Life With a Parent As a Coach: A Unique Experience

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Life With a Parent As a Coach: A Unique Experience

By Evangelia Vasilakis, Swimming World College Intern.

Parents are our No. 1 supporters. But what happens when your parents become your coach? I had my mom coach me for years. While it was amazing, I found some things were quite different for my swimming career compared to my teammates. Having a parent as a coach means that your swimming life will be much different than your teammates, and that’s okay. Here are some things that happen when a parent coaches.

What Do You Call Them?

When my mother was my coach, I would call her Coach Mom. This was our funny joke because I wanted to still be able to call her coach, but I added the mom to be funny. I know some kids just called their parents that coached mom or dad, and that is equally all right. 

Favoritism 

Parents who coach have to find an equal balance between the team and their own child. I found that when someone on my team, including me, had a parent as a coach, they would go to one of the other coaches for technical advice and mainly after events. This avoided the idea of favoritism. No person on the team was left behind and the parents would avoid talking too much to their kid on deck. 

After Practice

After practice, everything was fair game. I remember my mom talking to me all the time after practice about my technique and my times. At the time, this approach frustrated me because I did not want to talk about swimming while I was not at the pool. But now that I am older, I appreciate everything she told me, knowing it made me the swimmer I am today. 

Many swimmers who have parents as coaches know this feeling. They know how swimming is the driving force in the family. These swimmer-parent duos often end up closer and happier with each other in the end. 

Meets

Having a parent as a coach means they will always be at your meets. They will see every bad race and every good race. It was a positive having my top supporter on deck at all times. It also makes other swimmers happy to have someone familiar on deck. I know when my mom started to coach, many swimmers already knew her because she had been at so many practices and meets. 

Teammates

It was always really cool seeing other swimmers get close to your parent, too. It makes the children of coaches happy to see your parents help your teammates excel. Knowing your parents’ knowledge was guiding your team was comforting, and it meant something that your friends and teammates appreciated their influence. It is always funny seeing former teammates get excited to see your parent. 

Overall, having a parent as a coach is fun, but different. You do not talk on deck much, but you have plenty of conversations about swimming at home or on the way home. You also have a different kind of relationship with your other coaches, with whom you become closer. More, it is comforting to have two sets of eyes on you. More feedback. I know I missed having my mother on the pool deck once I graduated. I also knew she prepared me for the challenges ahead. She had my back through it all, and I am grateful for everything she did for me and other swimmers.

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