Parent involvement is very high in swimming, particularly once a junior or age group swimmer starts training more regularly and attends competitions.  The tips below will help every swimming parent to better support their child.


Let the Coach, coach

Most parents will pay good money for a swimming coach to train their son or daughter so let the coach lead and develop your child with their swimming.

It is important that parents let the coach be the coach and do not provide their son or daughter with conflicting advice.   This is especially important at competitions.  Many parents think they are doing the right thing and provide their children with advice.  Often, this advice conflicts with advice provided by the coach and the swimmer does not perform to their best. 


Support the Coach

Parents are encouraged to support their child’s coach.  Children are very perceptive and will often pick up on the vibes if you are not supportive of their coach. 

Both public and private (at home) support of your child’s coach is important.  If you have concerns in regards to what the coach is prescribing in training or how the coach is communicating with your child, then speak to the coach privately in regards to your concerns.


Encourage Your Child to Attend Training

Most coaches will advise swimmers how many sessions they should attend.  There will be days where your child may need some encouragement to attend a designated training session.  They may be a bit tired or not as focused as normal.  It is okay to provide encouragement for your child to attend training on these days. There may also be days where your child is unwell.  It is okay to miss a session if this is the case, particularly if it helps them to recover more quickly.


Health & Nutrition Tips

By learning and maintaining healthy habits, junior and age group swimmers will perform better in and out of the pool.


 Drink Fluids during Training

Swimmers train in water, and when they train hard, they sweat.  Many swimmers don’t realise they are sweating because they are already in water. 

It is vital for swimmers of all ages to drink water or sports drinks before, during and after training to ensure that they stay hydrated.  It is very common that swimmers take water bottles to practice and leave them at the end of the pool to sip on throughout the session.


Baseline Nutrition

The baseline diet is the day to day diet that a swimmer and other family members consume.  There is little point in introducing specific sports nutrition strategies if the basic diet of a swimmer is poor. 

Sports nutrition strategies have the most benefit when they are teamed with a well balanced and designed baseline diet. 


Fuel for Training

The body needs fuel to drive performance and if that fuel runs out, then fatigue will set in.  This is important to consider for training sessions.  In general for a training session less than an hour in duration, drinking water is fine and the athlete will not need extra carbohydrate food sources.  For any training session over an hour in duration, a sports drink may help maximise performance (as they provide extra fuel for the muscles which helps to delay fatigue).  If the swimmer chooses not to consume sports drinks they can have a small carbohydrate based snack and water.


The Best Snacks

Two to four hours before a training session is the ideal time to top up the muscles with carbohydrate and ensure that the swimmer is hydrated before starting the session. Some great snacks include fresh fruit like a banana, strawberries or watermelon and breads like crumpets, multigrain toast or wholemeal toast.