You might notice at the pool that some parents stay during practice while others leave. While not every team has a set rule regarding this, most coaches would say that you shouldn’t stay at your child’s swim practice.
And for that matter, some swimmers (to include your own) would also prefer if you didn’t stay!
Undecided or stuck on the fence? Here are five reasons why you should skip your child’s next swim practice.
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Helps Your Child Develop Certain Skills
Part of learning and participating in a sport is learning responsibility for oneself, teamwork, and even independence. These skills are better learned in practice when parents aren’t around. In part because you as the parent aren’t there to offer assistance.
It’s just your child, the team, and the coach. And they have to learn how to navigate the various components of practice on their own.
Related article: How Can I be a Good Swim Parent?
We know. It sounds terrifying to leave your child and not stay at practice. But doing so helps build their courage and self-confidence at the same time. When you don’t stay at swim practice, it shows them what they can do on their own.
Can you stay for the first few practices to ensure your child has a good transition to the team? Of course! But if you can, we recommend that you don’t make it a habit.
Remember that a team can help build up a child’s confidence. If you’re always there and not letting them experience something on their own, they’ll never be independent and ready to face the world.
Can Make Other Swimmers Uncomfortable
This probably seems like a stretch to you, but it’s an honest reason as to why shouldn’t stay at your child’s swim practice. Some swimmers get anxious when parents sit and watch them on deck. Especially if you’re the type of parent who makes comments about other swimmers.
Related article: Rudest Things Parents can do at Swim Practice
Amongst swimmers, there’s a feeling that some parents are silently watching and judging them during practice. Especially if your child is faster than others on the team.
While this might not be true for all parents, it’s still a thought that tends to run through some swimmer’s minds. And it’s enough to cause a bit of a distraction at practice.
And if your child is slower, some parents have been known to video other swimmers to help study their technique.
While in theory, this sounds like a good idea, it’s bad swim practice etiquette for parents. Because in some cases, you’re recording someone underage. And some parents will take offense to that.
Lastly, staying at your child’s swim practice can make your child uncomfortable, too.
They might feel like you’re comparing them to other swimmers. Or trying to find a way to ‘fix’ their stroke or berate them for not doing well that day.
Let’s face it, swim practice can be boring for parents. And it can be boring for swimmers at times, too!
And it’s one of the reasons you shouldn’t stay at your child’s swim practice.
For at least an hour or so, you’re stuck at the pool watching swimmers complete laps. And some of the time, you have very little interaction with other people based on the parents that are there.
Some parents can pass the time by doing various things at swim practice. Such as playing on their phone, reading a book, or doing something else to keep themselves otherwise entertained.
But when the smell of chlorine is strong and the seats are uncomfortable, it can get old quickly. Even with the phone or something else to entertain you.
Be Productive Elsewhere
Our biggest reason as to why you shouldn’t stay at your child’s swim practice? You can be productive elsewhere!
When you stay at your child’s swim practice, you can’t do too much. Instead, drop your child off and go finish some errands. Or go to the gym yourself and get in a workout!
Related article: 8 Things to Do During Your Child’s Swim Practice
You might find that you can accomplish more things during swim practice than you realize. And it beats sitting around for 1-2 hours on a hard chair!
It’s a Team Rule
Lastly, you might not get a choice in the matter. Some teams don’t allow parents on deck during practice. If this is the case, it’s something you’ll have to understand and accept.
Yes, you can ask the reason as to why. But ultimately, you’ll have to respect that it is part of the team’s culture. You can either accept that or look for a different team.
Related article: What to Look for in a Swim Team
However, before you go looking for a new team, we encourage you to consider if this is a deal-breaker. The coaches ask that you don’t stay for several reasons. None of which are meant to harm you or your child.
Rather, it’s because they know what works best for your child and the team. And ultimately, you. Parents and swimmers can learn and grow while apart from each other. It teaches independence on both ends. Plus, a little time for yourself isn’t always a bad thing. 🙂
COVID-19 Update: We will state that most teams are not allowing parents on deck or in the pool area during practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask that you respect the team’s request because for some teams, it’s the only way they can get permission to train in the facilities.
As always, to happy swimming!
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Chevron is a current competitive swimmer with almost 20 years of experience in the pool. And although she fell into the sport by accident in her high school years, she still trains daily and competes throughout the year. She’s committed to providing guidance to all levels of swimmers and believes that everyone should know how to swim.