Parents who have their children in competitive sports have a bad reputation. They are often described as being overbearing and obsessed. If you are a parent of a competitive swimmer, it is easy to get caught up in the drama of the races and the competition between teammates. Everyone wants their own children to succeed, but at what cost? It is possible to be a swim parent who contributes to the success of your child without being overbearing to the coach and the other parents.
Swim parents are extremely dedicated to their children and their love of the pool. But, like parents of all young athletes, swim parents can be difficult for coaches to handle. In most cases, youth swimming coaches are volunteers and the do the job because they love the sport and they love working with kids. When parents become unruly, it makes it difficult for even the best coaches to keep doing the job. To help their children keep swimming and the coaches keep coaching, here are a few tips for parents to be the best swim parents possible:
Great swimming parents are encouraging.
And not just for their own children. They encourage the entire team. They listen to their children and their coach. They do not get involved in drama, even if it does arise. The most encouraging swim parents will share their children’s progress and listen when other parents do the same. They cheer on their own children and the other swimmers on their child’s team.
Great swimming parents are dedicate to the sport and the team.
They continue to learn about the best practices for improving in the sport. They also work hard to help the team succeed financially by participating in fundraisers and recruiting events. They make sure their children get to practices and they bring teammates to practices if their parents have difficulties with transportation.
Great swim parents share their knowledge with teammates.
When swimmers are getting ready to apply to college and for scholarships, the parents who have experience will help other parents who do not. They will share information about the best places to buy inexpensive, but high quality gear. Sharing knowledge does not mean overstepping the coach, however. It means bringing your expertise to the whole team with things that help the coach, too. Parents who have knowledge about complementary exercises like yoga or weight training can be helpful to the team, too – but only after asking the coach first.
Great swim parents are also generous.
This does not mean that they have to be financially generous, but they do what they can to help the team. This spirit of generosity can involve helping the coach with timing during practices or volunteering to drive children to meets. It could involve sharing delicious and nutritious recipes that satisfy a hungry swimmer. Generous parents do not complain about doing what they can to help the team be a team.
Some parents can be judgemental and harsh to their own children and this can scare other children. There is a right way and a wrong way to cheer on a child; being nice is the key. Friendly swim parents are not just nice to their children, but to all of the children and their parents. As seasons change, families will come and go, but the veteran families should always be nice and welcoming to the newest ones. This makes the whole team cohesive and it helps new families know where to go for questions and answers. Friendly swim parents can set a positive tone for the entire season and for an entire club.