Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
We did a lot of things that I know annoyed our children’s swim coaches. Our intent was wanting the best for our children and to look out for their best interests. One of our early coaches was patient beyond belief and worked with parents to help educate them about swimming and swim parenting. We were fortunate to learn from him.
Here are some of the things we did and what we’ve seen other parents do that annoys coaches:
Habitually late for practice.
I’m not talking about being stuck in traffic or having an orthodontist appointment. This is about parents who bring their kids to practice late all all the time. Think about what message that sends to the coach, let alone their child.
Interrupting the coach during practice.
For lots of teams, parents aren’t allowed on the pool deck. Our team practices outdoors and parents used to sit and watch practice. Parents, including me, would approach the coach to ask a quick question throughout practice. When you get a half dozen parents interrupting, we were taking our coach’s eyes off the kids and not allowing the coach to work.
Coach your kids.
A coach may be focusing on a specific skill or technique to get swimmers to the next level. Since we can’t read the coach’s mind, we may not know what they’re working on. I watched one dad constantly coach his daughter at meets and yes, it made the coach unhappy. Often parents give contradictory information which ends in confusion.
Ask to have your child moved up.
There are a few parents who think their kids need to be moved up before they are ready. Sometimes, coaches will acquiesce to appease the parent. I’ve seen swimmers quit when they were moved up too soon, especially if they struggled to keep up with the intervals. Instead of being at the top of the their group, they were last, slowest and never got a chance to rest.
Talking smack on the pool deck.
I’ve heard parents talk badly about coaches, other parents, swimmers, teams and just about everything else. Negativity spreads like wildfire and it always gets back to the coach. If you hear someone talking bad stuff behind other people’s backs, tell them to stop or walk away. Try not to get trapped into listening and participating.
What other things have you seen parents do that annoy their kids’ coaches?
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.