Important: Parents Please Read....

Kenneth O'Reilly

Dear Swimming Parents:

Please be open-minded and read about the following 2 coaching concerns.  I’ve been coaching swimming for 32 years and I’ve seen too many children negatively impacted by these 2 areas of concern:

  1. Comparisons with Other Swimmers:  It’s ok to be competitive with your swimming peers, but the idea of competition is to “compete with” your peers to bring out the best in you.  If you make comparisons between your child and others, you’re setting up your child to eventually burn out, feel discouraged, scared to compete, and eventually want to quit.  Sometimes your child’s competitors will beat them and sometimes your child will beat their competitors.  We always want to encourage our kids to be the best they can be but to avoid comparisons.  Teach your children to enjoy competition with their peers but not to compare themselves to others.  The focus for long-term development should be on “personal improvement over winning.”  If they focus on personal improvement over winning, they’ll actually wind up winning more and have the correct perspective on competition.
  2. Failure as Feedback:  Failure IS NOT the end of the world or some kind of disaster that you need to protect them from or that you need to shield them from.  Failure is an important part of learning to become a winner.  Winning means “being unafraid to lose”.  Winning usually follows losing.  Think of learning to ride a bicycle.  Part of the process is falling down and picking yourself back up.  We have to teach our kids that failure is part of the formula for winning.  Winners get upset at failure but ultimately it inspires them to get better.  For winners, losing inspires them.  For losers, losing defeats them.  We have to teach our kids to learn from their failures and take their losses and turn them into wins.  John D. Rockefeller once said, “I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.”  Let your children experience some failure but encourage them to learn from it and be inspired by it to be better.

Please use the great education resources we have on our website.  I would encourage you to read one article per week.  That is not much of a price to pay to learn how to make your child’s swimming experience a more successful one… (click here for educational articles).


Coach Ken