Who is teaching who how to swim?
I was wondering… would you really dare, or have courage, to take your child to a GP, dentist or ophthalmologist, or even better, you go and see your cardiologist, physiotherapist, or dermatologist, and start explaining to him/her how he/she should examine you or your child, which methods to use, what medicines and therapy to prescribe? I believe most of us wouldn’t, as if you would, then you would rather cure yourself on your own or become a specialist doctor… However, there are always those who assume the right to, apart from being a parent, obtain a fictional “degree” and become a GP, maths or violin teacher, football or volleyball coach, or a swimming instructor… I can’t help but wonder, how on earth did they manage to obtain all those professional degrees?
I know that each parent, I am one as well, wants the best for his/her child. However… There are certain limits where the parents need to remain just parents, sit on a bench, enjoy, observe, and cheer or bite their nails for their children. They should never start shouting at the children or “coach” both them and their instructors.
The question for all us parents might be: Why do we sometimes tend to turn our child’s hobby into our own ambition? Not all children are ready for those big “jumps”… therefore, you should never make them go beyond their own limitations, no matter what the cause is. Parents who stay “lurking” above their children’s heads during a training or a lesson, most of the times generate a reverse effect. Instead of their children loving what they do, or train, they start having a negative attitude towards those activities. Some children are even feeling nervous while being observed by their parents. That’s why you should go for a walk knowing that your child is in good hands. Of course, unless your child insists on you staying for the training lesson and watching him/her.
I am the first one to argue that each child should try and train some sport, start developing good and healthy habits. Also, they should learn never to give up, especially not after the first failure. If we allow them to do so, they will always try to find an easy way around! On the other hand, I am definitely not supporting the idea of looking at your three, five or ten-year olds as professional swimmers and expect top results from them, fantasise about the
Olympic Games. Believe me, there are many of those parents!
Even though I am both a parent and a swimming coach, it would be very difficult to imagine myself “pushing” my children to become swimmers, just because I used to be one, or I wish I had been, or because that is what I do (if I start doing this then please do remind me what I’ve said here! ). My kids are currently just enjoying being in the water, because I made sure to introduce it as something pleasant. They learned that water is a fun game for them. Sometimes it happens during a swimming lesson that my little shark decides to get out of the swimming pool just after 10 mins… He doesn’t want to swim any more… or he is tired, or feels cold… or for some other reason Hi is simply not enjoying it. But most of the times he would stay inside for more than an hour.
At that age, but later as well, children should be having fun, because it is the best way for them to learn basic swimming techniques. There is really no point in taking your child for a swimming lesson at the age of 7 and expecting him/her to become the next Cavic, Phelps, Higl or Pellegrini… The main point of each training is for a child to learn how to swim, something new, but also it is an opportunity to make new friends, maybe even for life.
Yes, I would definitely say that each child should learn how to swim, but above everything to enjoy, have fun, and get in and out of the water with a smile on his/her face, both happy and relaxed. I am sure after that he/she would gladly come to the next swimming lesson. Maybe he/she would even win a medal or two, but only if he/she wants that, not his/her mum or dad!
That’s why it is important for both a parent and a coach to become partners, where each of us plays our own part.