10 Commandments for Swimming Parents
by Rose Snyder, Managing Director Coaching Division,
Thou shall not impose thy ambitions on thy
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 him based
on what you think he should be doing. The nice thing about
swimming is every person can strive to do his personal best
and benefit from the process of competitive
Thou shall be supportive no matter
There is only one question to
ask your child after a practice or a competition - "Did you have
fun?" If meets and practices are not fun, your child should not be
forced to participate.
Thou shall not coach thy child.
You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offer
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. Never pay your
child for a performance. This will only serve to confuse your child
concerning the reasons to strive for excellence and weaken the
Thou shall only have positive things to say at a swimming
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”.
Thou shall acknowledge thy child's
New experiences can be
stressful situations. It is totally appropriate for your child to
be scared. Just assure your child that the coach would not have
suggested the event or meet if your child was not ready.
Remember your job is to love and support your child through all of
the swimming experience.
Thou shall not criticize the
Please don't criticize
those who are doing the best they can in purely voluntary
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.
Bring any and all concerns directly to your child’s
Thou shall be loyal and supportive of thy
It is not wise for parents to
take swimmers and to jump from team to team. The water isn't
necessarily bluer in another team's pool. Every team has its own
internal problems, even teams that build champions. Children who
switch from team to team find that it can be a difficult emotional
experience. Often swimmers who do switch teams don't
do better than they did before they sought the bluer
Thy child shall have goals besides
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. One Olympian said, "My goal
was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did
it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I
lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in fact I am very proud of
that swim." What a tremendous outlook to carry on through
Thou shall not expect thy child to become an
There are 250,000 athletes in USA
Swimming. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team
every four years. Your child's odds of becoming an
Olympian are about .0002%.