Supporting Swimmers at Competitions

Information from the ASA website

5 tips for supporting your child at swimming events

It’s completely normal to become emotional when supporting your child at swimming events. It shows you care, are involved in their life, and keen to share the pressure with them as they compete.

But when supporting your child at swimming events it’s important to be calm and supportive, rather than turning in to an overbearing “balcony ogre” once your child hits the water.

We know the pool balcony can be a stressful area. Hundreds of parents all desperate to communicate with their child mixed with the stifling sauna-like atmosphere of the pool. It’s not easy to keep calm.

However, no matter what happens, or how tense things get, it’s important that you maintain discipline, poise, confidence and control. Your kids will thank you for it and it’ll help them perform better.

Tips for supporting your child at swimming events

  1. Ask your child how they would like you to be. While few kids like a balcony ogre barking negative comments, they may want you in the front row of the balcony, whooping and cheering for them as they line up to race. On the other hand, they may find it a bit off-putting and anxiety inducing, and would rather you remained calm and quiet. So, tip one is ask first.
  2. Try to remember that although you’re sat within a crowd, your actions and words will still be noticed, most of all by your child. Think before you shout, and keep your body language, actions and your words positive.
  3. If you’re starting to feel any frustration, try taking slow, deep breaths to keep calm. If something’s gone particularly badly, try counting down from 100 in your head, to give you time to form a rational response.
  4. Try not to get sucked in to competing with other parents. Everyone wants their child to be the best – it’s natural. However, it’s your child’s sport, so try to just enjoy watching and be supportive. Leave the competitiveness to them. If you need to compete, join a Masters club and compete in the pool.
  5. If you’re feeling particularly annoyed with your child’s performance, or are struggling to keep your cool on the balcony, try adopting relaxation skills. Imagine a relaxing scene, repeating a calming phrase, or putting some headphones in with some chilled music on may all help you to keep relaxed. Try some visualisation exercises before the race. You can find out more about visualisation here.