I have experience at making mistakes as a swim parent. Fifteen years of it. I put together this list of things parents do that drive our kids and coaches crazy—with help from my daughter. Mind you, I have not done everything on the list, but I have seen all of these examples.
Most swim parents are the best people you’ll meet. They are encouraging, excited, willing to help and fun. These traits make long hours around the pool enjoyable and worthwhile.
Here are 10 behaviors guaranteed to drive swimmers and coaches crazy:
Insist your child be moved up into a higher group when the coach doesn’t think they’re the right age or developmentally ready.
Coach your swimmer before and after their swims and at practice.
Pace up and down the deck as your child races, yelling the entire time.
Talk badly about other swimmers, families and coaches—in front of your child.
Never volunteer and be the parent who has to be chased down to fill a timing chair. Don’t you love the excuse—“I have kids to watch, I can’t time.”
Hover under the coaches’ tents during meets, blocking coaches views and getting in the way—which is an outdoor pool problem.
Film every race and practice and insist your child sits with you to review them.
Carry a clipboard and stop watch. Write down all your child’s times—and the times of their teammates and competitors.
Argue with the refs when your child DQs.
Never be happy and always complain about everything. All the time.
What other things do swim parents do that drive our kids and coaches crazy?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.