PARENT INFORMATION

PARENTS ROLE IN THE NWAA PROGRAM

As with any successful youth sports program, parent involvement is required for the program to move in a positive direction. This swimming program will see the most success if the parents and coaches are working together towards a common goal. Hard work and communication are vital to the ultimate success of any swimming program. NWAA has an excellent history of positive parent support and involvement. Each time a youngster joins the team, the parents automatically become members and inherit with that membership the responsibility to participate and support the activities of the team. If you are serious about wanting your child to be a successful swimmer, you should understand that you have the ability to be a part of building an environment that is most conducive to your child’s success. Your help is not only essential; it is very much appreciated by the staff, parent board and swimmers on NWAA.

PARENTS’ GUIDELINES

You have a great responsibility in raising your child and you have no doubt been a positive presence in your child’s growth. The following ideas will hopefully help you continue to assist your child through another facet of their growth, being a part of a team and dealing with success as well as failure.

In order to ensure that your child is surrounded by influences which allow the best path towards success, it is very important that the parent understand where the coach is coming from philosophically in regards to the growth of each athlete as it relates to competitive swimming. The coach must in turn be in tune with the parent and what expectations they might have for their child as not every parent has the same objective for their child. Therefore parent/coach communication is essential to creating an environment that is most conducive for that child’s having a positive experience on the team.

This section will attempt to outline a few areas that will hopefully allow you as a parent to better understand the method to the coach’s madness.

You should be aware that competitive swimming experiences a very high rate of swimmer burnout due to many factors, which a coach will attempt to control. The main reason for athlete burnout is an inability of an athlete to cope with pressure. The coaching staff and parents should attempt to curb “burnout” by doing a number of things including:

  1. Putting an emphasis on giving your best and improvement, not winning.
  2. Parents should refrain from giving stroke correction or trying to coach their

swimmer. This usually will only serve to confuse the child when they are being given conflicting information. Teaching athletes to set realistic yet challenging goals and base those goals on

factors over which they have control. Help them realize that they have no control over how fast an opponent might swim any given race, therefore, focus on what he/she can do to be successful.

  1. Parents must understand this process and try not to put undo pressure on any child to win. Your child should be praised for his/her effort when effort is given. Emphasis should be put on each child’s effort to improve. Winning is a factor which we cannot control. We can, however, control our effort.
  2. Being a swim parent, patience will be your greatest quality when dealing with your child. Some children will see rapid improvement immediately; some may have a more gradual rise to success. Even after a child sees success it is inevitable that he/she will hit a plateau and maybe even regress. It is very common for athletes to struggle at times, especially with the onset of puberty. Children are growing into their bodies and it can be difficult to remain at peak performance during this stage of life. Patience, encouragement, and reassurance are the essentials your child will need from you at this time.
  3. From the age of 6 – 13, the most important factor in the long-term success of that child in swimming is each child’s level of love for the sport. A child who may be a relatively slow swimmer, but enjoys going to practice will have a much more satisfying long term experience than a child who always wins but doesn’t want to go to practice. Naturally gifted swimmers who see a lot of success as children often struggle when they get older and the field of talent starts to level out. These gifted young swimmers tend to have trouble dealing with failure. Swimming becomes more like a job as opposed to an enjoyable sport.
  4. Once a child hits puberty, usually 13 years and up, it is this time when swimmers and parents need to realize that more emphasis will need to be put on training as opposed to having fun. At this point athletes need to start to decide if he/she is going to commit whole-heartedly to swimming as their sport of choice.
  5. Not every NWAA athlete is expected to commit heart and soul to the swim team. Coaches realize that there will be different levels of commitment. However, parents and swimmers must realize that their success will be directly related to their level of commitment and effort.

Swimming is a wonderful activity for any child who has patient parents who are willing to be involved in the team aspects. Your child will receive all of the positive aspects that being a part of any organized sport will provide your child. What makes swimming special is the rare combination of an individual as well as team concepts that will last a lifetime.

 

MEET PARTICIPATION

  •   Arrive at the pool 15 minutes prior to the teams designated warm up time. This will allow ample time to change and stretch before warm up begins. (Warm up times are usually listed on the website as well as sent in an email)
  •   Athletes who arrive late for warm ups risk losing their spot in a relay as quite often coaches must turn in relays prior to the end of warm ups.
  •   Obtain a heat sheet and make sure you are properly entered in all events. If there is a mistake, discuss it with your coach so corrective action may be taken if necessary.
  •   Any athlete wishing to scratch out of an event must first confer with a coach before performing that action.
  •   All NWAA swimmers are encouraged to wear the team suit for all competitions, as well as some type of team uniform whether it is a t-shirt, sweats, or a parka. (Athletes receiving awards at Championship level meets are expected to wear team sweats or a team parka when accepting awards)
  •   It is each athlete’s responsibility to know what events he/she will be swimming and make sure that he/she arrives behind the blocks at the proper time.
  •   It is highly recommended that each swimmer confer with his/her coach to go over racing strategies.
  •   Once the race has completed and you have exited the pool it is a good idea to ask your timer what your time was.
  •   All swimmers are to “swim down” after a race. A proper swim down should include a minimum of a 200. Longer swim downs are necessary for longer races. This will help prepare for the next event.
  •   Swimmers should also see their coach after the swim to get feedback on their race. Post race analysis should occur with the coach within 5-15 minutes after the race depending on whether the athlete swims down before or after seeing the coach. If the coach is already speaking to a swimmer or watching another race, it is recommended that the swimmer swim down, then see the coach when he is free.
  •   In between races, swimmers are asked to sit in the designated team area and relax, staying warm in the winter and keeping cool during the summer. If swimmers must eat during the competition, a light nutritious snack is recommended.
  •   It is very important for parents and swimmers to check with the coach before leaving a competition. Please determine whether the child has made it back for finals in a prelim/final meet and find out if he/she is in any relays. (Any athlete wishing to opt not to swim a final must first discuss that decision with the coach)

 

What to bring to a meet:  

  • NWAA team suit
  • NWAA team cap
  •  Goggles
  • Multiple Towels
  • A Blanket or Sleeping bag
  • Quiet entertainment (gameboy, books, etc.)
  • Food – nutritious snacks
  • Water bottle

 

BEHAVIOR AT MEETS

  •   Wherever and whenever a NWAA swimmer wears any item of the team uniform, the individual should be aware that his/her actions and words reflect on the team and they should behave accordingly. Let your actions reflect the pride you have in Northwest Arkansas Aquatics.
  •   As a matter of courtesy to the officials and meet hosts, it is preferable that parents stay off the deck whenever possible.
  •   AT NO TIME WILL ANY SWIMMER OR PARENT CONFRONT AN OFFICIAL ON DECK. Any question that a swimmer or parent may have during the conduct of the meet should be directed to your coach. The coach will then pursue the matter through proper channels.
  •   As a matter of pride, leave the NWAA team area in a neat and clean condition at the conclusion of each session of the meet.
  •   During prelim/final meets, swimmers who qualify for finals in any event are expected to compete.
  •   All athletes and parents are expected to represent Northwest Arkansas Aquatics with the utmost sportsmanship and respect. Proper courtesy will be shown to all teammates, competitors, officials, coaches and other parents. Failure to do so may result in the removal of that person from the entire meet and put their team participation in jeopardy.\

TRAVELING TO MEETS

  •   Travel arrangements and expenses at out of town meets are the responsibility of each family. The team will reserve a block of rooms at hotels for each family to use. Team members are expected to stay at the designated team hotel. Hotel phone numbers, contact person, reservation deadline, cost, location, etc. are published well in advance of the meets on the team website. It is then up to each family to make its own reservations.
  •   For some meets, the team will arrange lodging and transportation. The expenses are totaled and billed. These expenses are to be paid by the swimmers family.
  •   For team van trips or elite trips where only the coach and chaperones are available for supervision, athletes will be expected to sign a Code of Conduct prior to the trip. The Code of Conduct will be followed for the complete duration of the trip. Athletes who do not sign and return these items will not be allowed to attend the trip.
  •   Any number of actions might be taken in the event an athlete breaks the Code of Conduct guidelines depending on the severity of the infraction. Punishment may be as small as a room assignment or an early curfew to being sent home. In the event that a swimmers behavior is so detrimental that he/she will be sent home, parents will be notified and every precaution will be taken to ensure the athlete is returned home safely. That athlete’s family will be responsible for the cost of transportation.