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Blog guest: Željko Panić


Why is there an evaluation before enrolling in a swimming school? How do parents react to the results announced by the coach? Explanation of this is given for the Swimming Dad by our #Blog guest, Željko Panić, a former national team swimmer of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a participant of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and 2004 Olympics in Athens in the 100m freestyle. After his swimming career, Željko devoted himself to coaching and working with children. Today, he is working for United Nations and as a Sport Director of the SC "Borac" in Banja Luka.

1. Why is the evaluation before enrolling in a swimming school important?

It is essential! To know a student’s skills level, it is necessary for him/her to be evaluated first. The first evaluation helps us check if the child is afraid of water, and if he/she is afraid to put his/her head underwater. If the child is afraid to do that, it is a scary circumstance for the child, but also for the coach in the training process. In spite of this, the child can easily, with a proper approach, learn how to swim, but it might take a bit of patience and time.

2. How do parents and children react when you tell them the results? Do they accept them or do they pretend to be coaches themselves?

We are all different and we need to have that in mind. Once we accept the differences, we will more easily reach the final goal. There’re different types of parents, those who don’t know how to behave in such situations, so with their best intention they make mistakes in addressing their child, but there are also those who want to reprimand their children deliberately since they didn’t meet their expectations. This was the reason why I wrote a Handbook of Swimmer’s Parents’ Behaviour which serves as a guide towards better interpersonal relationships.

3. When you have a dilemma about enrolling a child in one of two levels, is it better for a child to be enrolled in a lower or a higher level?

It all depends on the situation. The point is that the coach must be competent (a pedagogue, a psychologist, a teacher, a friend..). When he is an all-round coach, experienced enough, he will rarely make mistakes. It is sometimes necessary to make a child go down a level , in order to make better progress in the future, and sometimes it’s vice-verse, because of the motivation. It all depends on the coach’s ability to assess the situation well.


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