TIPS FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG ATHLETES
- Make sure your child knows that win or lose, sacred or heroic; you love him/her, appreciate their efforts, and are not disappointed in them. Be the person in their life they can look to for constant positive reinforcement.
- Try your best to be completely honest about your child’s ability, his/her competitive attitude, their sportsmanship, and their actual skill level.
- Teach your child to enjoy the thrill of competition, to be out there trying, and to be working on improving his/her swimming skills and attitudes. Help him/her to develop the feel for competing, for trying hard, and, most importantly, for having
- Get to know the coaches so that you can be assured that their philosophies, attitudes, ethics, and knowledge are such that you are happy to have your childunder their leadership.
- Make a point to understand courage and the fact that it is relative. Explain that courage is not the absence of fear, but a means of doing something in spite of fear or discomfort.
- Be helpful, but don’t coach your child on the way to the pool or on the way back or at breakfast, and so on. Leave the coaching up to the coaches!
- Try not to relive your athletic life through your child in a way that creates pressure; you lost as well as won. You were frightened, you backed off at times, and you were not always heroic. Just remember there is a thinking, feeling, and sensitive free spirit out there in that swim suit who needs a lot of understanding, especially when his/her world turns bad.
- Always remember that children tend to exaggerate, both when praised and when criticized. Temper your reaction and investigate before reacting.
- Don’t compare the skill, courage, or attitudes of your child with other members of the team, at least within his/her hearing.