If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may be in danger of pressuring your child. It is important to remember that the parents' role is critical and should be supportive at all times to ensure a positive experience for your child.

  • Is winning more important to you than it is to your child?
  • When your child has a poor swim, is your disappointment through body language or tones, obvious?
  • Do you feel that you are the one to have to "psyche" your child up before competition?
  • Do you feel that winning is the only way your child can enjoy the sport?
  • Do you conduct "post mortems" immediately after competition or practice?
  • Do you feel that you have to force your child to go to practice?
  • Do you find yourself wanting to interfere with coaching and instructions during practice or competition thinking that you could do better?
  • Do you find yourself disliking your child's opponents?
  • Are your child's goals more important to you than they are to your child?
  • Do you provide material rewards for performance?

Competitive swimming provides many benefits to young athletes including self-discipline, sportsmanship, & time management skills. Competition allows the swimmer to experience success and to learn how to treat success and failure as two sides of the same coin, while becoming healthy and physically fit. As a parent, your major responsibility is to provide a stable, loving and supportive environment. This positive environment will encourage your child to continue. Show interest by ensuring your child's attendance at practices, by coming to swimming meets and volunteering for your club at swim meets, or by participating in fundraising, etc.

Parents contribute to the success experienced by the child and the team. Parents serve as role models and their children emulate their attitudes. Strive to be a positive role model and show good sportsmanship at all times toward coaches, officials, opponents and teammates. Remember you are teaching your child at all times.

Be Enthusiastic and Supportive

Remember that your child is the swimmer. Children need to establish their own goals, and make their own progress towards them. Be careful not to impose your own goals. Do not over burden your child with winning or achieving best times. Let them know that first they are the child you love, and second, a swimmer. Tell them you will love them whether they swim well or not, and ask only that they give their best effort. This environment encourages learning and fun, which will help your child develop a positive self-image.

Positive Parenting Tips

  1. Your child needs your emotional, physical, and financial support. Be liberal in providing this support.
  2. Support but do not push your child.
  3. Be realistic in terms of expectations; factor in age and skill level; be aware of your child’s perception of your expectations.
  4. Emphasize performance and effort, not just outcome. The athlete only has control over his/her performance. Define and measure success as giving maximal effort and as personal improvement.
  5. Keep winning in perspective.
  6. Do not bribe.
  7. Give plenty of encouraging and rewarding statements. Criticize sparingly.
  8. View swimming as an arena in which to teach your child about commitment, hard work & discipline.
  9. Work to form an effective Coach-Athlete-Parent Triangle.