Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
The big meets of the season are here and we can help our swimmers on their paths to success. There are many things we can’t control, for example swimmers can get injured or come down with the flu. We can’t control how fast our kids swim or who is in the lane next to them. But there are a few things we can do to help make the big meet a success for our kids and us!
Make sure our children rest and sleep well. It may be as simple as bringing their pillow to make it easier to sleep at night. Also, between prelims and finals be sure to have your kids rest. Don’t take them to an amusement park or other strenuous activity.
Make sure they’re eating nutritious meals and have plenty of water or liquids. Stick to foods they’re used to and that work well for them. Have healthy snacks available so they don’t get too hungry between meals.
If your children get nervous before races, one trick a coach told our son was to listen to music. Picture Michael Phelps with his headphones on at meets.
Mindfulness Apps can be helpful to parents as well as swimmers. If you find yourself getting nervous before a race, take a moment to breathe! Or go for a long walk.
We don’t need to coach our kids—that’s the coach’s job. After the races try a simple “I love to watch you swim” instead of breaking down the race. Our kids really don’t want us to tell them that they were slow off the blocks or missed their turn.
Try to focus on the big picture of what an amazing experience swimming is. Getting to a big meet is the result of hard work, learning new skills, setting goals and practicing every day. Our kids gain grit and confidence through it all.
Celebrate and enjoy the meet. You’ll treasure the memories for years to come.
What advice do you have for swimmers and parents going to their target meets?
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.