Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
My kids stuck with one team throughout their age group years from kindergarten through high school graduation. The pool was close to our home and we’ve had excellent coaches throughout the years. We had great role models with parents of older kids and the swimmers on our team were serious but knew how to have fun. As I volunteered this weekend at our Southern California Winter Age Group meet, I was reminded about all the reasons why we chose this team and stuck with it.
Here are four things that make a swim team great:
Team culture is established by the coach and is a crucial element to a great team. We need coaches who can relate to our kids and have the experience and knowledge to get them to the next level. As I watched interactions between coaches and swimmers at WAG, I was so impressed with many of the coaches on deck who helped young children with the mental aspects of competing like positive self-talk, plus stroke technique and they even asked if they were having fun. It was reassuring to see so many talented and positive coaches.
If your children have friends on their team, they are more likely to stick with swimming. It’s a tough sport to go it alone. Friends make hard workouts fun and the hours fly by. Our kids will look forward to practice if they know their friends will be there.
Look around your team. Do you enjoy the people on your team? Are they people you respect? Can you learn from them? Do the majority of parents pitch in to help whenever they’re needed? Being on a team with positive parents you can count on makes a 15-year commitment a pleasure.
When we’re investing time and money for our kids to swim, it’s helpful to join a team with a track record of success. What is your team’s history of sending kids to college? Does your team send swimmers to Sectionals, Junior Nationals and Nationals? If so, you’re most likely on a team with a culture that promotes excellence and have a coach who knows how to help kids to be the best of their ability both in and out of the water.
What other elements are important when choosing a team?
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.