Supporters Information

The whole learning and competing experience is a partnership between the Club, the Member, the Coach and the Parents. Here are some guidelines for parents and supporters to help in the development of the competitor.

  • Treat other competitors as partners. Your child should never be taught or encouraged to view an opponent as an enemy. Instead encourage friendship and applaud good performance by all swimmers, not just the winner.
  • Encourage self-competition. True winning at sport is about beating yourself and improving your own performance.
  • Success is not defined by winning or losing. If a swimmer performs to his/her potential, no more should be expected. If he/she loses, don’t be critical but instead help him/her to feel that they are the winner in the battle against themselves. Similarly, should your child perform below potential but win, praise the victory but point out that the battle against themselves is still to be won. Not every swimmer can be a champion, but every swimmer can win the race against themselves. Be positive about the positives.
  • Be supportive but don’t coach. You as a parent are the support team. You are the number one fan unconditionally. Encourage, support and empathise; provide the taxi service and the meals; but leave the coaching to the professional coach in both training and in competition. You can confuse your child by offering your own opinions. (If you do have any concerns about coaching, speak to the coach!)
  • Make it fun. The more fun your child has, the better they will perform. If there is fear of practice or competition, find out why. It can be as simple as ‘not knowing anyone’. Speak to other parents to find out if they have similar issues. Be sure that your child is not concerned about failing to meet YOUR expectations.
  • Whose goal is it anyway? Why is your child participating in sport? Make sure that it is because of their reasons and not yours.
  • Love your child unconditionally. Give your child the gift of failure. Every child is capable of improving on their previous personal best performance, though they may not win. Don’t equate your child’s self worth with their position in a race. Failure is an important stepping-stone on the path to success. Your help may be needed to change negative thoughts into positive ones. Teach your child to see setbacks in a positive manner.
  • Emphasise success. not outcome. Competing can raise tensions in competitors and supporters. Help reduce anxiety by encouraging your child to concentrate on the competition itself, thinking about their own techniques. Take their minds away from who else is competing and from forecasting the result before the race starts.
  • Avoid comparisons, respect differences; every child matures differently, mentally and physically. Comparing your child’s performance and progress with others simply ignores developmental differences. Help children to accept themselves as they are. Late developers often turn out to be better competitors in the long run.
  • Respect and admire others. Whatever the standard to which other children and parents perform to, their efforts and commitment in achieving it is worthy of your respect and admiration. Someone who always seems to win deserves just as much admiration as the other who gives everything, but loses.