Why We Need To Parent First When Talking With Our Young Athletes

Hi there, Mike Walker here from Gold Medal Swim School. You know I’m an owner of a swim school, a former coach, and most importantly, a parent just like you. One thing I’ve witnessed over the years and have experienced as a parent is how difficult it can be to talk to your child, your young athlete, about their sport.

You know what I’ve learned as a parent? I’ve learned that in my kids’ eyes, as a parent, I don’t know a whole lot. They think everyone else knows more about everything than I do.

The idea here is, regardless of how many years I’ve coached, how many years I’ve taught, my kids want me to be their parent first. This is something I’ve had to learn over the years and I want to express to you all. Your job, first and foremost, is to be your child’s parent.

When we do talk to our children about swimming or other sports, we have to keep it short. Keep it short and keep it positive. Look for what they are doing well, instead of what should be corrected. We want to build them up, not criticize them.

Have I mentioned, keep it short? If it’s been over 30 seconds and you’re starting to get the pull back, you’re starting to get the eye roll, you know it’s your cue. When I get the “Daaad” I realize I should have stopped about three or four sentences ago.

Remember these are young kids, they need you as a parent first. They need you to be their place where they feel supported and where you occasionally offer them a little bit of information. A little bit of information can go a long way.

Let’s focus on covering one topic, one point every time we talk to our kids. Even as a coach, when I talk to my athletes, if I can get one-point hit, a home run, I’m much better off than scattering 10 to 15 different concepts because the reality is they won’t remember it all anyway.

I know it’s tough. We love our kids, and we love our students here at Gold Medal Swim School. Keep it short, keep it on-topic, always remember what your primary role is, and, most of all, see the greatness in everything they bring. I’ll see you around the pool!

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