Costa Mesa Aquatics Club
Parent Code of Conduct: Expectations; Goals and Standards
May 13, 2015 -- A letter from Coach Jessica Del Monaco:
As a parent of a swimmer and member of the Costa Mesa Aquatics Club, I will abide by the following guidelines:
- Practice teamwork with all parents, swimmers and coaches by supporting the values of Discipline, Loyalty, Commitment and Hard Work
- As a parent, I will not coach or instruct the team or any swimmer at a practice or meets (from the stands or any other area) or interfere with coaches on the pool deck
- Demonstrate good sportsmanship by conducting myself in a manner that earns the respect of my child, other swimmers, parents, officials and the coaches at meets and practices
- Maintain self-control at all times. Know my role:
Swimmers – Swim
Coaches – Coach
Officials – Officiate
Parents – Parent
- As a parent I understand that criticizing, name-calling, use of abusive language or gestures directed toward the coaches, officials, and/or any participating swimmer will not be permitted or tolerated
- Enjoy involvement with Costa Mesa Aquatics Club by supporting the swimmers, coaches and other parents with positive communication and actions
- During competitions, questions or concerns regarding decisions made by meet officials are directed to a member of our coaching staff. Parents address officials via the coaching staff only
Sanctions -- Should I conduct myself in such a way that brings discredit or discord to Costa Mesa Aquatics Club or USA Swimming, I voluntarily subject myself to disciplinary action. CMAC maintains the right to terminate any membership with/without cause in the interest of our vision, mission and objectives.
Communication -- In any great relationship there are open lines of communication that establish trust between two people. Having been a swimmer for 16 years I know how important it is to feel safe and be able to confide in a coach. Whether it is an issue in the pool, at school, or with family the door will always be open. To this day I still talk to my head coach on a weekly basis about what is going on in my life, I would love to be that person for your children.
As I step into this new position I will be asking for help and ask for your patience with me as I transition into it these next few weeks. If you see a problem please let me know and I will try to correct it as best as I can or I will ask someone who can teach me and show me the best way to fix it. I am not ashamed to ask for help when I need it because I want to be the best possible coach I can be for your children and this community.
If you have any questions about anything please feel free to talk with me in person before practice at 4:30 p.m. or after 7:30 p.m. If those times are not convenient for you please feel free to email me or call and I will get back to you as soon as I can to either answer your questions or set up an alternative meeting time to speak in person. I ask that you respect the times allotted for speaking in person as my main focus and priority is to coach your children. Having a parent walk up at the start of practice or in the middle is not only distracting to me but it is distracting to the athletes. If there is an emergency and they need to leave the pool will be the only exception to this rule. This is called a closed deck. Parents may be on the deck in the bleachers, or their personal chairs, on the water polo side of the pool. There will be barriers set up so that there is no blurred lines as to where the parents are allowed on the pool deck, this rule applies to both sides of the pool so from the girl’s restroom to the front gates and from the bleachers to the front gates is where you are allowed to sit.
Investment in the Athletes -- As I mentioned earlier I am giving my 100 percent to this team and in particular the athletes. Each and every one of the athletes that swims at CMAC is important to me. I want to know your child’s strength and weakness, mentally and physically in order to better motivate, encourage and challenge them to be the best they can be in and out of the pool.
Guidance for Goals -- I will be having personal goal meetings once a month with the athletes where I will ask them to write down a minimum of three goals that include but are not limited to: time standards; particular technique improvement; practice etiquette; and life goals. In these meetings I will take time with every athlete to go over their goals, why they picked them and how we can work together to achieve them. Within these meetings we will recognize those that achieved their goals and how we can continue to improve, whether it be time drops or focusing on particular technique skills or mentally how to be stronger and deal with stress/emotions. In order to better track their progress I will be sending out evaluation cards at the end of the month -- like a report card but no letter grades. These evaluation cards will be a form of communication between the athletes, parents and coaches as it informs everyone involved of the goals desired, plan of action to achieve them and the effort that is put in at practice to reach their goals.
Mock meets and test sets will be held at least once a month to better evaluate the athletes’ performance. A mock meet will be a surprise swim meet on any given day of the week at any time of the month, we chose it to be a surprise in order to truly see how each athlete responds to stress, this is so we can evaluate their mental strengths and either continue to encourage them with the way they approach swim meets and/or races or teach them how to handle the stress or anxiety that comes with meets and/or races. Test sets are a series of swims that focus on a certain technique or skill in swimming and the coaches record the results or evaluate their effort, these will be given more often throughout the month as that is how we as coaches can better understand where the athlete needs the most help and either revisit the athletes goals, challenge them to push toward their goal or praise them for their effort/technique and encourage them to keep up the good work.
Big Picture -- We are teaching your children how to work out, be self-motivated and give 100 percent into whatever they chose to do. What you put into something is what you get out of it. Effort is key in achieving any goals in life. If you want something you have to work for it, becoming a fast swimmer does not come naturally it takes a lot of time and energy along with focus in order to reach new heights. As their coaches we are teaching them the importance of doing things correctly and then training them to be fast. I always say “Do it right the first time and we won’t have to do it again.” I am a stickler on that because technique and good habits are what make a good athlete become great.
For an example, if I said I could do a 100 pushups in a minute but they were executed with poor form I can say I did them, but in the long run I will seriously injure myself and 100 is great but I will want more. If I will continue to train to do 150 in a minute still with poor form, I would be injured and unable to reach my 150 goal. But with proper technique over time I will achieve my goal of 150 and still be healthy and not injured.
Swimming is a lifestyle and it takes a certain type of person to follow a black line for hours, but the benefits of being a swimmer are countless and extremely beneficial. My main concern as their coach is their safety, and their health is more important than getting a certain time. In order to create longevity in the sport all the athletes most learn the basics and master them before moving forward into the sport as those bad habits or poor technique will reappear in their futures and will be more difficult to correct and protect for future injuries if they are not already injured. As coaches we work hard to figure out a plan to ingrain good habits and see the athletes perform with healthy technique so that they may see a bright, healthy, happy future in the swim world.
Responsibility -- Show up to practice, leave the day at the door and come to learn, get stronger, try new things, push yourself and have fun! Swimming is an individual sport but very tight-knit friendships are made. You are not only racing the people next to you, you are racing the clock. The goal is to reach set time standards in order to go to bigger meets where there is more competition. There will always be someone bigger, faster and stronger and you are trying to be that person. Winners are not born at swim meets they are born at practice. All the work is put in at practice so you need to show up everyday ready to work hard in order to reach your goals.
There is a huge difference between physically showing up and mentally. The first step is getting your body to practice but if you’re not focused on what you are doing you are not learning or bettering yourself to compete at a higher level. You have to actively use your brains all throughout practice, if you put the work in you’ll see the results at meets. You are responsible for bringing your suit, cap, goggles, water, and towel everyday along with proper clothing and at the end of the day picking up your equipment and putting it away neatly. For swim meets, know your heat and lane and be ready to swim mentally and physically. Know your goals and have a plan of how to get there (I will help) and work hard! Do not forget to have fun!
Effort Level -- As I said before if you think about the little things you will improve. If you focus on what you are doing at practice and truly try your hardest to learn the technique you will improve at the swim meets. It is extremely important you understand what you are doing and how to do it properly. The coaches will guide you and teach you how to do the proper technique but we can’t get in the water and make you do it… you have to actively listen and try to apply the teachings. I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to show up mentally to practice, if your mind is anywhere else other than practice you are missing out on bettering yourself and furthering yourself from your goals.
Swimming is 90% mental 10% physical. That means if you come to practice on a regular basis and think about what you are doing it will become second nature to your body so when you show up to swim meets all you have to do is think about what you did at practice. The rest will come naturally -- swimming fast and having fun.
Communicating -- It is important to tell your coach what you are thinking. If you are having a hard time understanding something don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask why we are doing a certain drill or what will it help you improve. Questions mean you want to truly understand what you are doing and how it will help you be a better swimmer. Coaches are not mind readers so you need to be vocal. If something hurts let us know, we do not want you to be injured or in pain. If something is upsetting you let us know. If you are having issues with the people in your lane, again, talk to your coach and we will help you. Coaches are here for you, we want you to know you can come to us with anything and we will do all we can to help or if you just want a listening ear we are here for that too.
Support -- The biggest expectation I have from you guys is support. Get the athlete to practice on time, provide them with proper fuel and attire and support them. We are the coaches and we will tell your child what needs to be fixed and how to do it along with praise for doing it well. Children look for approval from parents and coaches and try to please them. What I expect from you is your support. I cannot say it enough times: “You need to be their biggest cheerleader, fan and proud parent.”
The way I see it is we will be teaching them about swimming and advising them how to be better, we will be critical at times but only to make them better athletes. If they do not do well we will be the first to tell them and inquire why and advise based on their response. It is so important you support them the whole time even if they do not perform well -- they need to see it is okay to fail but they need to learn from it and stay motivated.
As parents you need to trust that we are doing our jobs as their coach who wants to see them succeed as much as you do. If your child is not improving the way you would like I would be happy to set up a meeting to discuss the issue and vice versa. We both want the same goal: healthy and happy achieving kids.
Volunteering -- We could not have a successful team without the help from parents. Swim meets are ran by parents and we appreciate you for your time and effort that you put into the team. Timing at away-meets is also another way you help our team, we have to provide timers for swim meets so all swimmers can race and have a successful meet. Volunteering is a great way to get involved with the team and show your children how important and what a difference it can make by giving of your own personal time. Children learn by example and your volunteering is showing you care and want to be involved in their sport.
My goal for the team is to grow together and enjoy all that swimming has to offer. Team growth is a benefit and I understand a concern for some. Having a larger team means more competition and friendships within the groups. We currently have varying skill levels and mixed groups.
The ideal ratio of coach-to-athlete is one coach to every twenty-or-less swimmers. We have been thinking of bringing in another coach to be a floater coach. A floater coach is someone that does not have a set group of kids but pulls aside a few athletes at a time to really focus on technique. We think it would be beneficial for all the athletes and we are currently looking for someone for that position. Once we have more than 20 athletes per group we will be looking to hire another full time coach.
Another benefit of team growth is less volunteer hours per parent. So far the same parents have volunteered for everything, but with a bigger team you can volunteer for a few hours less and sit with your children and enjoy the meet.
PROMOTE YOUR TEAM
We have advertisements all around the city in Panera, on cars, at the movies, in church pamphlets and we attend local community events promoting our team. Another great way to promote our team is by word-of-mouth. If you like what we’re doing and our vision for the team tell a friend, wear your CMAC apparel to the gym or around the town. Another way is at swim meets, having our canopy up and filled with kids having a great time is a wonderful way to promote the team. I try my hardest to represent the team wherever I go, I’m proud to be a part of CMAC and love hearing about us in the coach’s tent. If there are any other ways you can see us better promoting or advertising for the team please let us know.
There will be new groups for practice starting next week. These groups will be based first off of age and then off of ability. There will be a little overlap in the groups so that there is flexibility among skill and age. The groups will be as follows:
Coach Tanya’s 5 to 6:00 p.m. class will consist of 5 to 8-year-olds.
Coach Jessica’s 5 to 6:30 p.m. class will consist of 8 to 12-year-olds that pass a test set standard. Test set standards are to make sure the child can make the intervals for the group and get rest in between sets.
Coach Jessica’s 6 to 7:30 p.m. class will consist of age 11-and-up that meet a test set standard.
Coach Tanya’s 5 to 6:00 p.m. class
Coach Tanya’s 6 to 7:00 p.m. class
It is standardized by age first because of maturity and ability to truly understand how to work out and know the basics. The crossover is so those that need to be more challenged have the opportunity within the guidelines of maturity and active knowledge of the sport.
The transition to move up will be a 2-week process. If the group change has to do with more workout time, that athlete will do his original work out and join his new group for the extra minutes for the first week. The second week they will do 3 workouts in the new group and 2 in the original group. This will provide easy transitions and prevent burn-out of the athlete.
Group changes effective 5/18/2015