an hour of practice may yield as little as 10 minutes of meaningful exercise. Age group swimming teams use every precious minute of practice time developing fitness and teaching skills.
- Swimming does a better job in proportional muscular development by using all the body’s major muscle groups. No other sport does this as well.
- Swimming enhances children’s natural flexibility (at a time when they ordinarily begin to lose it) by exercising all of their major joints through a full range of motion.
- Swimming helps develop superior coordination because it requires combinations of complex movements of all parts of the body, enhancing harmonious muscle function, grace, and fluidity of movement.
- Swimming is the most injury-free of all children’s sports.
- Swimming is a sport that will bring kids fitness and enjoyment for life. Participants in Master’s Swimming programs are still training and racing well into their 80’s.
In addition to physical development, children can develop greater intellectual competence by participating in a guided program of physical activity. Learning and using swimming skills engages the thinking processes. As they learn new techniques, children must develop and plan movement sequences. They improve by exploring new ideas. They learn that greater progress results from using their creative talents. Self expression can be just as much physical as intellectual. Finally their accomplishments in learning and using new skills contribute to a stronger self image.
Q: Do I need to be an elite swimmer to join ACAC?
A: No. ACAC offers a variety of levels in which swimmers can begin. No matter what your child’s current ability level is, you can rest assured that there is a place for them within the ACAC program.
Q: My child shows some natural swimming ability. I want to encourage him to develop this. How best do I push my child to excel?
A: While your child may show some talent in swimming, early talent is not necessarily indicative of later success or that he will continue to have an interest in swimming. What is most important at this age is for your child to have fun with swimming and to focus on the development of basic swimming skills. One of the primary reasons kids swim is because it is fun and one reason kids quit swimming is because it is no longer fun. Therefore, coaches and parents need to try to keep the fun in swimming. So, in your role as a parent, point out the progress he is making and how much fun he is having, and avoid placing any expectations about “how good he could be.” Instead of approaching the situation as how best to push your child to excel, approach it as how best to help your child have fun and learn swimming skills. View the early years as "foundation building” and time to develop a love for the sport that will be a basis for a successful career.
Q: Isn't swimming an individual sport? Why is there so much emphasis on a team atmosphere?
A: The reason the “team” concept is emphasized is that it is important for children to learn to work together with their teammates. Relays and dual meets are both great examples of how our sport has a “team” aspect to it. Children learn to rely on their teammates while working together to achieve a common goal. The camaraderie formed through your child’s participation on a ‘team’ is an experience few children realize. Additionally, the team atmosphere of swimming is considered fun. Your child will reap the benefits of learning to function within a team for the rest of his life. The friendships and relationships he forms will have an impact on him forever.
Q: Is volunteering required?
A: Yes, ACAC hosts several meets throughout the year. All Families are expected to work at all the team-hosted swim meets - currently 2 per year. Swim meets are out best fund-raising opportunity. Swimming is what we do best, so we host meets to bring in funds to support the team, pay and hire coaches, fund team activites and awards.
Q: Why does it seem my child's swimming is so inconsistent?
A: Times at this stage are not a true indication of your child's abilities. In fact, it is not unusual for your child's times to fluctuate as he/she learns to maintain proper technique.
Perhaps your child’s coach has asked him/her to maintain a certain number of strokes per length and he/she accomplished that goal. Although the time was not what you expected, this is an outcome while the coach is focusing on the process of swimming efficiently. Be patient and supportive during this developmental stage of your child’s career. Times will improve once your child is more consistent with his/her technique.
Q: How does my swimmer change groups of move up in the program?
A: Each child will be considered on an individual basis for placement within a group. Our belief in age-appropriate training and our assessment of the swimmer's stroke technique will be the overriding factors in determining the swimmer's readiness for the next group. The final decision will rest with the coaches.
Q: Should I be concerned if my child gets DQ'ed at the meet?
A: It is important for both you and your child to realize that their coach would not be entering them in an event for which he/she does not think they are ready. Does this mean they won’t get disqualified? No, that’s part of a learning process that every swimmer encounters. Taking risks is part of the sport. While learning to master the skills of proper stroke and turn technique, there is a chance your swimmer will get disqualified. If this happens, it is a great learning experience. It will teach them how to deal with failure and how to improve their technique the next time so it doesn’t happen again. Let your child know that it happens to all swimmers. Perhaps the coach can have one of the senior swimmers share a ‘DQ’ story with them.
Q: What is Short Course (SC) versus Long Course (LC)?
A: Short Course refers to training or competing in 25 yard or meter pools, while Long Course refers to training or competing in 50 meter pools. The ORCC pool is a short course (25 yards) pool.
Q: What is USA Swimming?
A: USA Swimming is the national governing body for swimming in our country. They provide insurance and resources, and oversee the growth and development of the sport. For more information contact:
USA Swimming, One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909
Q: How hard does my child have to train to earn a college scholarship?
A: That’s a tough question. There are so many different levels of collegiate swimming. Although your child may not earn an athletic scholarship, a combination of swimming and academic accomplishments may open many doors for your child. Remember that there are small Division I and Division II & III schools that offer swim programs that allow swimmers below the national level an opportunity to enjoy a collegiate swimming career. Earning an athletic scholarship should not be your goal for your child’s participation in swimming. Because of the limited number of scholarships available, this may be an unrealistic goal.