10 Commandments for Swimming Parents

(Rose Snyder, USA Swimming)

 

I – THOU SHALT NOT IMPOSE THY 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. The nice thing about swimming is every person can strive to do their personal best and benefit from the process of competitive swimming.

 

II – 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?” If meets and practices are no longer fun, your child should not be forced to participate.

 

III – THOU SHALT NOT COACH THY CHILD

You are involved in one of the few youth sports 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.

 

IV – THOU SHALT ONLY HAVE POSITIVE THINGS TO SAY AT A SWIM MEET

You should be encouraging and never criticize your child or the coach. Both of them know when mistakes have been made. Remember “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering for”.

 

V – THOU SHALT ACKNOWLEDGE THY CHILD’S FEARS

New experiences can be stressful situations. 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 or meet if your child was not ready.

 

VI – THOU SHALT NOT CRITICIZE THE OFFICIALS

Please don’t criticize those who are doing the best they can in purely volunteer positions.

 

VII – HONOR THY CHILD’S COACH

The bond between coach and swimmer is special. It contributes to your child’s success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child.

 

VIII – THOU SHALT BE LOYAL AND SUPPORTIVE OF THY TEAM

It is not wise for parents to compare teams. The water isn’t necessarily “bluer” in another team’s pool.

 

IX – THY CHILD SHALT HAVE GOALS BESIDES WINNING

Most successful swimmers 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.

 

X – THOU SHALT NOT EXPECT THY CHILD TO BECOME AN OLYMPIAN

There are over 250,000 athletes in USA Swimming. There are only 52 spots available on the Olympic Team. Your child’s odds of becoming an Olympic athlete are about .0002%.

 

When in doubt, adhere to the following rule:

Swimmers swim, coaches coach, parents parent.