10 Commandments

These are the 10 Commandments for Swimming Parents


I. Thou shalt not impose thy ambitions on thy child.

Remember that sport is your child's activity. Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual. Don't judge your child's progress based on the performance of other athletes and don't push them based on what you think they should be doing.


II. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what.

There is only one question to ask your child after a practice or a competition - "Did you have fun?" If competitions and practices are not fun, your child should not be forced to participate.


III. Thou shalt not coach thy child.

Do not undermine the coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to provide love and support. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy. Never pay your child for a performance.


IV. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at acompetition.

You should be encouraging and never criticize your child or the coach. Both of them know when mistakes have been made. Remember “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering”.


V. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child's fears.

New experiences can be stressful situations. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don't yell or criticize. Remember your job is to love and support your child through all of the sporting experience.


VI. Thou shalt not criticize the officials.

Please don't criticize those who are doing the best they can in purely voluntary positions.


VII. Honor thy child's coach.

The bond between coach and athlete is special. It contributes to your child's success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child.


VIII. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team.

It is not wise for parents to take athletes and to jump from team to team. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that build champions. Children who switch from team to team find that it can be a difficult emotional experience. Often swimmers who do switch teams don't do better than they did before they sought the greener pastures.


IX. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning.

Most successful swimmers have learned to focus on the process and not the outcome. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, is much more important than winning. One Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in fact I am very proud of that effort." What a tremendous outlook to carry on through life.


X. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian.

This can be the subject of many discussions