"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by aslee » Wed, 14 Jan 1998 04:00:00


        (excerpted from Swimming World, February, 1997)

        Recent discussion in this newsgroup has suggested that pushy
parents are a big reason why so many age-groupers quit swimming.  I
must demur.  In fact, I suspect lack of parental support is a much
more prevalent, but unstated, reason why kids quit.  Regardless,
U.S.S. commisioned a study last year, and, for what it's worth, it
found these reasons for young swimmers quitting:

        1.  Time
        2.  Negative coach
        3.  Other sports/activities
        4.  Boring
        5.  Conflicted with school
        6.  Not fun

        These apocryphal tales of "Little League Parents" are not
supported by the data, nor are they supported by my observations of
parents at swim practices and meets.  Our team has only a few parents
show up for each practice, and they are there for the very young
age-groupers, or they are parents of new swimmers.  I am quite
disappointed that more parents don't show up for swimmers of all ages,
but particularly the ***agers.  Contrary to the views of some
coaches, I think every parent should spend a few hours each week
watching their child slog through an 8,000 yard workout!  

        Competitive swimming is very hard work.  We should not be
surprised if large numbers of children drop out.  But, if parents
and/or coaches can give their kids the basic strokes and some
confidence in their abilities, we will have given them skills that may
save their lives and will certainly enrich their lives.

        If your child is a competitive swimmer, and you want the child
to continue, then strong parental support will go a long way toward
keeping your child in swimming.  In particular, fathers need to show
up more.  Take half a day of annual leave occasionally and watch
practice.  I don't EVER want to hear the excuses about missing meets!!
:) -zzzzzz

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by J Lazzar » Wed, 14 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Personally I quit because it was never fun for me. My mom and coach would
actually drag me kicking and crying to the blocks!
I swam   basically  from birth and started competing at 5 against 11 year
old  children and even  though I did very well (state, regional and
sectional)  it was "win,win,win" and "In this family we do thing well or
not at all!" no one ever bothered to ask if I wanted to do it. You think
they would have realized it from the screaming!
But I think now I wish the had keep me in it longer.
Jessee



Quote:
>    (excerpted from Swimming World, February, 1997)

>    Recent discussion in this newsgroup has suggested that pushy
> parents are a big reason why so many age-groupers quit swimming.  I
> must demur.  In fact, I suspect lack of parental support is a much
> more prevalent, but unstated, reason why kids quit.  Regardless,
> U.S.S. commisioned a study last year, and, for what it's worth, it
> found these reasons for young swimmers quitting:

>    1.  Time
>    2.  Negative coach
>    3.  Other sports/activities
>    4.  Boring
>    5.  Conflicted with school
>    6.  Not fun

>    These apocryphal tales of "Little League Parents" are not
> supported by the data, nor are they supported by my observations of
> parents at swim practices and meets.  Our team has only a few parents
> show up for each practice, and they are there for the very young
> age-groupers, or they are parents of new swimmers.  I am quite
> disappointed that more parents don't show up for swimmers of all ages,
> but particularly the ***agers.  Contrary to the views of some
> coaches, I think every parent should spend a few hours each week
> watching their child slog through an 8,000 yard workout!  

>    Competitive swimming is very hard work.  We should not be
> surprised if large numbers of children drop out.  But, if parents
> and/or coaches can give their kids the basic strokes and some
> confidence in their abilities, we will have given them skills that may
> save their lives and will certainly enrich their lives.

>    If your child is a competitive swimmer, and you want the child
> to continue, then strong parental support will go a long way toward
> keeping your child in swimming.  In particular, fathers need to show
> up more.  Take half a day of annual leave occasionally and watch
> practice.  I don't EVER want to hear the excuses about missing meets!!
> :) -zzzzzz


 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Janet » Wed, 14 Jan 1998 04:00:00

<<<If your child is a competitive swimmer, and you want the child
to continue, then strong parental support will go a long way toward
keeping your child in swimming.  In particular, fathers need to show
up more.  Take half a day of annual leave occasionally and watch
practice.  I don't EVER want to hear the excuses about missing meets!!>>>

Yes! Please do! It feels so good to have your parents come to your meets and
tell you how proud they are, etc, etc. I'm 16 and my parents are completely
uninvolved in swimming- they don't come to practices or meets, and I've usually
been responsible for finding my own rides. (Having a license is the greatest!)
I also have been paying my own team fees for the past three years.  It's not
really a problem for me since I've always been pretty independent, but when I
managed to get my whole family to my championship meet it was really special.
I have a lot of friends who only swim because their parents make them. I don't
think that kind of support is good- if your kid doesn't want to swim, I don't
think you should make them. But being involved in your children's swimming is a
very good thing, IMHO. Even if you can't be there for meets or practices, you
could ask how practice was or something.

-Janet

"It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that
matters, in the end." -Ursula K. Leguin

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Doug Gillia » Wed, 14 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> <<<If your child is a competitive swimmer, and you want the child
> to continue, then strong parental support will go a long way toward
> keeping your child in swimming.  In particular, fathers need to show
> up more.  Take half a day of annual leave occasionally and watch
> practice.  I don't EVER want to hear the excuses about missing meets!!>>>

> Yes! Please do! It feels so good to have your parents come to your meets and
> tell you how proud they are, etc, etc. I'm 16 and my parents are completely
> uninvolved in swimming- they don't come to practices or meets, and I've usually
> been responsible for finding my own rides. (Having a license is the greatest!)
> I also have been paying my own team fees for the past three years.  It's not
> really a problem for me since I've always been pretty independent, but when I
> managed to get my whole family to my championship meet it was really special.
> I have a lot of friends who only swim because their parents make them. I don't
> think that kind of support is good- if your kid doesn't want to swim, I don't
> think you should make them. But being involved in your children's swimming is a
> very good thing, IMHO. Even if you can't be there for meets or practices, you
> could ask how practice was or something.

Janet,

I'm a parent of two USS swimmers (son 18 yrs. and daughter 16 yrs.) who
have been swimming for about 7 years now.  My wife and I have been very
involved during this time including assisting in running the team
including running meets and fundraising/etc.  Also, we have both
attended almost every meet from summer league to state and regional
championships.

I think young swimmers quit for many reasons including too much or too
little involvement from parents and many other reasons such as other
interests and burnout/etc. Your comment above "in particular, fathers
need to show up more" really caught my attention so I want to discuss
this particular topic.

Why is it that fathers don't show up more??????  I don't get it ... I'm
a father and I won't miss a meet unless I absolutely have to.  However,
there are many (actually most) fathers on our team that hardly ever show
up .... especially for out-of-town meets.  It's not uncommon for me to
be at an out of town meet with 10 mothers and no fathers.

Now, if their kids were playing football or basketball I'll bet the
fathers would be there.  For some reason, many men don't really consider
swimming to be a sport that is on par with other sports .... like it's a
*** sport or a girls sport or something ... I don't really know.

Personally, I believe swimming is much more rigorous than most sports
including football and especially baseball.  The top swimmers on our
team are in much better condition and work harder than most athletes
from other sports.  Why is it that not even the fathers will give them
their due?  If the fathers won't, how can we expect others to?  

I would be interested in others comments related to why most fathers
don't seem to care about their kids swimming.  I don't get it.  Why oh
why oh why don't many fathers go to meets/etc.?

Doug Gilliam

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

> -Janet

> "It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that
> matters, in the end." -Ursula K. Leguin

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by aslee » Wed, 14 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Doug and JanetRL:  You make better arguments than the one I
propounded. I agree wholeheartedly.  One other point, though.  Some
men think young children should be shepherded everywhere by their
wives.  I feel very sorry for these "males" who are missing the most
important part of their children's lives.  Also, I think men who were
very athletic tend to be the most supportive (and, perhaps a little
over the top at times).-zzzzz
On Tue, 13 Jan 1998 17:37:06 -0500, Doug Gilliam

Quote:


>> <<<If your child is a competitive swimmer, and you want the child
>> to continue, then strong parental support will go a long way toward
>> keeping your child in swimming.  In particular, fathers need to show
>> up more.  Take half a day of annual leave occasionally and watch
>> practice.  I don't EVER want to hear the excuses about missing meets!!>>>

>> Yes! Please do! It feels so good to have your parents come to your meets and
>> tell you how proud they are, etc, etc. I'm 16 and my parents are completely
>> uninvolved in swimming- they don't come to practices or meets, and I've usually
>> been responsible for finding my own rides. (Having a license is the greatest!)
>> I also have been paying my own team fees for the past three years.  It's not
>> really a problem for me since I've always been pretty independent, but when I
>> managed to get my whole family to my championship meet it was really special.
>> I have a lot of friends who only swim because their parents make them. I don't
>> think that kind of support is good- if your kid doesn't want to swim, I don't
>> think you should make them. But being involved in your children's swimming is a
>> very good thing, IMHO. Even if you can't be there for meets or practices, you
>> could ask how practice was or something.

>Janet,

>I'm a parent of two USS swimmers (son 18 yrs. and daughter 16 yrs.) who
>have been swimming for about 7 years now.  My wife and I have been very
>involved during this time including assisting in running the team
>including running meets and fundraising/etc.  Also, we have both
>attended almost every meet from summer league to state and regional
>championships.

>I think young swimmers quit for many reasons including too much or too
>little involvement from parents and many other reasons such as other
>interests and burnout/etc. Your comment above "in particular, fathers
>need to show up more" really caught my attention so I want to discuss
>this particular topic.

>Why is it that fathers don't show up more??????  I don't get it ... I'm
>a father and I won't miss a meet unless I absolutely have to.  However,
>there are many (actually most) fathers on our team that hardly ever show
>up .... especially for out-of-town meets.  It's not uncommon for me to
>be at an out of town meet with 10 mothers and no fathers.

>Now, if their kids were playing football or basketball I'll bet the
>fathers would be there.  For some reason, many men don't really consider
>swimming to be a sport that is on par with other sports .... like it's a
>*** sport or a girls sport or something ... I don't really know.

>Personally, I believe swimming is much more rigorous than most sports
>including football and especially baseball.  The top swimmers on our
>team are in much better condition and work harder than most athletes
>from other sports.  Why is it that not even the fathers will give them
>their due?  If the fathers won't, how can we expect others to?  

>I would be interested in others comments related to why most fathers
>don't seem to care about their kids swimming.  I don't get it.  Why oh
>why oh why don't many fathers go to meets/etc.?

>Doug Gilliam

>> -Janet

>> "It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that
>> matters, in the end." -Ursula K. Leguin

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Lorenzo » Thu, 15 Jan 1998 04:00:00

i don't agree that a swimmer will quit because of lack of attention of
parents....my wife and more so myself are quite active in my son's and
daughter's swimming,both school and USS, attending all meets and a very
few practices. We have friends that never come to either and their kids
have been swimming for years and will be because they are quite
successful. Their parents probably are inquisitive about their progress
at home but don't see the importance of attending the kids competition
except when the big chips fall.
during 18 years of aquatic and other youth sports with four kids, i feel
that more kids quit because of lack of success and thus moving on to
other things than anything else. I have seen lots that quit because of
excessive pressure from the know it all, negative, and ever present
parent.

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by donnch » Thu, 15 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>i don't agree that a swimmer will quit because of lack of attention of
>parents
>Their parents probably are inquisitive about their progress
>at home but don't see the importance of attending the kids competition
>except when the big chips fall.
>during 18 years of aquatic and other youth sports with four kids, i feel
>that more kids quit because of lack of success and thus moving on to
>other things than anything else.

I agree. I have seen two or three swimmers quit in the last few months and
in all cases it has been because they are not getting the rewards to justify
getting up a 5am and doing the amount of training that is required of a
competitive swimmer. They end up missing out on "normal" life with their
friends and they just decide that enough is enough.

swim clean,
donncha
_______________________________________________________________________
swim    - WebSwim - http://www.webswim.com/
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object  - to spam - to reply, perform necessary change to email address
_______________________________________________________________________

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Lorenzo » Thu, 15 Jan 1998 04:00:00

i think that it is what the father wants to do with his time has more
importance than the sport....but the length and type of sport does has
an effect on attendance....for instance we don't have much problem
seeing fathers at water polo games, they are an hour scheduled and
exciting.....but swimming is all day, relatively unscheduled, and let's
face it somewhat boring....i know that i want the memories, i want to
raise my kids, and i trade off my work, my recreation, and my sleep as a
result....i thank God that i have the ability to do so.....as to other
fathers i have a good time with their children as well and have pleasent
memories of them also....Thanks

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by aslee » Thu, 15 Jan 1998 04:00:00

I agree that plenty of swimmers quit because they are not making
progress.  However, they seem to be very reluctant to admit it.  (See
the previously referred to Feb. 97, Swimming World article)  For this,
and other reasons, I think the U.S.S. study was poorly designed and
implemented.  I do not agree that lots of kids are quitting because of
the high pressure tactics of their parents.  That is a myth that dies
hard.  I have seen parents chastise a child for swimming 1:30 for a
hundred free when the kid has swum 1:05 and the team was relying on
him or her.  Although I may not have agreed with the chastisment, I
think ALL parents have these momentary lapses.  But I have not seen it
done on a regular basis.  Perhaps the people who post these myths
would like to give us the names, addresses and phone numbers of the
parents who allegedly acted like "Little League Parents".   I'd like
to see a real discussion with real facts. -zzzzz

On Wed, 14 Jan 1998 15:24:04 -0000, "donncha"

Quote:


>>i don't agree that a swimmer will quit because of lack of attention of
>>parents

>>Their parents probably are inquisitive about their progress
>>at home but don't see the importance of attending the kids competition
>>except when the big chips fall.

>>during 18 years of aquatic and other youth sports with four kids, i feel
>>that more kids quit because of lack of success and thus moving on to
>>other things than anything else.

>I agree. I have seen two or three swimmers quit in the last few months and
>in all cases it has been because they are not getting the rewards to justify
>getting up a 5am and doing the amount of training that is required of a
>competitive swimmer. They end up missing out on "normal" life with their
>friends and they just decide that enough is enough.

>swim clean,
>donncha
>_______________________________________________________________________
>swim    - WebSwim - http://www.webswim.com/
>support - fast women in Formula One - http://www.sarah.org/
>develop - crypto stuff - http://www.baltimore.ie/
>object  - to spam - to reply, perform necessary change to email address
>_______________________________________________________________________

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Kathy Henr » Thu, 15 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
> I have seen "Little League Parents".  I can think of at least two examples.
> One mother stood behind the official timers at every meet and couldn't
> understand why our times were never as fast as the one on her stopwatch.  She
> pushed her daughter so hard in both swimming and ice skating that the little
> girl was seen crying in the locker room at the pool saying that she didn't want
> to swim at that meet.  She would go out of town to a meet and on that same day
> be driven home to swim at the park team meet, and then turn around and go back
> to the out of town meet.  I will never forget the time I saw this girl on the
> ice with wet hair.  I asked her mother if the girl could really manage both
> with out exhausting herself, her mother told me that she loved it.  I haven't
> seen this girl lately so I don't know whether or not she is in either sport
> anymore.  The other mother that I know took her daughter (age 8) off a team the
> girl had been with for abouut three years.  The girl liked the coach and the
> assistant coaches.  The mother didn't think that the girl was improving her
> times or winning her heats often enough, so she moved her to a more intense and
> highly competitive team.  I expect to see them this weekend at a local meet, I
> am very interested to see how this girl is doing.  I can see how easy it is to
> fall into the "Stage Mother", "Little League Mother" trap.  I almost switched
> my daughter until I talked to the coach and my daughter.  I am very happy to
> have stayed.  My daughter is enjoying herself, her times almost always improve
> a little, and she wants to go to practice.  I want her enjoy herself so that
> she can continue in this sport for her lifetime if she wants too.

Kathy Henry
 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Janet » Thu, 15 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
>i don't agree that a swimmer will quit because of lack of attention >of

parents
You're right, if a swimmer really loves to swim they will do it whether or not
their parents support it.  But parental attention and support is valuable
anyway, especially when a swimmer isn't making the kind of progress they'd like
to.

<snip>

Quote:
> more kids quit because of lack of success and thus moving on to
>other things than anything else.

True also, which is why parental support is especially important when the
successes aren't happening.

I guess I'm just weird. My parents don't like me to swim (better I should spend
more time on schoolwork) and I'm not terribly sucessful, but I wouldn't think
of giving it up. Calculus, on the other hand....   ;)

-Janet

"It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that
matters, in the end." -Ursula K. Leguin

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by aslee » Thu, 15 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Kathy: That's an interesting story, concocted from momentary
observations of one mother.  I would like to hear the mother'sside of
the story. But especially, I'd like hear the daughter's side!!. Yes,
parents like this mother do exist but they are EXTREMELY RARE.  To set
U.S.S. policy or implement programs based upon such rare examples
would be a bad use of limited resources.  I think JanetRL has her head
screwed on in the forward position and hurray for all those kids who
swim without parental support.-zzzzz
On Wed, 14 Jan 1998 14:27:39 -0600, Kathy Henry

Quote:

>> I have seen "Little League Parents".  I can think of at least two examples.
>> One mother stood behind the official timers at every meet and couldn't
>> understand why our times were never as fast as the one on her stopwatch.  She
>> pushed her daughter so hard in both swimming and ice skating that the little
>> girl was seen crying in the locker room at the pool saying that she didn't want
>> to swim at that meet.  She would go out of town to a meet and on that same day
>> be driven home to swim at the park team meet, and then turn around and go back
>> to the out of town meet.  I will never forget the time I saw this girl on the
>> ice with wet hair.  I asked her mother if the girl could really manage both
>> with out exhausting herself, her mother told me that she loved it.  I haven't
>> seen this girl lately so I don't know whether or not she is in either sport
>> anymore.  The other mother that I know took her daughter (age 8) off a team the
>> girl had been with for abouut three years.  The girl liked the coach and the
>> assistant coaches.  The mother didn't think that the girl was improving her
>> times or winning her heats often enough, so she moved her to a more intense and
>> highly competitive team.  I expect to see them this weekend at a local meet, I
>> am very interested to see how this girl is doing.  I can see how easy it is to
>> fall into the "Stage Mother", "Little League Mother" trap.  I almost switched
>> my daughter until I talked to the coach and my daughter.  I am very happy to
>> have stayed.  My daughter is enjoying herself, her times almost always improve
>> a little, and she wants to go to practice.  I want her enjoy herself so that
>> she can continue in this sport for her lifetime if she wants too.

>Kathy Henry

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Janet » Fri, 16 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
>I think JanetRL has her head<BR>
>screwed on in the forward position

I hope so!  :-)

Thanks to all of you for making this NG worthwhile. It's great to see something
other than all the insult and nationalist postings.

-Janet

"It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that
matters, in the end." -Ursula K. Leguin

 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by C » Sun, 18 Jan 1998 04:00:00


I just happened upon this group, and am amazed (and yet not
surprised...are they mutually exclusive?) at this thread.

Here's  $.02 from one of those Swimmers Who Quit:

I swam competitively from the age of eight to 18.  From the ages of 10 to
14, I swam AAU (it's called 'US' now?) in New England.  Swimming was a
huge part of my life then, so it really brought back memories to read the
posts in this thread.  When I think about the reasons why I quit, I guess
I wasn't the only one with the same sentiments:

[much snipping]

Quote:
> U.S.S. commisioned a study last year, and, for what it's worth, it
> found these reasons for young swimmers quitting:

>         1.  Time

Right on.  Two hours in the morning before school or two hours at night.
Some kids did both.  Ugh.  Weekend-long swim meets, sometimes one hour+
drive away...waiting all day to swim your 1-3 events, spending a grand
total of maybe 3 minutes in the water...  Made the 1,650 seem quite
rewarding when you did it.  :-)

Quote:
>         2.  Negative coach

Absolutely.  A negative attitude and a lousy personality can go a long way
in wiping out the good work your other coaches have done.  I had one coach
for a while who was a complete ass.  At practices, he coached and acted
like a jerk.  At meets, he coached (poorly), acted like a jerk, and
peddled swim suits.  Loser.

 >         3.  Other sports/activities

Unless your kid is a complete fanatic, (I wasn't, at the end) let him/her
try other things.  Be wary of the fact that your son or daughter may be
reluctant to tell you they aren't into swimming that much because they're
afraid you won't understand.

Quote:
>         4.  Boring

To tears.  See #1.  I must add, however, that this applied only to my AAU
experience.  Rec. and High School swimming can be an absolute blast.  The
meets are short (measured in hours, not days) and the competition is
fierce, especially when the score is close.

Quote:
>         5.  Conflicted with school

My mother and father became quite alarmed when they realized that some
other parents were doing the kids' homework for them while they
practiced.  Distinct warning sign, that.

Quote:
>         6.  Not fun

Yes.  For the amount of work put in, it just wasn't rewarding enough.  See
all of the above.
 
 
 

"Why Do Young Swimmers Quit"

Post by Lorenzo » Sun, 18 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Sounds like the reason most people quit there jobs. Like I said most of those
that quit swimming, soccer, football, etc. have simialr stories and most
because they are not as successful as they want and move on to new interests.

Quote:
> Yes.  For the amount of work put in, it just wasn't rewarding enough.  See
> all of the above.