The Athletic Triangle
To have a successful swimming program, there must be understanding and cooperation among parents, athletes, and coaches. An athlete’s progress depends to a great extent on this relationship. Sports psychologists and youth sports professionals call this relationship the "athletic triangle." Each person in this triangular relationship plays an essential role in the success of the athletic endeavor. Therefore, it is important for the parent, athlete, and coach to understand and fulfill their distinctive roles in this relationship in order to achieve the highest possible level of success. The coming together point for the three roles is to create an environment that allows the athlete "to be the best they can be". To this end, the responsibilities for each player in the athletic triangle are presented below.

Coaches’ Responsibilities
The coaches are aquatic professionals and serve as positive role models. The job of the coach is to provide a program for children that will enable the swimmers in their charge "to be the best they can be." The coaching staff is responsible for:

  • Designing a training program that is appropriate and conducive to the level of the swimmer. Each group’s practices and objectives are based on sound scientific principles and are geared to the specific goals of that group.
  • Determining the meet schedule and objectives for the meet
  • Conducting and supervising warm-up procedures for the team at meets.
  • Assisting the swimmer in setting realistic goals and guiding the swimmer towards their goals.
  • Evaluating and analyzing practice and meet performance, providing necessary instruction and feedback to enhance performance.
  • Communicating with the swimmers and parents by educating and listening.
  • Determining the rules of conduct and disciplinary matters. In all areas of swimmer conduct and discipline, at practice and meets, the coach is the final authority.
  • Determining practice group objectives and selection criteria and placing swimmers in practice groups appropriate to their age and ability.
  • Updating and improving the CCA program.

Athletes’ Responsibilities
The swimmer athlete is responsible for choosing to participate in the sport and for deciding what he or she desires to accomplish in swimming. The motivation "to be the best they can be" must start with the swimmer. In general, the role of the swimmer includes:

  • Cooperating with the coaching staff at all times.
  • Respecting their teammates and coaches to contribute to a positive practice and team environment.
  • Conducting themselves as athletes and representatives of CCA.
  • Resolving problems in a respectful manner and talking to the coach about any problems.
  • Maintaining the requirements of the practice group.
  • Following practice and meet guidelines.
  • Learning to take responsibility for their swimming.
  • Eating a well balanced diet by maintaining proper fluid intake and following nutrition guidelines (see Good Nutrition for Better Performances under Peak Performance Guidelines).
  • Learning how to set meaningful goals and maintaining a commitment level that is consistent with their goals.
  • Communicating with coach and parents.
  • Having fun and becoming as good as they want to be.

Practice Guidelines

  • Be ready to begin practice at the designated time. Inform the coach before practice start if you need to be dismissed early from practice.
  • Bring proper practice equipment (kick board, pull buoy, etc) - your coach will provide a list of the equipment appropriate to the group level. Put equipment away after practice.
  • Listen attentively to the coach while receiving instructions.
  • Perform technique drills and training sets correctly.
  • Perform practice sets correctly and at the proper level of effort.

Disciplinary Guidelines

  • The use of foul language, derogatory statements towards teammates and coaches, uncooperativeness, fighting, disruption during practice, chronic complaining, or any other unsportsmanlike conduct are grounds for immediate dismissal from practice. Parents will be informed as soon as possible after practice.
  • Repeated misconduct will result in the dismissal from practice for a period of one week. A conference with the swimmer, parent(s), and coach will be arranged before the swimmer resumes practice. The Head Coach will be notified thereafter as to the results of the conference.
  • If misconduct continues, the swimmer will be dismissed from practice for an indefinite period of time. A conference will be arranged with the swimmer, parent(s), and the Head Coach. The Head Coach will decide the outcome.

Parents’ Responsibilities
The parent is responsible for the development of the child. Most parents have their children involved with youth sports because their children want to participate in the sport and they recognize the benefits that these programs provide for their children. Research done on youth sports found that parental involvement plays a key role in shaping their child’s athletic activities and attitudes. Providing the necessary support for the child to "be the best they can be" in swimming is one of the vital roles of the parent. The parent is the #1 Fan of the swimmer. Parent’s responsibilities fall into several categories. They include:


  1. Supporting the coach...
  2. Demonstrating loyalty to the team and the team philosophy...
  3. Fulfilling team obligations and assisting with team functions...
  4. Communicating with the coach when questions or concerns arise...