Coach's Corner





If you want your child to come out of his youth sports experience a winner, (feeling good about himself and having a healthy attitude towards sports) then he needs your help! You are a vital and important part of the coach-athlete-parent team. If you do your job correctly and play YOUR position well, then your child will learn the sport faster, perform better, really have fun and have his self-esteem enhanced as a result. His sport experience will serve as a positive model for him to follow as he approaches other challenges and obstacles throughout life. If you "drop the ball" or run the wrong way with it, your child will stop learning, experience performance difficulties and blocks, and begin to really hate the sport. And that's the GOOD news! Further, your relationship with him will probably suffer significantly. As a result, he will come out of this experience burdened with feelings of failure, inadequacy and low self-esteem, feelings that will general¬ize to other areas in his life. Your child and his coach need you ON the team. They can't win without YOU! The following are a list of useful facts, guidelines and strategies for you to use to make you more skilled in the youth sport game. Remember, no wins unless everyone wins. We need you on the team!


1. When defined the RIGHT way, competition in youth sports is both good and healthy and teaches children a variety of important life skills. The word "compete" comes from the Latin words 'com" and "petere" which mean together and seeking respectively. The true definition of competition is a seeking TOGETHER where your opponent is your partner, NOT the enemy! The better he performs, the more chance you have of having a peak performance. Sport is about learning to deal with challenges and ob¬stacles. Without a worthy opponent, without any challenges sport is not so much fun. The more the challenge the better the opportunity you have to go beyond your limits. World records are consistently broken and set at the Olympics because the best athletes in the world are "seeking together", challenging each other to enhanced performance. Your child should NEVER be taught to view his opponent as the "bad guy", the enemy or someone to be hated and "destroyed". Do NOT model this attitude!! Instead, talk to and make friends with parents of your child's opponent. Root for great performances, good plays, NOT just for the winner!


2.  ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO COMPETE AGAINST HIMSELF. The ultimate goal of the sport experience is to challenge oneself and continually improve. Unfortunately, judging improvement by winning and losing is both an unfair and inaccurate measure. Winning in sports is about doing the best YOU can do, SEPARATE from the outcome or the play of your opponent. Children should be encouraged to compete against their own potential, i.e. Peter and Patty Potential. That is, the boys should focus on beating "Peter,” competing against themselves while the girls challenge "Patty.” When your child has this focus and plays to better himself instead of beating someone else, he will be more relaxed, have more fun and therefore perform better.
3. DO NOT DEFINE SUCCESS AND FAILURE IN TERMS OF WINNING AND LOSING. As a corollary to #2, one of the main purposes of the youth sports experience is skill acquisition and mastery. When a child performs to his potential and loses it is criminal to focus on the outcome and become critical. If a child plays his very best and loses, you need to help him feel like a winner! Similarly, when a child or team performs far below their potential but wins, this is NOT cause to feel like a winner. Help your child make this important separation between success and failure and winning and losing. Remember, if you define success and failure in terms of winning and losing, you're playing a losing game with your child!


4.  BE SUPPORTIVE, DO NOT COACH! Your role on the parent-coach-athlete team is as a Support player with a capital S!! You need to be your child's best fan. UNCONDITIONALLY!!! Leave the coaching and instruction to the coach. Provide encouragement, support, empathy, transportation, money, help with fund-raisers, etc., BUT...DO NOT COACH! Most parents that get into trouble with their chil¬dren do so because they forget the important position that they play. Coaching interferes with your role as supporter and fan. The last thing your child needs and wants to hear from you after a disap¬pointing performance or loss is what they did technically or strategically wrong. Keep your role as a parent on the team separate from that as coach, and if, by necessity you actually get stuck in the almost no-win position of having to coach your child, try to maintain this separation of roles, ie. on the deck, field or court say, "'Now I'm talking to you as a coach", at home say, "'Now I'm talking to you as a parent". Don't parent when you coach and don't coach at home when you're supposed to be parenting.


5.  HELP MAKE THE SPORT FUN FOR YOUR CHILD. It's a time proven principle of peak performance that the more fun an athlete is having, the more he will learn and the better he will per¬form. Fun MUST be present for peak performance to happen at EVERY level of sports from youth to world class competitor! When a child stops having fun and begins to dread practice or competition, it's time for you as a parent to become concerned! When the sport or game becomes too serious, athletes have a ten-dency to burn out and become susceptible to repetitive performance problems. An easy rule of thumb: IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT ENJOYING WHAT HE ARE DOING NOR LOVING THE HECK OUT OF IT, INVESTIGATE!! What is going on that's preventing him from having fun? Is it the coaching? The pressure? Is it YOU??! Keep in mind that being in a highly competitive program does NOT mean that there is no room for fun. The child that continues to play long after the fun is gone will soon become a drop out statistic.


6. WHOSE GOAL IS IT? #5 leads us to a very important question! Why is your child participating in the sport? Is she doing it because she wants to, for herself, or because of you. When an athlete has problems in her sport do you talk about them as "our" problems, "our jump isn't high enough", "we're having trouble with our flip turn,” etc. Are they playing because they don't want to disappoint you, because they know how important the sport is to you? Are they playing for rewards and "bonuses" that you give out? Are their goals and aspirations YOURS or theirs? How invested are you in their success and failure? If they are com¬peting to please you or for your vicarious glory they are in it for the wrong reasons! Further, if they stay involved for you, ultimately everyone loses. It is quite normal and healthy to want your child to excel and be as successful as possible. BUT, you cannot make this happen by pressuring her with your expectations or by using guilt or bribery to keep her involved. If they have their own reasons and own goals for participating, they will be FAR more motivated to excel and therefore far more successful.


7. YOUR CHILD IS NOT HIS PERFORMANCE. LOVE HIM UNCONDITONALLY. Do NOT equate your child's self-worth and lovability with his performance. The MOST tragic and damaging mistake I see parents continually make is punishing a child for a bad performance by withdrawing emotionally from him. A child loses a race, strikes out or misses an easy shot on goal and the parent responds with disgust, anger and withdrawal of love and approval. CAUTION: Only use this strategy if you want to damage your child emotionally and ruin your relationship with him. In the 88 Olympics, when Greg Louganis needed and got a perfect l0 on his last dive to overtake the Chinese diver for the gold medal, his last thought before he went was, "'If I don't make it, my mother will still love me".
8. REMEMBER THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-ESTEEM IN ALL OF YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH YOUR CHILD-ATHLETE. Athletes of all ages and levels perform in DIRECT relationship to how they feel about themselves. When your child is in an athletic environment that boosts his self-esteem, he will learn faster, enjoy himself more and perform better under competitive pressure. One thing we all want as children and NEVER stop wanting is to be loved and accepted, and to have our parents feel good about what we do. This is how self-esteem gets established. When your interactions with your child make him feel good about himself, he will, in turn, learn to treat himself this very same way. This does NOT mean that you have to incongruently compliment your child for a great effort after he has just performed miserably. In this situation being empathic and sensitive to his feelings is what's called for. Self-esteem makes the world go round. Make your child feel good about himself and you've given him a gift that lasts a lifetime. Do NOT interact with your child in a way that assaults his self-esteem by degrading, embarrassing or humiliating him. If you continually put your child down or minimize his accomplishments not only will he learn to do this to himself throughout his life, but he will also repeat YOUR mistake with HIS children!
9. GIVE YOUR CHILD THE GIFT OF FAILURE. If you really want your child to be as happy and as successful as possible in everything that he does, teach him how to fail! The most successful people in and out of sports do two things differently than everyone else. FIRST, they are more willing to take risks and therefore fail more frequently. SECOND, they use their failures in a positive way as a source of motivation and feedback to improve. Our society is generally negative and teaches us that failure is bad, a cause for humiliation and embarrassment and something to be avoided at all costs. Fear of failure or humiliation causes one to be tentative and non-active. In fact, most performance blocks and poor performances are a direct result of the athlete being preoccupied with failing or messing up. You can't learn to walk without falling enough times. Each time that you fall your body gets valuable information on how to do it better. You can't be successful or have peak performances if you are concerned with losing or failing. Teach your child how to view setbacks, mistakes and risk-taking positively and you'll have given him the key to a lifetime of success. Failure is the PERFECT stepping stone to success.
10. CHALLENGE-DON'T THREATEN. Many parents directly or indirectly use guilt and threats as a way to "motivate" their child to perform better. Performance studies clearly indicate that while threats may provide short term results, the long term costs in terms of psychological health and performance are devastating. Using fear as a motivator is probably one of the worst dynamics you could set up with your child. Threats take the fun out of performance and directly lead to your child performing terribly. IMPLICIT in a threat, (do this or else!) is your OWN anxiety that you do not believe the child is capable. Communicating this lack of belief, even indirectly is further devastating to the child's performance. A challenge does not entail loss or negative consequences should the athlete fail. Further, implicit in a challenge is the empowering belief, “I think that you can do it".
11. STRESS PROCESS (skill acquisition, mastery and having fun), NOT OUTCOME. When athletes choke under pressure and perform far below their potential, a very common cause of this is a focus on the outcome of the performance, i.e. win/lose, instead of the process. In any peak performance, the athlete is totally oblivious to the outcome and instead is completely absorbed in the here and now of the actual performance. An outcome focus will almost always distract and tighten up the athlete insuring a bad performance. Furthermore focusing on the outcome, which is completely out of the athlete's control will raise his anxiety to a performance inhibiting level. So IF you TRULY want your child to win, help get his focus AWAY from how important the contest is and have him focus on the task at hand. Supportive parents de-emphasize winning and instead stress learning the skills and playing the game. 
12. AVOID COMPARISONS AND RESPECT DEVELOPMENTAL DIFFERENCES. Supportive parents do not use other athletes that their child competes against to compare and thus evaluate their child's progress. Comparisons are useless, inaccurate and destructive. Each child matures differently and the process of comparison ignores significant distorting effects of developmental differences. For example, two 12 year old boys may only have their age in common! One may physically have the build and perform like a 16 year old while the other, a late developer, may have the physical size and attribute of a 9 year old. Performance comparisons can prematurely turn off otherwise talented athletes on their sport. The only value of comparisons is in teaching. If one child demonstrates proper technique, that child can be used comparatively as a model ONLY! For your child to do his very best he needs to learn to stay within himself. Worrying about how another athlete is doing interferes with him doing this.
13.  TEACH YOUR CHILD TO HAVE A PERSPECTIVE ON THE SPORTS EXPERIENCE. The sports media in this country would like you to believe that sports and winning/losing are larger than life. The fact that it is just a game frequently gets lost in translation. This lack of perspective frequently trickles down to the youth sport level and young athletes often come away from competition with a dis¬torted view of themselves and how they performed. Parents need to help their children develop realistic expectations about themselves, their abilities and how they played, without robbing the child of his dreams. Swimming a lifetime best time and coming in dead last is a cause for celebration, not depression. Similarly, losing the conference championships does not mean that the sun will not rise tomorrow.

by Rose Snyder
1. Thou shalt not impose your ambitions on thy child. Remember that swimming is your child's activity.
Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual. Don't judge your child's progress based on the performance of other athletes and don't push them based on what you think they should be doing. 
2. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what. There is only one question to ask your child after a practice or 
a competition - "Did you have fun?" 
3. Thou shalt not coach thy child. You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offer professional 
coaching, do not undermine the professional coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to provide 
unconditional love and support and a safe place to return at the end of the day. Love and hug your child no matter what. Tell them how proud of them you are. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy or any other area that is not yours. And above all, 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. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet. If you are going to show up at a swimming 
meet, you should be encouraging, but never criticize your child or the coach. Both of them know when mistakes have been made. And remember “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering for”. 
5. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child's fears. A first swimming meet or a first swimming event can be a stressful 
situation. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don't yell or belittle, just assure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event if your child was not ready to compete in it. Remember your job is to love and support your child through all of the swimming experience. 
6. Thou shalt not criticize the officials. If you do not care to devote the time or do not have the desire to
volunteer as an official, don't criticize those who are doing the best they can. 
7. Honor thy child's coach. The bond between coach and swimmer is a special one, and one that contributes to your child's success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child; it will only serve to hurt your child's swimming.
8. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that 
build champions. 
9. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning. Most successful swimmers are those who have learned to focus on 
the process and not the outcome. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, 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." What a tremendous outlook to carry on through life.
10. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian. There are 280,000 athletes in USA Swimming. Only 
2% of the swimmers listed in the 10 & Under age group make it to the Top 100 in the 17-18 age group and of those only a small percentage will become elite level, world class athletes. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years. Your child's odds of becoming an Olympian are about .0002%. Swimming is much more than just the Olympics. Ask your coaches why they coach. Chances are, they were not an Olympian, but still got so much out of swimming that they wanted to pass the love for the sport on to others. Swimming teaches self-discipline and sportsmanship; it builds self-esteem and fitness; it provides lifelong friendships and much more. Swimming builds good people, like you want your child to be, and you should be happy your child wants to participate.



What Parents Should Say As Their Kids Perform - Tim Elmore -

In my work at Growing Leaders, we enjoy the privilege of serving numerous NCAA and professional sports teams each year. After meeting with hundreds of coaches and athletes, I noticed an issue kept surfacing in our conversations. Both the student-athlete and the coach were trying to solve the same problem.  What was that problem?

The parents of the student-athletes.

You may or may not believe this, but even in Division One athletics, parents stay engaged with their child’s sport, often at the same level they did through their growing up years. Moms will call coaches and advise them on how to encourage their daughter or son. Dads will call coaches and ask why their kid isn’t getting more playing time. Parents will call strength and conditioning coaches and inquire what they’re doing about their child’s torn ligament. Each of these calls is understandable. After all, no one has more at stake than the parent of a performer. They love their child, they’ve invested in their child and they want to see a “return on their investment.” Some athletes refer to their mom as their P.A. (personal assistant) or their agent. I know a mother who watches her collegiate daughter’s gymnastics practice behind the glass, all the while, calling and leaving voicemails for the coach on what should be done for her little girl. I even know sets of parents who moved into a condo across the street from their freshman athlete’s university. They didn’t want to miss a thing, and they certainly didn’t want to neglect to provide direction. I understand this. I am a father of two kids myself.

What we parents may not recognize is the pressure and angst this kind of involvement applies. May I tell you what student-athletes are telling me?

  1. I love my mom, but when she does this, I get the feeling she doesn’t trust me.
  2. My parents are great, but I feel like I have multiple coaches telling me what to do and I get stressed out over it.
  3. I’m getting blackballed by my teammates because my mother keeps texting me and my coach, to give suggestions. I wish she would chill.
  4. I feel like I’m never quite good enough; I can never fully please my parents.

Moving From Supervisor to Consultant

According to years of research on athletes, I believe parents have a more productive impact on their kids by making a change in their style. When our kids were younger, we played the role of supervisor. We were right there on top of the issues. And we should be—they were young and needed our support. As they age, parents must move to the role of consultant. We’re still involved, still supportive, but we allow our kids to grow up and self-regulate. When we fail to do this—we can actually stunt their growth. It’s a bit like teaching our kids to ride a bike. Remember this process?  First, we gave them a tricycle. The three wheels made it almost impossible for them to fall off, and they got used to peddling a vehicle. Then, they moved to a bicycle. It was bigger and had only two wheels. A little more scary. So we initiated them on that bike with training wheels. That prevented bad accidents. Eventually, however, we took the training wheels off, and our involvement became a tender balance of two ingredients: support and letting go. Did you catch that? Support and letting go.

What We Should Say When Our Kids Perform

The most liberating words parents can speak to their student-athletes are quite simple. Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:                                    After the competition:

  1. Have fun.                                                    1. Did you have fun?
  2. Play hard.                                                    2. I’m proud of you.
  3. I love you.                                                    3. I love you.

Six Simple Words…

For years, I wondered what the student-athlete would say about this issue. After decades of work with athletes, Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller found out. They suggest six simple words parents can express that produce the most positive results in their performing children. After interacting with students, they report:

College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response:

“I love to watch you play.”

That’s it. Those six words. How interesting. How liberating to the parent. How empowering to the student-athlete. No pressure. No correction. No judgment. (That’s the coach’s job). Just pure love of their child using their gift in competition.

When I learned this, I reflected on the years my own kids competed in sports, recitals, theatrical plays, and practices. Far too often, I wanted to play a role that added more stress to their life. Instead, I now realize—I just need to love them. And to love watching them play.

From a parent’s view—this is the best way to cultivate an emotionally healthy kid.



7 Ways To Make Waking Up For Morning Practice Easier


Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former National level swimmer from the beautiful west coast of BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed a comprehensive tool that designed for swimmers to track and analyze their results.

I won’t sugar-coat it – I despised waking up early probably more than anything else in the world. More than the fact my CD player skipped non-stop (dating myself here), that I’d left my water-logged suit in my bag over-night, and possibly even more than distance fly sets.

It might be because my bed was a comfortable slice of heaven. Or that Canadian winters make for some bone-chilling walks to the car. Or that tricking myself by putting the alarm clock across the room only served to make me more grumpy and more tired.

Here are 7 tips to help make those early mornings a little more bearable, without having to resort to tricking yourself or having your old man dump water on you like mine occasionally did—

  1. Prepare your gear the night before. This has two benefits – the obvious one being that you’ll free up another ten minutes of sleep the next morning (or longer depending on how much stuff you have to pack for the day). The less obvious benefit is that the feeling of preparedness made me fall asleep a little better. I didn’t have the, “I still have to get my stuff ready tomorrow” thought gnawing at the back of my brain as I lay in bed, closed-eye staring at the ceiling.
  2. Turn on all the lights. Soon as you wake up, turn on all of the lights. Open the curtains – if it’s not the dead of winter, and still darker than it was when you went to sleep – and let your body’s natural clock become aware that it’s rise-and-shine time.
  3. Keep moving. Sitting down and slumping into your breakfast will only keep you in that half-asleep mode. Your body, confused with what its supposed to be doing, will continue to implore you for the warmth of your sheets. Move around, get some blood flowing, and get your body closer to “go” mode.
  4. Hydrate. Did you know that you can lose up to a litre of water while you sleep? True story. Start every morning off with a big glass of water and return your body to hydrated-status.
  5. Commit to getting up for 5 minutes. Starting anything is the hardest part, you should know this by now. Promise yourself five minutes of being up and at it, no more. Committing to 5 minutes is a lot easier to digest than the thought of that epic distance set awaiting you at the pool.
  6. Have a Pre-Sleep Ritual. Getting up is exponentially easier when you have had a good night’s rest. Insure a solid 7-8 hours by having a pre-sleep ritual. Things to note when building your own plan for optimized sleep:
    1. Limit exercise a couple hours before working out (not always possible, I know).
    2. Dark as possible.
    3. Limit TV and cell phone use (probably asking a lot here in the case of the latter).
    4. Avoid caffeine in the house before sleepy-time.
  7. Have a set of cues for when you wake up. Habit is an extremely powerful thing. Use it to your advantage by creating a set of cues that will make getting up a habit instead of having to rely on willpower. Here is an example–
    1. Turn off alarm.
    2. Open blinds.
    3. Make bed.
    4. Go to the bathroom.
    5. Drink a full glass of water.
    6. Make breakfast.
    7. Watch Sportscenter for 5 minutes.

Do these things each time you have to wake up early, and you will find that the routine becomes hard-wired. The more you do it, the less you have to think about it, and the less you think about it, the less you are having that eternal argument in your brain about getting “just five more minutes” under the sheets.

Don’t feel bad about the fact that you feel like you are at half-speed when you wake up. A great majority of us feel the same way. Do you have any tips that help you get up for morning practice?


Courtesy of


Attendance at Swimming Practice 
By John Leonard 

One of the hallmarks of a quality swimming team program is a planned program of physical development. 

(Other hallmarks include an emphasis on teaching, intelligent approaches to competition, and racing with a purpose, as well as individual attention to those who are "earning it" through their attention to the instructions of the coach.) 

The planned program of physical development includes programmed physical stress and recovery times. Progress can only be made by the athlete by imposing a previously unexperienced stress on the body system. The body will then adapt to this stress, if provided the appropriate degree and timing of recovery. (Total rest is NOT appropriate does not provide the lower level stimulation necessary for compensatory chemical reactions to develop.) 

The stresses applied can be in the form of speed, distance swum, or "density" of workout. (yards per time period.) Stress can also be specifically applied in accordance with energy systems. A quality swimming program will mix the stresses in appropriate quantities and types for the group of athletes, and thus the individuals, being trained. The "mix" will be different for different groups and individuals, based on their previous training. 

Thus, attendance at workout is a CRITICAL feature in making physical progress in the program. When an athlete misses a workout, they upset the delicate balance of "how much of what" stresses they apply to their body. In worst cases, athletes attend the recovery workouts, and miss the stressful workouts and thus never apply increasing stress to their systems. In the next worst scenario, athletes miss a series of recovery workouts, and attend only the stressful workouts and thus never get the appropriate recovery stimulation, and go from "sore" to "more sore." Finally, missing a "cycle" of stressful and recovery workouts means that the athlete takes "one step forward and one step back" and worse, comes back to a stress/recovery cycle that is now two steps up from their last practice .... a very stressful adaptation. 

This ignores, of course, the fact that the athlete has let his teammates down by not attending, and has lost the opportunity to learn what is being taught that day. 



How Parents Affect Success: An Athlete's Perspective

From -> Parent Docs & Articles

A coach in Texas recently shared an exercise her swimmers completed and then shared with their parents.  The exercise shows, from a swimmer’s perspective, how parents and the actions of parents can affect the athlete’s success.


Swimmers were asked to sit down and write out things that they love swim parents do, and things that they wish swim parents wouldn’t do.  All answers were written anonymously so no one would know who wrote what.  This allowed the swimmer to answer the questions openly. 


According to the coach, the swimmers really enjoyed getting to do this; they loved the idea of being able to show their appreciation for the great things parents do for them and the things they feel could help parents of the team become better swim parents. 


The results were then shared with the parents via a letter from all of the swimmers in the group. Here are the results…notice the differences between the younger and older swimmers.



Things they love and appreciate:

  • When my parents encourage and support me even after a swim that I did not drop time.
  • When my parents tell me to not worry about my event, just go out and have fun.
  • How my parents prepare for my meets: Drive me there, take time off to go to meet, bring healthy food.
  • When my parents accept that even though I added time, I still tried my best.
  • When my parents don’t put pressure on me.
  • I like when my parents aren’t among the many parents screaming really loud at the children.
  • When I race he tells me to swim my own race and doesn’t tell me what he thinks I need to do.
  • I like how my parents encourage me to do well and encourage my swimming.
  • I like it when my parents tell me they are proud of me.
  • I like when my parents tell me I love you no matter what happens.

Things they don’t like:

  • I don’t like it when other parents and my parents compare me to the other swimmers.
  • I hate when parents yell at their kids for adding.
  • I hate when my parents take things away from me when I add time at a meet.
  • I don’t like it when my parents make me cry about my swims.
  • I hate when my parents get mad when I add time.
  • I dislike when my parents think I didn’t try my best.
  • I dislike how my parents tell me things that I did wrong.
  • I hate when my parents try to fix my stroke technique and try to tell me how to swim.
  • I don’t like when my parents yell “go” too loud and make others look.
  • I don’t like when my parents always think I should drop time in every event.
  • I don’t like when parents don’t congratulate their kids, only tells them something they did bad.
  • I don’t like when my parents give suggestions repeatedly and they are not what my coach wants me to do.


Things they love and appreciate:

  • I like that my parents really enjoy the sport of swimming.
  • I like that you take the time out of your day to take me to practice and meets.
  • I like that you spend money on something I can have a future in.
  • I like that my parents don’t put pressure on me.
  • I like how my parents support/care for me no matter what.
  • I like when they make me feel better when I add time.
  • I love that my parents want me to be my best.
  • I love when my parents don’t coach me.

 Things they don’t like:

  • I dislike that my parents are never satisfied with my swims.
  • I don’t like when they don’t understand you just don’t drop every meet, even if my strokes look better.
  • I dislike when they doubt my commitment.
  • I dislike when my parents say I did badly; I am disappointed enough in myself already.
  • I hate that my parents don’t realize how hard I work to keep them happy.
  • I hate when my parents only look at how well I do in my meets and not in practice.
  • I hate that my parents have never been a swimmer, but they try to change and put down my swimming.
  • I dislike when my parents get upset when I didn’t get a cut even though I dropped time.
  • Don’t appreciate my effort when I do well.
  • Don’t buy healthy food for meets.
  • I hate when my parents try to fix my strokes.
  • I don’t like when you try to make my goal times for me.

Simplifying Tapering For Age Group Swimmers

By Guy Edson

Simple, We don't.


We don't taper age group swimmers because there is nothing to taper from.


Taper is effective when there is a constant but manageable significant overload of both anaerobic and aerobic work.  When we reduce the stress by tapering the amount of and intensity of the work then the body super compensates with greater strength, speed, and endurance.  (That's our hope!)


Age group swimmers are not little seniors.  They have far different needs and different workout routines.  Primary needs include stroke work, learning how to train, learning how to race, and developing an aerobic base.  Aerobic yardage, while important to track and set workout goals for, is not the most important objective of age group workouts.  Race pace work is done more for the mind than the body - it is learning how to pace and race.  Little anaerobic adaptations are possible with age group swimmers.


So what do we do to prepare 12 and unders for important meets?  First, we don't use the word "taper."  Second, we don't cut back the yardage significantly.  Third, we do increase race rehearsals, start, and turn work.  Fourth, we talk it up.




Summer League to Year Round Swimming


Published by The American Club Swimming Association
2101 North Andrews Ave., Suite 107
Fort Lauderdale FL 33311

Moving From Summer League to Year Round Swimming

"I Have A Nine Year Old Who Has Been Swimming In A Summer League For The Past Three Years. As He Begins Swimming With A Year Round Program, What Things Should Be Emphasized?”

Answer: I have coached in the summer leagues in the Washington D.C metropolitan area for 18 years. In addition, I worked with the Solotar Swim Club for six years and founded the Curl Swim Club eight years ago.

Each summer many parents get involved in their child’s primary activity, such as summer league swimming. Summer leagues are very popular in the Washington, DC area. There are more than 300 teams that are divided into several leagues. When the season ends in August, the local United States Swimming teams will conduct tryouts and give presentations for individuals interested in continuing in a swimming program.

The summer league program is such a short season and each swimmer strives to improve from the past summer. Their main goal is to improve their performances and have a successful season each summer. Also, most parents want children to participate in a healthy activity with intangible benefits offered by a team sport and goal setting.

I feel that it is very important to present a well-rounded program for each age group swimmer. They must enjoy themselves certainly, we all learn more effectively in a pleasant environment. Stroke development is of utmost importance to the young swimmer. They should not be allowed to focus on any one stroke. Long distance training is not necessary in the developing years.

Poor stroke habits develop and the boredom of long distance training will most likely have a negative effect on them. A young swimmer must learn proper starts, turns and stroke mechanics so that he or she will develop in many other areas as he progresses and gets older. They will also specialize in a certain area and stroke as they mature.

Parents should encourage their children to be involved in a number of activities. When a youngster devotes too many hours to training each week, he or she will be unable to experience other sports and activities such as music, dance etcetera. I believe that we should give each child the opportunity to be well rounded. Often times, a swimmer will drop out of the sport and not have another activity to fall back on.

Swimmers should be taught and trained in a progressive manner. Each step should include continued stroke development. Other important areas of competitive swimming should be introduced as the swim progresses. If a youngster is having fun while he learns, he will show the greatest amount of improvement.

Parents, throughout the competitive swimming experience hold a vital role in the success of the swimmer. They must continually reinforce the swimmer and support the program and coaching philosophies that they have chosen.

Communication between the parent and coaching staff is important so that a child does not experience conflict and become confused.