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As a swim club we are continually asked 2 things by parents:
1) why wasn't little Johnny selected for a team gala
2) Why don't we have more 'novice events' so more swimmers get a chance to compete.
With this in mind we have entered 2 teams in our Junior League this year, 2 teams in the senior league (both with stated aims of ensuring as many as possible from the club get a chance to swim in 'no pressure' environments. In addition we have entered teams in 2 'novice' taster type galas based on lines similar to the junior league. We have 200 swimmers on the membership and over 120 at the junior gala end so 2 teams should be easy to put out.
We ask our members to state their availability in advance (in the case of league galas usually 2 months ahead with selection 4 weeks ahead).
Firstly, not even 50% bother to make their availability known ahead of time and then when selection is made on limited knowledge, people decline selection.
This is a relatively knew phenomenon but I don't know what the answer is as we are trying to do what we have been asked.
Any suggestions on how to get the parents (I believe the athletes are happy to compete) to commit and rebuild the 'team ethos' that the club has always been about, historically since I started coaching it 15 years ago, would be greatly appreciated.
ps most team meets are Saturday evenings. leagues take 3 Saturdays in consecutive months so all we are asking is 6 evenings per annum maximum for most families.
We need the parents support but cannot repeatedly chase them for yes/no answers.......but 'Little Johnny' can?
Would a whiteboard/easel set up somewhere around regular sessions be of use, reminding of 'upcoming events'.
If it's true that 'I believe the athletes are happy to compete' then perhaps they may remind/pester/badger the adults into responding?
Possible pitfalls with this particular system for sure but might be worth a try.
Good idea and thank you. Possibly, with a proactive Committee we have become too reliant on the website / email methods. A board, our notice board and a 'You have been selected. We will see you on' might seem 'regressive' but could be a good call. We will try it and feed back.
I think your problem, is your making someone else's problem, your problem. You will never solve the problem of parents, never. you may find the odd parent that gets it but the vast majority wont, can't.
you made the assumption, that when they asked, about novice events, they actually were interested.
you want team ethos, it's the kids you build that with, any illusion you have that you can do that with the parents will fail. Great parents are rarer than great athletes.
This sounds very familiar, parents have their children doing everything, club events, school events, camps , family events birthday parties etc. They want the flexibility to decide on the day.
This is unworkable in a team sport, a half team can't play. Your best chance is to get through to the kids, I bet if you called a meeting many parents wouldn't turn up.
My experience is that most parents in this frame of mind wont get better, plan your teams to be able to let them go when it suits the team.
You are there for the athletes who want to compete not for the one who don't want to compete. Try not to disappoint those who want to partake to suit those that don't.
Focus on the reliable ones you can help them greatly you cant help the others, it is outside your control.
We are looking to do this by handing the invite direct to the swimmer (as well as by email to the parents) so that the child knows they have been invited and made to feel that it is an 'honour.
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