4 Swim Parent Tips About Consistency

by SwimSwam 9

November 03rd, 2017 Lifestyle, Swim Mom

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.


Consistent coaches.

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 WickhamElizabeth 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.

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6 years ago

Most of all be sure it is their dream. Not yours. Swimming requires passion. My youngest jumped in at four and is now an NCAA swimmer but she made many sacrifices to get there. But she loved the sport some where deep

Pete Williams
6 years ago

Regarding the “taking a break” kids, I’d say this is 90 percent the case. But we’ve seen several boys who quit at 12-13 only to return 12-18 months later — and 8-10 inches taller – and dominate.

6 years ago

Well said on all four points. Kids respond well to structure. Commit to practice days and keep them. That in turn allows the athlete to structure other parts of their lives based on that commitment hence developing time management skills. Point #3 is really out of a parent’s control as stated. BUT….if coaches are not on the same page, say something. Don’t just let it go. Mixed messages on deck are confusing for the athlete. Finally…re-evaluate at the end of every season. What works? What doesn’t work? Develop a plan to make adjustments. I would also add, be present for your athlete. Sit though a practice now and then. Watch the interactions. As kids get older, car pools form or… Read more »

Erik Collins
6 years ago

That’s the best advice I’ve heard from a parent in more than twenty five years of coaching.

Elizabeth Wickham
Reply to  Erik Collins
6 years ago

Thank you, Coach. I’m honored by your compliment.

monica thompson
7 years ago

We’re dealing with this with my son. He has migraines, and exercise and chlorine make them worse. He will miss a week or two, and then it’s so hard to get back in the routine. Especially when the first few days back he has to “short practice” or he gets a rebound headaches. And he won’t stop until he’s so exhausted he drops if I’m not right there, and then it’s another week out.

Reply to  monica thompson
6 years ago

Perhaps another activity may be in the future? Since exercise aggrevates it and you just can’t avoid the chlorine… migraines are incredibly difficult and the constant pounding in and around their eyes can make a child physically sick. It’s a difficult choice to make when deciding to leave something that the child likes, but this up and down roller coaster of physical ailments are probably not good for him either. Hope you find a good solution.

Reply to  monica thompson
6 years ago

I agree 100% my daughter loves going to practice and going to Swim daily.

My daughter she 12 has them too . I have had them since I was 16 I could not even go near chlorine. I take Topiramate

7 years ago

I agree! Commitment is hard for younger kids but if parents are committed kids will follow as well.
Consistent rules and coaches, I’m thankful for my daughter’s age group coach. For his dedication and care for all the swimmers which make my daughter feel bad every time she has to miss a practice.
Thank you, another great article.