When you're the parent of a very young swimmer (age 10 and under), you're both participating in a learning process. Your child is figuring out how to participate on a team, and you are trying to navigate the world of being a swim parent.
To make the process as easy for both of you as possible, here's what you need to know:
- Practices are not competition – Swimmers are competitive people, but is important to for your child to remember that they are on a team as well. Practices and workouts are intended to help everyone improve. Try not to yell or cheer during a practice or tell your athlete that they are better than one of their teammates.
- Stroke technique is more important than speed - Many young swimmers and their parents who may not understand the sport often become obsessed with the idea of getting to the wall first. The way to win consistently is to have good form for all strokes. It is important to remind your child of this factor.
- The coach is the boss at practices and meets – It's important that your child develop a healthy relationship with their coach, without mom or dad's interference. Don't allow them to run to you when the coach requires them to perform a particular exercise. Doing so undermines a coach's authority. If you do have a question or concern about the coach's training style, talk to to them about it in private.
- The differences between types of swimwear – You don't want to make the mistake of buying your child a technical or racing swimsuit too early. Talk to the coach or a veteran parent about the swim team swimsuits that your child may need.