Saturday, March 9, 2013

Professional Swim Coach

Professional Swim Coach

Richard Light Marcel,

Parents are very important for young age group swimmers. Not only because they get up early to drive them to training and sit through the session but also for the interest they show in their children's progress and the support they provide. Children and young people live in worlds within which swimming is one practice with meaning for them. The biggest problem can be with parents taking on a coaching role or self appointed assistant coach. I have seen parents shouting at their children during training sessions and correcting their kids' technique in front of the coach.

I know this from my research on children and swimming in several countries and my role as father of a talented swimmer who trained and competed in Australia, France and the UK. I also know upon reflection that I was guilty of coaching when I should have been providing the emotional support that a young swimmer with heavy commitments to swimming, school, other sports and music needs.They don't need more pressure, criticism or expectations of performance from their parents. They need support, interest - and love.

I have worked with many trainee PE teachers and coaches who have tried to implement innovative approaches that parents often tended to misinterpret and create problems. It is important for the parents to be supporting the coach so that children get the same messages at the pool and at home but there needs to be some understanding of what the coach is doing. A few of my student teachers/coaches actually asked parents to come in for a session where they showed what they were doing, why they were doing it and what their aims were and this tended to work pretty well for all who tried it. Swim coaches can be very busy so don't have a lot of time but it might pay, when there is time such as at the beginning of the new season, to also listen to parents' concerns. I know it sounds like school but really a swimming coaches' work when coaching young children is not that different.