Blog guest: Nebojša Đurkin
Updated: Apr 1
Nebojša Đurkin is one of the best Serbian young coaches, with years of coaching experience. He is currently living and working as a coach in the MSC club in Dubai, and as a #Blog guest for Swimming Dad is sharing with us: the role a parent has in the swimming process based on his own experience, how we can help our kids to adapt to the water in the easiest possible way and the role of a parent as an ally in the teenage phase.
Isn’t it obvious that a parent and a coach should be partners and that each side should know their role? From your experience, what is the role of a parent in the swimming process?
In the process of acquiring the swimming knowledge and any other type of knowledge at any level, the role of parents is of key importance. From my personal experience, my parents were always involved in my sport and academic life as a support. But only within the part which belongs to the parents, which is to make a schedule of my school and sport obligations, to make sure that I get to a training on time, that I have the necessary equipment for my training and, as the most important thing, to make sure that I enjoy the thing I do, and that was swimming. Parents were always there, and they were fully informed about the process of training and competing, but they never meddled in the professional work of the coach, and never dared to do so actually, since they were not swimming experts.
It was mostly dad who was in charge of my psychological preparation, trying to help me with his tips to overcome the fear and to deal with the pressure before a competition. I remember that my dad would always come up with the tips like “you have to give it a push to your legs, that’re your engine, the same one a speed boat has on the back.” He would never go any further than this, even though I use that phrase today when I teach children and I think it’s cool.
In my case, my parents were always there to make positive comments, they never criticized me, and they were a genuine support, which is the point. Even today, as a coach, I give my best to engage parents in the swimming process of my swimmers so that they could participate to some degree, to be there, but then again to know how far they can go, where my role begins and where their role ends.
How can parents help their children to learn to swim and adapt to the water?
As I’ve said, everything starts from parents, they guide and help their children to choose a sport or school or any other activity. Parents are always there to give support and be a source of trust. It is universally known that through parents, children begin to trust the coach. That is why the triangle made of a child/athlete, parents and a coach has to be good, for the benefit of all.
As a young father of two and as a swim couch, I’m thinking of how that first swimming experience and the first contact with the water should start.
I think that the best way is to start from the earliest age, at the age of one year, with baby swim lessons organised by the swim instructors trained for this job, and in the setting which babies find comfortable. The key to everything is actually that the parents are present in the process of adapting, learning, and the entire sport/swimming development. Later, it all gets much easier until the child decides to be a swimmer.
Being a coach to your child is not an easy task, and I don’t want to do that, but what I can do is to be a positive support and choose the teacher/coach for my child, who has high moral and professional qualities and who love his/her job.
Swimming “educates” your child and is an ally to parents in the teenage moments. How?
I think it is true, but there are also exceptions. From my experience, swimming has made me the person I am today, and it defined my life. In a critical period of life, such as the teenage period when children grow a resistance to their parents, since they take them as a criticism, and when the social criteria prevail, swimming is the thing which kept me on my track, on my right path. At that time, I was growing up with the people who also swam with me in my team, so my environment was healthy, with good standards. Our priority at that time was sport and school, and we also spent our free time together, we were a team both in and out of the pool, supporting each other in everything. We are still friends.
I believe that my parents never had any worries since they knew the people I would spend my time with. I would like to have the same thing with my children in the future.
As a coach, my priority is to have a positive impact on the development of children/youth to become ready for an independent life and for making decisions about good and bad things in life. One of the ways to do it is through sport, and in my case, it is swimming. Looking back at the generations I trained, I can say that I’m proud of them all, because they all have become wonderful young people, ready for the challenges the life brings.
See Coach Nesa’s Swim journey continue by visiting www.mysportsacademydubai.com and follow them on Instagram : @mysportsacademydubai