1. Make sure your child knows that win or lose, scared or heroic, you love them, appreciate their efforts, and are not disappointed in them. This will allow them to do their best without fear of failure. Be the person in their life they can look to for constant positive reinforcement.

2. Try your best to be completely honest about your child's athletic ability, his/her competitive attitude, their sportsmanship, and their actual skill level.

3. Be helpful, but do not coach them on the way to the track or on the way back, or at breakfast and so on. It's tough not to (especially when you are the coach/parent), but it's a lot tougher for a child to be overwhelmed with advice, pep talks, and often critical instruction.

4. Teach them to enjoy the thrill of competition, to be "doing their best" to be working to improve his/her running skills and attitudes. Help him/her to develop the reward of competing, for trying hard, and for having fun.

5. Try not to re-live your athletic life through your child in a way that it creates pressure. Do not pressure your child because of your pride. If he/she is comfortable with you (win or lose) he/she is on their way to maximum achievement and enjoyment.

6. Do not compete with the coach. Allow the coach to direct their athletic development. We will always be available at Distance University to discuss your child's progress.

7. Don't compare the skill, success or attitude of your child with other members of the team.

8. Get to know the coach so that you can be assured that his/her philosophy, attitudes, ethics, and knowledge are such that you are happy to have your child under his/her leadership.

9. Always remember that children tend to exaggerate, both when praised and when criticized. Temper your reaction and investigate before over-reacting. (We like to bring the parents in on praise and criticism so that everyone stays on the same page.)

10. Make a point of understanding fear, and that it is relative. Some of us can climb mountains, and are afraid to fight. Some of us will fight, but turn to jelly if a bee approaches. Everyone is frightened in certain areas. Explain that courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of how you handle that fear.

Thanks to Tim Manley of the Surprise Storm swim team for letting us borrow this..