Written by Eric W., Making Waves Swim Instructor
Let’s say your child has mastered all the skills needed for a competitive swimming team and you have accommodated enough time into your schedule to allow them to join a team. They try out and succeed. Congratulations!!! Your child starts going to meets and practices and things seem to be going well, but over time he/she starts losing interest and motivation. I have had many conversations with parents who have experienced this and I always have the same explanation: “Swim teams must be fun, something must have happened that caused them to lose interest.
Your child must enjoy it. Like really, really enjoy it. Simple right? Maybe, or maybe not. Swim teams are not a natural “next step” for learning to swim. Swim classes should cover all the steps necessary for your child to become a safe swimmer! Imagine if you decided to run a marathon, would you really be able to train well if you didn’t enjoy it, even if only a little bit? You may know how to run well but participating in a marathon is not a natural next step from just running for fun. Even if your child loves the water they may not love swimming on a team. Most kids who thrive on teams are hardworking, energetic, and competitive by nature. Regardless, I always advise interested parents to research what is involved and to think hard about if it would be something their child would enjoy.
So, what do you do if your child starts to lose interest? From my experience, most kids who lose interest are getting overworked. This is what many coaches and swimmers call “burnout.” My number one recommendation is to try switching teams. Try a team that practices less often or strenuously. It is always a shame to see a swimmer lose interest in the sport because they just get tired of being tired. Personality conflicts with the coaches or other swimmers tend to be rarer, in my experience, but can happen and switching teams will help alleviate this as well. A good team and coach will challenge your child while providing a positive atmosphere. It may take a few tries to find a team that works best for you and your child.
Finally, if your child is still losing interest in competitive swimming, it is time to try some other sports. Still want your child to do something with swimming? No problem! There are so many other water sports to pick from. Competitive diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, and even scuba diving! Did you know underwater hockey is a real sport? (I only found out about that one a few years ago.) Competitive swimming is the most common and easiest to find but there are certainly many more options.
It’s evident, swim teams are A LOT of work. While they are not a necessary part of your child’s progression in learning to swim, joining a swim team will put your child in the company of other kids who also love the water. The bonds they form while on a team can last a lifetime. It also gives your child excellent reason to practice and perfect a sport that they love. Hard work and dedication pay out huge on a swim team. An ideal team and the coaches that work for them will be able to take all that hard work and camaraderie and make it a truly unforgettable experience for your child.
Swim Safe. Swim Fast. Have Fun!
Mr. Eric W.
Making Waves Swim School Instructor