As with most weekends for the year, you have a pretty large chance to find Team Bedalov at a Swimming Pool or at the Soccer Pitch. This weekend we were at the pool.
And as most of you know there is fine line between the role of parent and the role of coach. And the good news is that I get to do that for both kids now. Granted, the younger one is only one day a week, the impact is still present each time either one of them races.
This weekend was no exception.
For me personally, when I am NOT coaching at one of their meets, I do all of my coaching while the race is going on in mumbling to myself or in incoherent sentences to my wife whom does a great job of pretending to understand what I am referring. But once the race is over I try to have the kids go to their respective coach and get that feedback their first. Days like yesterday, I am not the coach. I only offer opinions to support what the coaching staff told the kids.
That is because my job as a Parent is to be supportive, to encourage, to foster an environment that is nurturing in the good and bad.
Both sports have so many positives about them. But the ones in swimming are so much more evident on a daily, weekly, monthly, lifetime basis.
Even if we skip over the positive physical results both short and long term, the leadership, the teamwork, the motivation, the goal setting, the disappointment of making a best time but yet missing a cut time at the same moment and how to deal with it, the sheer dedication to becoming better each day, the overcoming of fears of swimming events you never swam before, sacrifice of spending free time sleeping, work ethic showing that hard work produces results….swimming is still a great sport!
But I worry about the parents who are looking at the short term instant gratification about making that state cut. Who show their disappointment when the Clock does not Lie.
The kid leaves their heart in the pool, and but because some set of time standards were created as a way to separate the masses, the parents are upset. And they visible show their “disgust” for others to see. For me it is hard to watch.
I have one child that has been fortunate enough to be blessed with swim talent and used it to achieve 1 State Cut. The day she made the cut time I did not even know she made it. I did not even know it until later when the Head Coach told her. I was just excited to see her get faster because she was using the tools and access to the coaches to her benefit.
I have one child that works his tail off, but is still far away from just getting a BB Cut. (that is the 2nd lowest standard of times). He dropped time in 4 of his 7 events, tried a new event, but you could see the disappointment in his face for not making a time. That is when I had to switch into dual role of Parent/Coach. We talked about that this was our first real full summer, and we then talked that our goal should be a little further down the road instead of immediate. We talked about that our goal should be ready to do some damage once HS starts.
Swimming fast now has no link to long term success in the sport.
Swimming slower now has no link to long term failure in the sport.
All athletes progress and excel in different part of their swimming life cycle.
When you become dependent on the clock and not on the process of getting better things start to tumble out of control. We need to stay process driven to succeed, not outcome based.