by Elizabeth Wickham
I’ve missed some swim practices lately and I regret it. I found out that it’s hard to get back into the pool after getting out of the groove. I’ve seen this play over and over with kids, too.
My own child suffered with asthma. His age group career was two steps forward, five steps back. He never had consistency and I’m surprised he stuck with swimming as long as he did.
Consistency may seem boring and unimaginative, but in the pool there’s no way around it. Our head coach mentioned that when a family says, “We are taking a break,” they rarely come back. Swimming is hard, life is busy—and it’s easy to find reasons to avoid the pool. I think this is true with most exercise, work and many aspects of our daily lives including parenting.
Here are a few ideas about consistency and swim parenting:
Get your kids to the pool.
Going to practice consistently helps your kids reach their swim goals. They won’t have to struggle with starting over and getting back in shape. Plus, I’ve noticed that kids who show up day in and day out get more positive feedback from coaches, as opposed to those who have sporadic attendance. It’s all about the process and consistency will go a long way towards your swimmers’ success.
Try to have consistent rules.
It’s impossible to be completely consistent in our busy lives, but it’s a goal worth working towards. I’m talking about consistency with bed time, dinner, homework and having our kids do a few chores. A steady schedule will make life move swimmingly in the long run.
This is out of a parent’s control, except when choosing a club. It does help if your head coach and assistant coaches are on the same page with technique, training, advancement and other big picture ideas of swimming.
Make a commitment.
Take swimming one year or season at a time with your kids. Agree as a family to a commitment for a specific length of time. At the end of that time, ask if they want to sign up again. By making a commitment, you’re teaching your kids about perseverance and follow through.
I’ve learned that in most aspects of life that consistency is an important element to success. In swimming, it means showing up, even when you don’t want to. It also means putting in a good effort while you’re there.
What do you see as the benefits of consistency as a swim parent or coach?
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.