The role of a parent is one fraught with difficulty at every turn. What follows is a guide to parents of young swimmers and those new to the sport. Hopefully it will help your child enjoy his or her sport as much as possible and become the best they can be.
Remember that swimming is a process. Your children are there primarily to enjoy the sport. As they swim they will learn some lessons of life. They will learn discipline, commitment, motivation, teamwork, goal setting, how to stick to the task in hand, how to win and how to lose, all in an enjoyable safe environment.
Everyone appreciates that as a parent, your support and interest is vital to your child’s participation. Without your services as taxi driver, organiser, lifestyle manager, cook, supporter, confidence booster and piece picker upper, not only would there be no sport for your child, there would be no sport.
However, as you take an interest and as your child improves, sometimes a mother or father can become over involved and inadvertently put pressure on the child to train harder than they want to, or to win at the expense of enjoying taking part. You may find yourself taking your child’s sport more seriously than they are.
Read through the questions below.
- Do you want your child to win competitions more than she or he does?
- Do your show your disappointment if she or he has a bad result?
- Do you feel that you have to “psyche” your child up before a competition?
- Do you feel that your child can only enjoy sport if she or he wins?
- Do you conduct ‘post mortems’ immediately after competition or training?
- Do you feel you have to force your child to go training?
- Do you find yourself frequently wanting to interfere during training or competition thinking that you could do better?
- Do you find yourself disliking the competitors swimming against your daughter or son?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may be putting unnecessary pressure upon your child, which could lead to his or her eventual rejection of the sport or even lasting damage to your parent/child relationship.