Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
As an overly-involved swim mom for close to 15 years, I learned many lessons from our age-group years. Here are my top two tips to pass along to swimmers and parents.
Never lie to your coach. Reinforce to your child to never lie to their coach.
Respect the planning that goes into a year-long swim calendar and schedule your vacations accordingly.
The lying sounds obvious and ridiculous, right? Your child never lies. You never lie. But, you’d be surprised. Even if you truly fall in the category of the family that never lies, others do lie. What happens when your child is asked by another swimmer not to tell why they missed practice? Or, what if your child knows that a teammate is at Disneyland and not sick in bed and the coach asks her point blank where that swimmer is? It all comes out in the end — so avoid this embarrassment — and never, ever lie. When the coach finds out the truth, which inevitably will happen, your swimmer will lose credibility. How does he or she get that trust back?
The second tip is also a matter of respect. If your swimmer is a serious year-round swimmer, there will be a certain point in their career when you can’t take off whenever you want. Time-wise, it’s usually around the age of 12 or 13 for girls. Perhaps a little older for boys. I bet you didn’t know that the coach has training cycles and plans out an entire year’s practice in advance — sometimes plans 2 to 3 years out or longer? I bet you didn’t realize that when you go visit Aunt Sally for a week at Christmas you may be missing a huge workout week that is setting up your swimmer for success for the rest of the season? Respect your coaches and their training cycles. They actually put in vacation weeks during their year’s plan. It’s so much better for your swimmer to have your family’s calendar and the team’s on the same page.
My two cents worth. What advice do you have for successful swim parenting? If you have a tip, please post it below.