New Year’s Resolutions for Swim Parents

By Courtney Mykkanen, Swimming World College Intern.

With the start of a new year, we often set resolutions to challenge ourselves and grow in order to improve lifestyle and wellbeing during the upcoming year. Parents already have so much on their hands, and no one ever said that being a swim parent was easy. While each swimmer is trying to be the best they can in the pool, parents can work on being the best parent they can be outside of the pool. Here are some possible resolutions swim parents can consider heading into the new year.

Dana Kirk cheers on a PASA swimmer.
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Trust the coach

It is not the parents’ job to coach their swimmer; leave the coaching to the swimmer’s coach. A swimmer may become confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated when a coach is saying one thing yet parents are saying something else. Trust that the coach is more than capable of giving technical advice, training a swimmer to reach their goals, and keeping swimmers safe around the pool. Any questions or concerns should be communicated at times that do not conflict with practices or competitions.


Lead by example

Parents are supposed to be role models for their children. Getting your swimmer to practice on time sets a good example that being on time is very important and respectful (coaches really appreciate this one too).

Parents can also demonstrate appropriate reactions to failure or conflict, as these can both be associated with swimming. A parent’s negative attitude toward their swimmer’s bad race can also make the experience negative rather than looking at it from a learning perspective.

Let swimmers disconnect outside the pool

Parents should avoid talking about swimming constantly. It is one thing to ask how practice was, but it can be mentally exhausting if swimming is always the topic of conversation at the dinner table, during car rides, etc. If the swimmer brings up the topic of swimming, then practice being a good listener and don’t drag on the conversation longer than necessary. Parents should help their children by keeping everything in perspective and enjoying each aspect of life. Placing too much emphasis on any one part can prevent their child from growing and finding what they are truly passionate about.

Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

Show endless love and support

It is unnecessary for parents to constantly be hovering over their child, hence the term “helicopter parent.” There needs to be a balance with letting swimmers be independent and being too involved. Parents are supposed to help their swimmer build confidence and be present when their swimmer falls short of their goals. It is the parent’s job to love and support their swimmer regardless of the ups and downs. A swimmer’s performance should have no impact on how they are treated. After all, parents are supposed to be a swimmer’s biggest fan!

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Marcia Luke
4 years ago


Linda Kerr
4 years ago

Grant Kerr, a good read relevant for any sport!!

Alison Mair
4 years ago

Stuart Mair

Karen Jiggetts
4 years ago

Good advice, easier said than done. Anytime your child gets totally involved in a sport, there is a huge time commitment, also on the parents. You see people do it wrong and guarantee you will mess up sometimes too.