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Supporting your swimmer

Swimmer parent rage- by anonymous

I confess! I am guilty as charged! Of what you may ask? Of SWIMMER PARENT RAGE. As the parent of swimmers I spend an inordinate amount of time sat at training sessions, and also sweat buckets at a huge number of galas, all in the name of watching my children swim. I always liked to think that I was a good and supportive parent who would never put their child under pressure or get cross with them if they had a bad swim. Well, I was wrong! Swimmer parent rage gripped me this weekend, and it just goes to show that we are all fallible.
So what is swimmer parent rage? In basic terms it is getting cross with your child when they have a bad swim, do a rubbish time, lose concentration and generally have a bad gala. How does it manifest itself? Well by you telling your child they were rubbish, shouting at them, showing disapproval and getting them upset (even to the point of tears). Now let’s be honest, I bet that all swimmer parents have done some of these things at some point, after all as my friend Gaz says “We are all human”. So what we need to do is accept that we will get cross, but do our utmost to not let this show to our swimmers. After all, if we upset them then they are going to swim badly again aren’t they!
So, in the first instance let’s think about why swimmers have a bad race:
1. They don’t feel well – often children don’t show any obvious symptoms of a viral infection in the first stages. So they can go to a gala, just feel a bit over tired and put time on. Then a day or two later the symptoms come out.
2. They are just plain tired – remember they all work hard at school, and particularly towards the end of term they can just feel a bit worn out. Remember how tired we get with work and how we look forward to our holidays.
3. They are growing – every time a child grows they slow down, partly because their body is utilising energy to grow (rather than putting it into swimming) and partly because they are a different size and they need to get used to this. Once they settle down their times get even faster than before. We just have to wait and be patient.
4. They hit puberty –this is a big one for boys and girls, but it particularly impacts on girls. With body shape changes and hormone changes they can be all over the place with their swimming. Again they just need time (and it can be months) to get used to these changes.
5. They just aren’t in the mood – let’s be honest, are we always raring to go when we get to work? No I thought not.
6. They are stressed out with exams – this is a big one. Things outside of swimming can have a huge impact, exams are just one example. Are they worried about something? This will impact on their concentration and focus.
So, what to do when swimmer parent rage grips you:
1. Take a deep breath.
2. Tell yourself that you couldn’t swim that event.
3. Think about all the things our children go through that could be impacting on their swimming.
4. Count to 10 (or 100 if you need to).
5. Always praise your swimmer, even if they have swum a stinker of a race – there is always something positive to say.
6. Remember they cannot be 100% perfect every swim – we aren’t so why should we expect them to be.
Finally, accept that swimmer parent rage exists. You will succumb at some point, but try not to!
By Anonymous @ Adwick

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