Swimming Parents

By John Leonard, American Swimming Coaches Association

After thirty-three full years of observation, it has occurred to me that some parents must internally delight in the idea of sabotaging their child's swim career. They must for some perverse reason WANT to do this, since they work so incredibly hard at it and are so remarkably successful. Hereafter, my top ten list of means and methods. (And more seriously, some clear examples on positive alternatives.)

  1. Start out making sure the child will get a material reward for good performance…. at age 8, a stop at McDonalds for a 100 IM done without disqualification. At age 10, a five-dollar bill for a new "A" time. At age 12, a trip to Disney World for a high point trophy in the JO's. At age 14, a party for child and friends at an amusement park, complete with LIMO ride, for qualifying for state high school champs as a freshman. And, if still around in the sport, a new Mercedes or Jaguar for a state high school championship as a senior.
  • If you can't see what's wrong with this, you're the problem. The approach that works best? Let the rewards become internal. Let the sport "belong" to the child, not something that "Mommy wants me to do." Get them to understand the value of working hard to improve themselves EVERY DAY, and allow them opportunities to "prove themselves" through THEIR sport...(Read More)


Read the full/original story here: http://swimming.about.com/od/sportpsychology/a/swim_sabotage.htm