USA Swimming just posted a fantastic article:
I would recommend reading the whole article but in short, the message is loud and clear:
The thing is: Critiquing is not a parent’s job — at least when it comes to swimming. Critiquing is the coach’s job.
That’s why coaches exist.
For some of us (me) this is easy. My lack of knowledge about swimming is a plus, I have a very un-trained eye. I’m also an optimist by nature. Being an optimist is a good quality most of the time but we also tend to be missing a little of reality. I’m fortunate to be married to Mr. Reality Check. He keeps me on the straight and narrow.
It’s really hard for parents who know swimming not to critique (critique sounds so much nicer than criticize) their children’s performance. I would almost say it is impossible. It’s a challenge that many swim families are faced with.
Our family is a work in progress. I’m trying to be more realistic about their swimming. It’s not adorable when Sophie does butterfly kick during free sets at practice. Being sweet does not excuse sitting out a set. And cute gets you nothing. Swim dad is going to chose his words carefully. Delivery and execution of critique is going to be a huge factor at our house. But it is impossible for him to UN-see the things he sees. He knows what he is watching. It’s unrealistic to just watch every race in awe.
Regardless, every message that we deliver matters. The most important message is that we care. The coaches need to coach and we need to care.
Grace’s meet starts tomorrow. I’m going to time during her session. And take her to Chipotle when it is over. Smiling. And I hope she is too.