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CoachML
December 2nd, 2008, 02:26 AM
I just became the coach of my first swim team, and I, being a male, am having a hard time with the whole period thing. My girls are middle school level, and a little shy about the subject, as am I. Now, I know that you can swim on your period by using a tampon, but they cringed at the idea. However, on a 20 girl team, I've got as many as 6-7 girls sitting out daily because of it. I know that's far FAR too high. I'm about this close to going out and buying a box of tampons to shove in their face if they don't dress.

So my questions are:

How necessary is it that you wear a tampon? Is it an every day thing? are there times when it's worse than others?

And, how can I easily make the lives of the swimmers who don't swim (and keep in mind it has to be for a group of 6-7 people) a living hell. I need a dry land work out that can be done on the pool deck that takes little effort to watch (so I can coach the other girls) and something they can't really slack off - I keep giving them push ups and they barely go down.

I really can't think of anything outside of making the actual swim session fun, so if you guys have ideas on how to do that too it might work, too. It need to work on something important though.

Dennis Tesch
December 2nd, 2008, 08:49 AM
As ex-college coach of women athletes I want you to know that this shouldn't be an issue. Maybe because the women I coached were highly motivated individuals and they wouldn't have never used nor would have I accepted the excuse that one of them couldn't swim because is was that special time of the month.

I would suggest approaching this issue more from a general team concept than one of a women's issue. My question to the athletes would be: are they committed to getting better as a swimmer and do they understand the training program you are putting together for them? Does taking a couple days off help them in their ultimate goals... most likely not! I'm sure there are plenty of coaches that will support you in the fact there is no reason why women (young teenage girls) can't swim while in their menstrual cycle. It would surprise me if the top level teams allowed for this excuse.... to get out of workout. Good luck and get those girls in the water!

elise526
December 2nd, 2008, 09:03 AM
Be really careful with this one. You are dealing with kids and thus, parents. You could really run into some problems with parents if you don't handle it carefully.

As a woman, I think it silly for any girl to be afraid to wear tampons and thus, not be able to swim. You must remember, however, that the choice of any girl in this group not to do so is a decision that has been made by the girl and HER MOTHER. Moms know the problem with swimming and periods. If these mothers have decided not to encourage their daughters to wear tampons, then I would be careful with interfering with that decision.

Perhaps you could enlist the help of the school nurse in raising the issue with these girls and their parents. If there is a parent of one of the girls on the team that is a nurse or doc, this would be a good resource as well.

Perhaps you could have swim videos of proper stroke technique for any kid to watch - male or female - when they have to miss practice due to injury, illness, or period. Perhaps another coach or parent could supervise the "video room." For dryland stuff, I would suggest doing exercises using surgical tubing, Swiss ball, and a light medicine ball.

thewookiee
December 2nd, 2008, 09:03 AM
First, lighten-up. These aren't pro swimmers or top level college swimmers...they are, as you said...MIDDLE SCHOOL girls. You admitted they are being shy about the whole thing. Trying to make their lives "hell" won't help you or them.

Instead of taking the hard ass approach, try talking to them and their parents. Find out if they are scared,embarrassed or if they just don't want to swim. I agree with Dennis on the point of explaining your training plan to them.

If they do want to swim, let them know it is ok to swim. If they don't, then suggest that they take up activities that they enjoy...even offer to help them get in contact with the coach/instructor of that activity.

Having coached middle school aged kids, trying to use scare tactics,etc. on them isn't a good idea. A lot of these kids are shy and don't understand what is happening and it can be hard on them. If they were in high school or older, you could use a harder approach, they aren't though.

The Fortress
December 2nd, 2008, 09:05 AM
How odd ... Don't these girls have mothers? This should not be an issue, and it definitely shouldn't be your issue. It's hard enough to coach this age. I wouldn't let them sit out. Perhaps the head coach could send home a letter to parents explaining the teams attendance and participation policies. The parents probably aren't even aware they're sitting out.

gobears
December 2nd, 2008, 09:30 AM
Almost sounds like you have a group of girls who just want an excuse to sit out. How perfect that they can use the period excuse so you can't argue! You need to make sure their parents know they are sitting out and why. That may take care of many of them.

ViveBene
December 2nd, 2008, 09:39 AM
I disagree most vehemently with the preceding remarks.

These girls are not of adult size. In order to insert a tampon, you, female, have to stretch the hymen. It's a painful, awkward, and uncomfortable business. They may not want to, or be able to, for a couple of years yet.

These girls, not yet adults, can also get adult-size pains. They are trying to go to school, take tests, and figure out all the rest of it. They may not have regular periods.

A coach could try talking to the school nurse, if a social issue is believed to be the problem. Otherwise, keep things in perspective.

Ripple
December 2nd, 2008, 10:34 AM
I seem to remember that periods could be very heavy at that age, and that there was always a dragged-out tired feeling for a couple days leading up to and the first or second day of. They may be worried that a tampon is not enough, and they may feel heavy, tired and lifeless. And even in this day and age some mothers may not be letting them use them, fearing the toxic shock thing. (Which is unlikely to happen in a two hour time frame, of course.)

knelson
December 2nd, 2008, 10:45 AM
Almost sounds like you have a group of girls who just want an excuse to sit out. How perfect that they can use the period excuse so you can't argue!

I agree. They've found a good excuse and they're milking it for all it's worth. Wookiee thinks the OP should "lighten up." My feeling is that he's probably not being tough enough. It seems to me the girls have found a convenient excuse to walk all over him.

aquageek
December 2nd, 2008, 11:01 AM
I don't know a thing about periods but I know a thing or two about teens. They are crafty little people and will fabricate any excuse to get out of a swim practice, especially in the winter.

Willow
December 2nd, 2008, 11:48 AM
I think it is a combo of things here. They can sense your discomfort with the topic and some may be exploiting that. Some may be anxious about leakage or feeling really bad during their menses. There is probably general confusion about what happens when a bleeding girl gets in the water, how a tampon prevents leaks, etc. I have some sympathy-I started swimming at 37 and had to come here and ask this question in order to feel comfortable swimming while on my period. I didn't get the talk when I was a girl because I didn't swim.

I think the best approach is to recognize that these are children and individuals. They aren't a herd. They are probably swimming for a variety of reasons-parental pressure, to be with their best friend, or a love of swimming. They probably won't respond well to a heavy handed approach. In your shoes I'd do several firm, respectful, compassionate things: I'd have a frank group talk about the problem, discuss why it is a problem from a training standpoint to miss a week out of every month, and let them know that if there are girls among them who simply do not want to swim at all and are using this as a means to avoid getting in the pool, that is perfectly fine. They can choose another sport or hobby, but that they need to make that choice. If there are girls among them who feel really truly terrible on their periods, mention OTC pain control and let them know that tampons really do work, ask them how they think their female swim heros got to where they were (by sitting out 7 out of 30 days? Not likely!).

As a teacher I've had fantastic results with keeping an open line of communication with parents, involving them in what is going on in the form of letters. I think it is a good idea to let the parents know that your team is having this problem, how you have addressed it (better they hear it in YOUR words than from the kids- "coach told us to use tampons or we are off the team!") and to ask for their help in resolving this delicate problem. Some parents may not want their daughters to use tampons. I had a kid in my musical theater production class that was of a fundamentalist christian sect that did not permit dancing. She had to march in place while the cast sang and danced around her. Sometimes you have to adapt!

anita
December 2nd, 2008, 11:53 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with Vive. Tampons are not for everyone, and for you, or anyone, to make that decision for them is, IMO, wrong. It is their body and only they can make the decision of what to put into it (forgive the phrasing).

At the same time, I can attest to the fact that physical exercise is the best way for ME to alleviate the "ickiness" of that time of the month.

When your girls get to the point where swimming is more important than the tampon issue, they will be in the pool. But that time is up to them, not you.

Smith by Marriage
December 2nd, 2008, 12:03 PM
Personally, I think that sitting out is a bad excuse. I'm with Anita: swimming is the best thing to relieve the "ickiness"! I also know the educational system, and having a male coach try to address this issue only opens a can of worms. Is there a female (an older girl on the team, a 'hometown swimming hero') that could come in and speak to these girls?

dolfinbabe
December 2nd, 2008, 12:26 PM
Well, I understand fully the concerns of young girls/girls and women in general who may back off swimming because of the dreaded 'curse' each month.

Let's just put it this way for all males out there: - a period is similar to a nose bleed.

The number one fear most have, like myself (I will admit) is 'leakage'. Not all tampons can hold the amount a female may bleed and it will leak from time to time - specially if you're not sure of the signs it's coming on. Obviously the older you get, the more you understand your signs etc.

It would seem for me you can't judge how much you may bleed from one month to the other, but tampons are obviously the best solution to go for. So swimming in the water at the pool is FINE...UNTIL>....

...until you get OUT the pool - yikes! Because 'that area' is already wet, it increases the likelyhood of leaking at the bottom part of the tampon and picks up blood and it can then exit and run down wet legs!! I have not experienced that in public as such (! - made damn sure it would NOT, EVER), but know that if I don't get to the bathroom/shower changing rooms quickly after a swim and have period, I feel very very conscious of it. Perhaps the solution for the kids is to let the girls go to the bathroom without issue after a workout - let them deal with it, then come back to the pool side.

So to exercises OUT the pool after a workout - that would be hell on earth for me if I could not get to the loo, and I'm 35!!

Also I know that coughing, doing jerky movements ALSO has the potential for me to cause leaks - now add a skimpy wet swimming costume and you're in trouble. It's hard for women - well we get used to it, we make a few excuses, but we adapt - we have to...!

I mean, let me ask - what WOULD you think if YOU saw a girl who was leaking doing sit-ups? It would be a massive humiliation...wouldn't it?

Hope this helps.

slowfish
December 2nd, 2008, 12:34 PM
woah, in middle school, i did everything in my power to never bring that topic up given the embarrasment factor! i would never have told a coach, especially a male one, that it was 'that time'.

for most girls, tampons and periods are no big deal. either their moms' are giving them the message that they are, or they are using it as an excuse to stay out of the water.

ourswimmer
December 2nd, 2008, 12:38 PM
I am amazed, and frankly skeptical, that these girls would tell you that they are sitting out because of their periods. Adult women don't seem to be so embarrassed to mention their periods but I cannot imagine a 13-year-old girl telling her male coach anything about it. When I was a 13-year-old swimmer my teammates and I never even talked about our periods (or lack thereof) among ourselves, much less with our male coach.

Also, the conventional wisdom about a "period" lasting a week is bunk. Most teens bleed significantly for a day or two or maybe three, and then the flow tapers off quite substantially. Even if I could believe a kid needed to skip practice one or two days because of heavy menstrual flow, or cramps, a week is ridiculous. If the kid is really bleeding significantly for a week she needs to see a doctor.

I am with those who can imagine no reason these girls need to skip practice because of menstruation. I concur with Fort's recommendation to make sure their parents know they are skipping, and know the stated reason. Then make your own attendance policy clear, and the same for boys and girls, and enforce it. These girls are going to be menstruating ten to thirteen times a year for the next 40 years, excluding pregnancies; might as well figure out now how to keep it from interfering with the rest of their lives.

geochuck
December 2nd, 2008, 12:53 PM
There happens to be a fear of using tampons for some children and parents. So they miss a few practices and sit out what is the problem with that.

They should still go to practice and do some land stuff. They should not even be required to give a reason for their days off. It seems to me coach you are not supposed to inquire what the reason is. Unless they are missing massive amounts of practice you should not be concerned.

Male coaches should not even discuss this type of situation with young girls it could be conceived as abuse.

blainesapprentice
December 2nd, 2008, 12:55 PM
In middle/high school having your period was an excuse to get out of swimming in gym class...but NEVER an excuse to get out of swim practice.

I think it's just fabrication to get out of practice.

anita
December 2nd, 2008, 01:36 PM
Let's just put it this way for all males out there: - a period is similar to a nose bleed.


Without going into details I will just say (vehemently): Not for everyone.

thewookiee
December 2nd, 2008, 01:42 PM
Have we stopped to consider one thing. Almost...I will say almost everyone is saying the girls are doing this with the intent of getting out of practice.

Granted, I will agree that maybe the case but how do we know the coach isn't overstating the number of missed practices and the number of girls missing practice?

It seems that almost everyone just takes a coaches side of the story. How do we know the coach isn't stretching the truth about the details to make him/her look right and put more blame on the kids than they actually deserve because he/she doesn't know the proper way to handle the situation.

The Fortress
December 2nd, 2008, 02:01 PM
I am amazed, and frankly skeptical, that these girls would tell you that they are sitting out because of their periods. Adult women don't seem to be so embarrassed to mention their periods but I cannot imagine a 13-year-old girl telling her male coach anything about it. When I was a 13-year-old swimmer my teammates and I never even talked about our periods (or lack thereof) among ourselves, much less with our male coach.

Also, the conventional wisdom about a "period" lasting a week is bunk. Most teens bleed significantly for a day or two or maybe three, and then the flow tapers off quite substantially. Even if I could believe a kid needed to skip practice one or two days because of heavy menstrual flow, or cramps, a week is ridiculous. If the kid is really bleeding significantly for a week she needs to see a doctor.

I am with those who can imagine no reason these girls need to skip practice because of menstruation. I concur with Fort's recommendation to make sure their parents know they are skipping, and know the stated reason. Then make your own attendance policy clear, and the same for boys and girls, and enforce it. These girls are going to be menstruating ten to thirteen times a year for the next 40 years, excluding pregnancies; might as well figure out now how to keep it from interfering with the rest of their lives.

Agreed!

I am sure, as Anita points out, that there could be a very small percentage of girls who cannot wear tampons. Obviously, the coach cannot instruct them to.

However, likewise, a coach has the right to demand that there are not 6-7 girls on a 20 person team sitting on deck during practice. That is flat out absurd. Most coaches in every sport, whether it's swimming or little league or whatever, are pretty adamant about getting to practice on time and actually practicing. If a girl absolutely cannot swim because of the curse, she should not attend practice. It's hard to imagine a team practicing effectively with a revolving circle of swimmers on deck.

I have a middle school girl who is a swimmer, as was I. I have NEVER seen girls sitting out on deck at practice unless there was a problem with asthma. Nor has my daughter ever reported such phenomena to me -- and she definitely would be pissed off by it! So, obviously, this is not a problem for the vast majority of middle school girls. If they have tampon fear, as I said before, they might need a little more maternal supervision, including explanation and demonstration of the use of tampons. Sheesh. And, if it's an issue at practice, the coach should let them have bathroom breaks. I know my kid's team hits the locker room, for example, between swimming and drylands.

Also, my understanding, from parents and girls, is that the curse is not terribly disabling at that age for most. I haven't heard it is heavy. To the contrary, most endurance athletes get a fairly light period and sometimes miss it. I know my daughter says it's "no big deal" and "no one thinks it's a big deal." I can't recall ever thinking or worrying about it when I was young. I'm only saying most, not all!

Now, I can't stand it.

elise526
December 2nd, 2008, 02:07 PM
Without going into details I will just say (vehemently): Not for everyone.

Absolutely agree. Has sidelined me faster than a stress fracture in the femoral neck (hip) did. A stress fracture in the hip is pretty painful.

It just sounds like there needs to be some communication with the parents about the issue. Some may be using it as an excuse but others may have moms that just don't encourage the use of tampons. As a former age-group coach, I observed that this was not uncommon. And yes, some girls are really wigged out by using tampons and since it is a control thing, they have to become comfortable on their own with it.

gobears
December 2nd, 2008, 02:49 PM
Absolutely agree. Has sidelined me faster than a stress fracture in the femoral neck (hip) did. A stress fracture in the hip is pretty painful.

It just sounds like there needs to be some communication with the parents about the issue. Some may be using it as an excuse but others may have moms that just don't encourage the use of tampons. As a former age-group coach, I observed that this was not uncommon. And yes, some girls are really wigged out by using tampons and since it is a control thing, they have to become comfortable on their own with it.

Which is why the coach has to make sure the parents are aware of the situation. Put the ball in their court.

The curse nowadays, at age 42, is TRULY a curse. It actually does sideline me sometimes. But never as a kid. It was potentially embarrassing, sure, but I would not have needed to sit out for multiple practices with my buddies! You might have one or two girls with true heavy bleeding issues (though it's hard for me to imagine) but I think that's relatively rare.

Having been an age-group coach, the only time I can remember a girl ever having to miss practice for her period--her mom didn't bring her to practice for a day. How about making the girls have a note from their parents to sit out? Think that might solve your problem right there. At least you'd know the ones sitting out had a legit reason and parental approval.

gobears
December 2nd, 2008, 02:57 PM
Rereading the first post, I think there is a reason I'm so skeptical:


However, on a 20 girl team, I've got as many as 6-7 girls sitting out daily because of it. I know that's far FAR too high

The numbers are WAY off. If you truly have 6-7 girls sitting out every day then they are yankin' your chain. They should only be menstruating once (3 days worth worrying about) every 28 days for Pets's sake! Unless they are coordinating their cycles perfectly, you should never have that many out at a time.

REQUIRE a note from Mom stating that they can't swim. I'd bet money that will take care of the slackers.

Chris Stevenson
December 2nd, 2008, 03:20 PM
If you truly have 6-7 girls sitting out every day then they are yankin' your chain. They should only be menstruating once (3 days worth worrying about) every 28 days for Pets's sake! Unless they are coordinating their cycles perfectly, you should never have that many out at a time.

REQUIRE a note from Mom stating that they can't swim. I'd bet money that will take care of the slackers.

Stats geek that I am...IF each girls' period is truly independent of the others' (can't they be synchronized? I've heard that happens) then there is only a 2% chance that you could have 6 or more girls sitting out on a 20-person team. I'm assuming the 3-day duration is correct and that everyone who has a period elects to skip practice, meaning you should average just over 2 skips a day.

(Can you tell I'm bored with grading? :))

CreamPuff
December 2nd, 2008, 03:21 PM
Along the note lines, how about a written note from the doc? Then, those very few girls who are really affected, will have a valid excuse. Those that are faking or whose parents don't know what's going on will have to man up. Those that have tampon issues may then be forced to have a frank discussion/ lesson with mom and/ or older sis.

And create a swimming attendance policy (all the high school swim teams around here have swim team attendance policies.)

Aqua Jock
December 2nd, 2008, 03:34 PM
This thread borders on T.M.I.
Shouldn't this be discussed in the Women's Locker Room?

AJ

dolfinbabe
December 2nd, 2008, 03:38 PM
Also, the conventional wisdom about a "period" lasting a week is bunk. Most teens bleed significantly for a day or two or maybe three, and then the flow tapers off quite substantially. Even if I could believe a kid needed to skip practice one or two days because of heavy menstrual flow, or cramps, a week is ridiculous. If the kid is really bleeding significantly for a week she needs to see a doctor.

Periods do last a week long and can be extremely heavy, cause stomach cramps and can therefore be difficult to manage - also make one feel weak. I just had to deal with it when I was young. I also know a few friends who were even worse than myself. The contraceptive pill eventually changed all of this for me - it literally cut down the flow to 2-3 days instead of 5-6. It has since been very easy to manage and really not an issue anymore.

If a group of girls are all off at the same time, then they are just skipping for the sake of it surely, - no two women will react the same or cope the same way with their period. And not all of them will be off for a full week! - so it would seem these girls are making excuses.

I do have immense sympathy for those that do suffer heavy prolonged periods, but I also have no sympathy whatsoever for those that use it as an excuse to skip sports activities/work/etc! Time to sort it out like you are doing.

gobears
December 2nd, 2008, 03:46 PM
This thread borders on T.M.I.
Shouldn't this be discussed in the Women's Locker Room?

AJ

Spoken like a true menstuation-phobic male. You might like to fantasize otherwise, but if women didn't have periods you wouldn't exist:rolleyes:!

The Fortress
December 2nd, 2008, 03:48 PM
This thread borders on T.M.I.
Shouldn't this be discussed in the Women's Locker Room?

AJ

I thought Aqua Jock was "ready to shock" ...

If guys had the curse, there'd be a lot more sitting out and whining. You have no idea ...

(Ha! I see Amy had the same thought.)

aquageek
December 2nd, 2008, 03:52 PM
There are only two things that men try to avoid discussing more than this topic - a vasectomy or colonoscopy. I suspect these teen girls have already realized they have hit the weak point for the coach and are cashing in on the uncomfortable nature of this topic with men. As Barney Fife might say "nip it in the bud," although it sounds like you already have a problem. Get a female coach or mother to set these girls straight, dangerous if you do it yourself, god help you if you do.

knelson
December 2nd, 2008, 04:05 PM
This thread borders on T.M.I.
Shouldn't this be discussed in the Women's Locker Room?

Or at least can't we refer to it as "Aunt Flo" rather than a period? :)

jdut
December 2nd, 2008, 04:08 PM
I coach hs girls (and was one at one time), and granted it is WAY easier for a female coach to broach the subject, but a written absence policy seems to take care of this for me. I straight out have on my policy that your period is not an excused absence. The only time, honestly, that I have encountered this is with family/cultural beliefs (in 9 years) and that of course is a done deal, so no arguments there. What we do when any injury (or period) comes up is dry land- they sweat and basically work so hard on the pool deck that nobdy questions the validity of the condition. I have them run steps or run around or walk fast, whatever, as long as the heart rate goes up. I have VERY limited facilities, so jump rope, steps, and core stuff is all I can have them do. Peers have a lot of influence also, and maybe a mom or two could be recruited to help you with these issues when you know the group better - or you could get a female part time volunteer, something like that.

That said, as one above poster stated, a note from a parent would be MOST helpful and is not out of line at all, I think, especially since they probably need that much to get out of a gym class (and they are very young- it is not like you are asking a college swimmer for the same thing!).

Good luck- and good for you for even asking the question!

elise526
December 2nd, 2008, 04:53 PM
In my mind, this should just not even be an issue. If girls are going to use their periods as an excuse to sit out, they are going to find something else to use as an excuse to sit out. Forcing 13 year olds is not going to accomplish anything. The bottom line is that by this age, they have to want to do it.

Let them learn the hard way that sitting out costs them the edge in competition. Girls that are sitting out or making excuses most likely will not last in the sport through high school and certainly not college.

The girls that truly want to be good swimmers will find a way to minimize the impact their period has on their lifestyle by using tampons. If this means they have to overcome their fear and discomfort, they will do it IF IT IS WORTH IT TO THEM.

If you are having to force 13 year olds to train when they don't want to, best to reexamine the reason why they are there.

gobears
December 2nd, 2008, 05:01 PM
No one is suggesting "forcing" anyone to do anything. My suggestion is to inform the parents and require a note. I think this might be a case of preteen girls just being preteen girls and wanting to be social. No one is saying they have to follow the Phelps training method here. But by requiring some accountability you force them to either choose to swim to be on the team or choose to do something else. I highly doubt there are that many who have real problems--the numbers are too far off.

elise526
December 2nd, 2008, 05:11 PM
Let the ones that really care about swimming learn on their own that socializing comes with a price, e.g., they won't swim as fast as Susie Q who never misses a practice. Perhaps if they learn it now, college will not be such a rude awakening with all its social opportunities. :drink:

quicksilver
December 2nd, 2008, 05:33 PM
I have 3 girls. Armaggedon usually happens at the same time every month.
Oh joy.

It never stopped them from being active though.

SwimStud
December 2nd, 2008, 05:34 PM
...because is was that special time of the month.


Oh, yeah it's a real "special time" around here... just like Dec 25th and July 4th...

:badday::bolt:

SwimStud
December 2nd, 2008, 05:40 PM
Spoken like a true menstuation-phobic male. You might like to fantasize otherwise, but if women didn't have periods you wouldn't exist:rolleyes:!
Yes but at least we'd not be getting blamed for everything!


If guys had the curse, there'd be a lot more sitting out and whining. You have no idea ...


If guys had the curse we'd have a cure for it by now!

I think girls secretly enjoy this "special time" as a neo-sociological-psuedo-sanctioned excuse to let their inner beauty shine through for the men in their lives!

:D
See you all at zones on Saturday!

geochuck
December 2nd, 2008, 05:45 PM
This is not East Germany of the past.

They must have a note from their parents??? I think not.

I believe most are carrying this thing a little too far.

Leave the little girls alone and let them decide what they should do...

SwimStud
December 2nd, 2008, 05:48 PM
There are only two things that men try to avoid discussing more than this topic - a vasectomy or colonoscopy.

My coach discussed colonscopy this morning with me...it's a medical procedure; discussion is not an invitation to attend the ceremony!

aquageek
December 2nd, 2008, 05:52 PM
My coach discussed colonscopy this morning with me...

Wow, that must have been one heck of a great practice.

gobears
December 2nd, 2008, 06:20 PM
This is not East Germany of the past.

They must have a note from their parents??? I think not.

I believe most are carrying this thing a little too far.

Leave the little girls alone and let them decide what they should do...

Or are you living in the past? Women/girls are actually fairly hardy creatures. I wonder if you'd say the same thing if it were a group of boys saying that they wanted to sit out of practice routinely. Or would there be a double-standard? No one is telling these kids they have to be on the swim team. Presumably they want to be part of the team. If so, they should do what the team is doing unless there is a note from Mom that states they can't.

The Fortress
December 2nd, 2008, 06:25 PM
I think girls secretly enjoy this "special time" as a neo-sociological-psuedo-sanctioned excuse to let their inner beauty shine through for the men in their lives!

And I thought I was perfectly happy and social on Geek 9:27 and at the Sprint Classic ... :D :bolt:

Gee, George, that's a great idea. Let's let a bunch of teenage hormonal drama queens decide how to run the show ...

aquageek
December 2nd, 2008, 06:28 PM
And I thought I was perfectly happy and social on Geek 9:27 ... :D :bolt:

That was a very enjoyable day. I get to enjoy that place for three days next weekend.

anita
December 2nd, 2008, 07:39 PM
I think girls secretly enjoy this "special time" as a neo-sociological-psuedo-sanctioned excuse to let their inner beauty shine through for the men in their lives!


Actually I would like it more if we still had the Red Tent to go live in for a week or two. A monthly vacation, even if it includes cramps.

ScarletSwimmer
December 2nd, 2008, 08:01 PM
Yes, you're being taken advantage of...but enough to want to make their lives a "living hell"? That's mature of you.

ALM
December 2nd, 2008, 09:20 PM
These girls just want to get out of practice. I can remember that when I was that age, the girls all wanted to start using tampons as SOON as possible. (As one of my friends put it, "Wearing pads feels like someone is following you around all day with their hand between your legs.") In fact, as I recall, the girls who were still using pads were "looked down on" by their peers.

So it's hard for me to believe that none of the girls on the team uses tampons.

I knew a swimmer who was cognitively disabled. She had grown up swimming. She was in her 30s and for whatever reason couldn't or wouldn't use tampons. So you know what she did? She safety-pinned a pad to the inside of her swimsuit.

elise526
December 2nd, 2008, 10:01 PM
This is not East Germany of the past.

They must have a note from their parents??? I think not.

I believe most are carrying this thing a little too far.

Leave the little girls alone and let them decide what they should do...

I agree. This is not a mandatory activity. This is supposed to be something these girls are doing for fun. It is not a military academy.

I don't doubt girls this age are hardy as I was one myself. What I am more concerned about is over-controlling coaches and parents. When it comes to matters of young female teen bodies, one is dealing with a dangerous area. Until we no longer have problems with female athlete triad and eating disorders, nobody will convince me otherwise.

The problems I mention all stem from a young girl's need to control her body. Menstruation and how a young girl handles it mentally is a body issue and best left to the girl. If she wants to excel and push herself through it, than let her, if she doesn't, then let it be.

Sorry, ladies, there's no getting away from the fact that 90% of disordered eating cases are seen in females. I've seen too many times the emotional toll the extreme cases exact on the families. So, like George, I say let the girls be happy and figure it out for themselves.

Kurt Dickson
December 2nd, 2008, 10:32 PM
Along the note lines, how about a written note from the doc? Then, those very few girls who are really affected, will have a valid excuse. Those that are faking or whose parents don't know what's going on will have to man up. Those that have tampon issues may then be forced to have a frank discussion/ lesson with mom and/ or older sis.

And create a swimming attendance policy (all the high school swim teams around here have swim team attendance policies.)

Don't get doctors involved in this. I already have crazy parents bringing their daughters in to the ER for me to tell them if they are still virgins (apparently they can tell this with 100% accuracy in Mexico).

"Susie can't practice today because she has really bad menstrual cramps."
signed Dr Dickson

Susie needs to go to the "B" team where attendance is optional and everybody gets a trophy for a good effort. (If she were swimming hard enough she wouldn't have periods).:bolt:

This whole issue is ridiculous--my daughter swam her last state meet on her period and my wife actually times her period to occur just prior to her big cycling races (supposedly some V02 advantage or some such nonsense).

Let the underachievers that like missing practice do it on another team.

CoachML
December 3rd, 2008, 12:48 AM
It would seem for me you can't judge how much you may bleed from one month to the other, but tampons are obviously the best solution to go for. So swimming in the water at the pool is FINE...UNTIL>....

...until you get OUT the pool - yikes! Because 'that area' is already wet, it increases the likelyhood of leaking at the bottom part of the tampon and picks up blood and it can then exit and run down wet legs!! I have not experienced that in public as such (! - made damn sure it would NOT, EVER), but know that if I don't get to the bathroom/shower changing rooms quickly after a swim and have period, I feel very very conscious of it. Perhaps the solution for the kids is to let the girls go to the bathroom without issue after a workout - let them deal with it, then come back to the pool side.

So to exercises OUT the pool after a workout - that would be hell on earth for me if I could not get to the loo, and I'm 35!!

Also I know that coughing, doing jerky movements ALSO has the potential for me to cause leaks - now add a skimpy wet swimming costume and you're in trouble. It's hard for women - well we get used to it, we make a few excuses, but we adapt - we have to...!

I mean, let me ask - what WOULD you think if YOU saw a girl who was leaking doing sit-ups? It would be a massive humiliation...wouldn't it?

Hope this helps.So... let me fully understand. It's only a problem after they get out? So, at tomorrows meet, the one girl who is on her period (we had 6 the day before, but today it was one, obviously they think they wont get to swim if they miss the day before) so if I had a girl there with a towel to cover her up after words, do you think it would work? They have sweats they can wear at meets, and during practice we do sit ups before we even get in.

Regardless, I'm trying to tread very carefully with this issue. I called the parent of this girl who missed today, and I took her out of one of the races. Her dad was very understanding and I think I convinced him to encourage her to swim.

And, here's the thing, when I talked to the parents, they said that their daughter just didn't want to be humiliated. I didn't ask this, but what's there to be humiliated about? She's on a girl's swim team. All the girls have this problem. Are the parents going to laugh? Boys? Can't it be avoided with a towel? I mean, I didn't want to command the parent and I kept a soft polite tone, but c'mon.

As far as the six kids sitting out during practice. I think I will have another talk, I will write a letter to the parents, and I've started keeping track of the girls who miss practice. I had one girl out Wednesday before Thanksgiving, she's still out. She's obviously lying, and lucky me, she wondered off during practice, instead of doing the dry land workout, then came in with her coat on, ready to leave. When I asked her where she was, she proudly said, "chillin'." So I sent her home while everybody was watching. I think it sent a message, we mean business. I only wish I had thought of saying, "Well, you can chill at home. So go home." Don't you hate when those catchy lines come to you after the time to use them has passed?

CoachML
December 3rd, 2008, 01:00 AM
Let the underachievers that like missing practice do it on another team.Here's the problem with that, do I kick girls off because they're on their period? Because, even though I know they're just skipping practice, the parents all think their children are perfect little angels who would NEVER do such a thing. They get pissed. They call up the school and complain.

You have to realize I'm dealing with super conservative parents. Both of the parents I've called have disgusted me so far. One said they were worried about their kid getting embarrassed. The other said their (incredibly fat) little darling couldn't walk two blocks from where the bus dropped her off so they had to be let out of practice 40 minutes earlier. Now, the parents are just like the kids. They fold once a stern person like me is breathing down their neck... politely.

I would love to kick about 4 kids off the team because of attitude. Ironically, they're all horrible swimmers. However, I prefer to do it the PC way and have them kick themselves off the team. I've got a strike system, and it's three and they're out. Let's just pray it happens sooner rather than later.

CoachML
December 3rd, 2008, 01:04 AM
I agree. This is not a mandatory activity. And I've told them at least a dozen times they can quit. You've got to understand. Kids aren't logical. They're there for social reasons. If they were logical, they would just meet up after school and hang out. They would say, this guy is hard. I don't like him. I don't think I will be on this team. But the more you try to make them quit, the harder they work. And to be perfectly honest, I'd rather see that.

dorothyrde
December 3rd, 2008, 07:26 AM
It sounds like some girls aren't lying, and are embarrassed. It sounds like some girls are taking advantage of the situation. The difficult thing is, the embarrassed ones are going to get hurt by the ones taking advantage.

BTW, tampons are not for everyone. My daughter tried and tried, and just does not like them....so she sits out a couple of days a month. When she was 12 until she was about 13.5 she had her periods every 20-21 days, which was really bad and she was not a heavy person, she started when she weighed 90 pounds and is about 110 now at 15. This is not a thing a mother forces on a daughter, this is about her body and it is her decision how to handle it.

If it is a school team and there are no try-outs to be on the team, then your job is to get the most out of the ones who want to participate fully, and the most(which will not be as much) on the ones who are slackers. Then the ones who paticipate fully get to prime swim spots on relays, and events, because they earned it.

gobears
December 3rd, 2008, 08:11 AM
It sounds like some girls aren't lying, and are embarressed. It sounds like some girls are taking advantage of the situation. The difficult thing is, the embarrassed ones are going to get hurt by the ones taking advantage.

BTW, tampons are not for everyone. My daughter tried and tried, and just does not like them....so she sits out a couple of days a month. When she was 12 until she was about 13.5 she had her periods every 20-21 days, which was really bad and she was not a heavy person, she started when she weighed 90 pounds and is about 110 now at 15. This is not a thing a mother forces on a daughter, this is about her body and it is her decision how to handle it.

If it is a school team and there are no try-outs to be on the team, then your job is to get the most out of the ones who want to participate fully, and the most(which will not be as much) on the ones who are slackers. Then the ones who paticipate fully get to prime swim spots on relays, and events, because they earned it.

This is a good response. It does sound like you have a few girls with some "issues" regarding their period. Yes, it's perfectly understandable that they would have embarrassment issues. Given the way a few of the men on this board have reacted to even talking about menstruation, and the way that girls that age can be pretty mean to each other, it is a potentially very embarrassing matter. I wish that were not the case--it shouldn't be.

ML--I feel for you as it does sound like some of the girls are taking advantage. How could it be otherwise with the numbers you've given? However, your last two posts make you sound a little harsh. You're not going to have much success coaching girls if you think that berating them is an effective strategy. My suggestion was to make sure they know they can't run roughshod over you and miss practice on a whim. A note from home lets the parents know what's going on and leaves you free and clear when a girl doesn't swim very well at the end of the season.

I don't think George or Elise are allowing for the idea that some of your girls are just being lazy. They are not delicate flowers that have to be tiptoed around. However, girls are different than boys. Menstruation is not a fun or easy transition for a preteen girl. The girl you say is "incredibly fat" is already aware of that fact and probably not real happy she's that way. To take those facts into consideration is a MUST if you want to be successful coaching girls. It has nothing to do with talking down or pampering women because we can't take the tough stuff. It has to do with using the best psychology to get the best results.

As I told my husband when we first got married and started lifting weights together, women don't tend to respond well to negative feedback. Telling me I'm a wuss and that your grandmother can lift more than I can will not tend to make me motivated. Instead I'll think you're a jerk and go find somewhere else to lift. However, if you tell me I'm doing great I'll give you even more effort. I think (and correct me if I'm wrong gals) that most women respond better to positive reinforcement.

Let the girls know that you have expectations. Make their parents aware of those expectations and their daughters' practice habits. Require a note and then don't judge a parent for the decision they make. That's where you let the girls who practice more reap the benefits and those that don't see where that gets them. The monkey's off your back that way. Be careful, as a coach, not to judge the parents too harshly. It's especially easy to do when you aren't a parent.

Kurt Dickson
December 3rd, 2008, 09:07 AM
You've got a tough situation there which is similar to the one that ruined the team my daughter is on a few years ago: About four 12-14 year old females, only one of which was any good, getting dropped off and then playing on the golf-course, walking by the pool and generally being disruptive when in the pool. I understand each of those kids is worth 80-100 dollars a head, but many of the serious swimmers left for other teams because of the disruption caused by these four swimmers who eventually quit anyway.

The main problem you have is kids run the earth. If I got in trouble at practice, my parents would be mad at me; now it must be something the coach did. Parents don't back teachers or coaches at all. I say if you can afford it, get rid of them and their sorry parents who buy in to their kid's load of crap. This isn't about periods; it's about lazy kids and miserable parenting.:blah:

gobears
December 3rd, 2008, 09:19 AM
One more thought and then I'll try to shut up. It occurs to me, ML, that you might need to sit back and evaluate your coaching. Your two posts concern me in that they sound awfully judgmental for a middle school swim coach (both about the girls and their parents).

You might ask yourself if there is a reason these girls don't want to swim. Are you making sure you are including the (very important--IMO) element of fun in practices? At this age level (and non-USAS) that's a pretty big deal. Maybe you're good about all that, but it's worth looking at for a moment. Too much intensity at this level is sort of silly. And, maybe if there were some kind of incentive to be in practice more, more girls would find ways to get in the water despite their bodies. Maybe you have some kind of fun reward for swimming so many practices a month? You'll catch way more bees* with honey than with vinegar, or so they say...

gobears
December 3rd, 2008, 09:20 AM
You've got a tough situation there which is similar to the one that ruined the team my daughter is on a few years ago: About four 12-14 year old females, only one of which was any good, getting dropped off and then playing on the golf-course, walking by the pool and generally being disruptive when in the pool. I understand each of those kids is worth 80-100 dollars a head, but many of the serious swimmers left for other teams because of the disruption caused by these four swimmers who eventually quit anyway.

The main problem you have is kids run the earth. If I got in trouble at practice, my parents would be mad at me; now it must be something the coach did. Parents don't back teachers or coaches at all. I say if you can afford it, get rid of them and their sorry parents who buy in to their kid's load of crap. This isn't about periods; it's about lazy kids and miserable parenting.:blah:

Was this a USAS team? Makes a BIG difference.

2fish&1whale
December 3rd, 2008, 09:58 AM
I am very torn on this.
I have had tampons fail and know the embarrassment that comes with it.I also know that swimming actually makes it easier to deal with the cramping and makes me generally feel better afterwards.
But after my little mishap I am always paranoid while I swim and upon exiting the pool, and I seriously can't relax anymore. So on the worst days it just is not worth the trouble.
I also have a 10 year old that I am praying won't have to deal with this until she is in her mid teens, but you bet that I will talk to her that it is not something to be used "lightly" as an excuse.

dorothyrde
December 3rd, 2008, 10:00 AM
Sounds like a school team.

I did much of the training for my daughter this fall to get her ready for HS, and also was the representing coach for the two girls from her school for sectionals(no HS team). One thing I did with her was to try and think of dry-land work-outs that were hard but beneficial for her swimming. Don't make the dry-land a punishment, but use it to do things that will aid their swimming and that you normally do not have time for during regular swim practice. Running is beneficial for swimming, most girls this age have poor core strength and poor upper body strength. Hamstrings are usually weak, flexibility can be poor in some of them. Work on these things, but make them worthwhile and beneficial. This is not a by for them, just a different type of work-out. They should be sore from it.

My daughter recognized that exercise does make her feel better, but is also intimidated to go to practice with boys in the water with her(she has to practice with the club team). At sectionals, both she and the other girl were having their periods, but it was not as much of an issue. It was all girls, and since they were comfortable with me, they talked to me about their fears, and I helped them with that. They also supported each other(doing the subtle checks for leaks and such). They both swam well, and were happy when they left....and both said it really sucked that this happened on their big meet. These girls are 15 and 16, with younger girls it is much harder, they are making an uneasy transition, and for many girls, it is hard.

dorothyrde
December 3rd, 2008, 10:01 AM
I am very torn on this.
I have had tampons fail and know the embarrassment that comes with it.I also know that swimming actually makes it easier to deal with the cramping and makes me generally feel better afterwards.
But after my little mishap I am always paranoid while I swim and upon exiting the pool, and I seriously can't relax anymore. So on the worst days it just is not worth the trouble.
I also have a 10 year old that I am praying won't have to deal with this until she is in her mid teens, but you bet that I will talk to her that it is not something to be used "lightly" as an excuse.

Good luck on your 10 year old. I thought my daughter would be much older because she was teeny tiny. Nope, 2 months after her 12th birthday and then her body changed in another 2 months(shocking her poor dad). I think it is more dependant on genetics than size of body.

gobears
December 3rd, 2008, 11:52 AM
gobears - I'm going to have to take issue with you here. You seem to have in your mind that I think girls are delicate little flowers. It appears that you did not read my posts on my suggestion towards those that chose to sit out. Why in the world would you think a former female triathlete would view girls as being delicate flowers? My view is no different than what dorothy expressed.

I've coached a female to go on and swim 4 years for a Division I school in the SEC. She will tell you that I certainly do not allow for petty excuses and probably was one of the hardest coaches she ever had.

I, however, have watched a young lady close to my family with an eating disorder sitting on death's doorstep several times. I have had a sister of a close friend die at 16 from complications connected to anorexia. I take very seriously girls being overly pushed and controlled.

Again, I think dorothy's response is right on the point here.

I think we're saying mostly the same thing. It's just that you and George seem to think ML should not require anything of these girls to weed out the ones with true problems from the ones that are using this as an excuse. I never accused you of thinking women were delicate flowers (though I do wonder about George, given his comments). What I did say was:
"I don't think George or Elise are allowing for the idea that some of your girls are just being lazy." And that's what I meant. I do think, given ML's representation of the numbers, that some of the girls are being manipulative. You and George seem to be saying (and correct me if I'm wrong) that a note from Mom and some accountability is extreme. I don't happen to think so.

I agree that Dorothy's post was right on. I said so. All that said, I think you are mixing up topics here to some extent. What does the prevalence of eating disorders have to do with any of this? Of course a coach shouldn't be making comments about weight (ML--take note) but that's not the issue here. No one is saying these girls have to swim because they are fat pigs if they don't! They should swim because they signed up to swim! I don't think you are really advocating that the coach should let the girls run the show and do whatever the heck they feel like doing just so they don't feel at all "controlled." Life is full of rules and standards. Girls have to get used to that just like anyone else.

elise526
December 3rd, 2008, 02:31 PM
My point is that this is a dangerous area, so the coach simply needs to tread carefully. I have no doubt that some are using it as an excuse, but there may be a few that are not. I'd rather err on the side of giving the benefit of the doubt rather than approaching the group with the idea in my head that they are all sitting out because they just don't feel like following the rules.

I think enough women on here have made the point that girls need to be the ones to make a decision regarding how they want to handle dealing with their period. There should be allowances for girls to sit out for the reasons discussed above (not wanting to wear tampons or having difficulty with period).

Imagine a rule or policy stating the following: "In order to remain on the team, girls are expected to swim through their periods. Girls are expected to wear tampons so that they can swim through their period."

In a public school setting, do you think such a rule would be allowed to stand? I'm sure if I did my legal research, I could find some legal problems with such a rule. My theory is that if it can't be done in a public school, then even in a private club where it can be done, better tread very carefully.

I know some USA teams would never tolerate this situation. As I said before, the girls that are going to want to excel will find a way to minimize the impact their period has on their swimming. Those are the types of girls that will swim in a top level practice in a USA group. I have a problem, though, with the idea that age-group swimming is only for the elite. There are young ladies that desire to compete in swimming that may just want to be low-key about it and not swim when they are having their periods or want to miss a practice to go to a dance. This should be o.k. for a teenager to do.


Basically, I think there is probably a way to reasonably accomodate the situation without having to have harsh rules or demands. Generally, I think kids under 14, males and females, are pushed way too hard in our society. We seem to live in a truly mixed up society containing overachieving/burned-out kids and kids who get to run the show. As a society we seem to either expect too much or bend over backwards to make sure everybody and everything is accomodated.

gobears
December 3rd, 2008, 02:45 PM
My point is that this is a dangerous area, so the coach simply needs to tread carefully. I have no doubt that some are using it as an excuse, but there may be a few that are not. I'd rather err on the side of giving the benefit of the doubt rather than approaching the group with the idea in my head that they are all sitting out because they just don't feel like following the rules.

I think enough women on here have made the point that girls need to be the ones to make a decision regarding how they want to handle dealing with their period. There should be allowances for girls to sit out for the reasons discussed above (not wanting to wear tampons or having difficulty with period).

Imagine a rule or policy stating the following: "In order to remain on the team, girls are expected to swim through their periods. Girls are expected to wear tampons so that they can swim through their period."

In a public school setting, do you think such a rule would be allowed to stand? I'm sure if I did my legal research, I could find some legal problems with such a rule. My theory is that if it can't be done in a public school, then even in a private club where it can be done, better tread very carefully.

I know some USA teams would never tolerate this situation. As I said before, the girls that are going to want to excel will find a way to do it. Those are the types of girls that will swim in a top level practice in a USA group. I have a problem, though, with the idea that age-group swimming is only for the elite. There are young ladies that desire to compete in swimming that may just want to be low-key about it and not swim when they are having their periods or want to miss a practice to go to a dance. This should be o.k. for a teenager to do.


Basically, I think there is probably a way to reasonably accomodate the situation without having to have harsh rules or demands. Generally, I think kids under 14, males and females, are pushed way too hard in our society. We seem to live in a truly mixed up society containing overachieving/burned-out kids and kids who get to run the show. As a society we seem to either expect too much or bend over backwards to make sure everybody and everything is accomodated.

Not sure why you view this as an "all or nothing" situation. Surely the coach can make a general statement about having to have a note from a parent if you can't get in the pool (boys and girls). It seems obvious to me that parents should be aware of whether or not their kids are in the water at practice. And THEY can call the shots instead of the coach having to deal with it. How is that so extreme or expecting too much? Don't you think that's a pretty reasonable compromise?

elise526
December 3rd, 2008, 03:03 PM
Not sure why you view this as an "all or nothing" situation. Surely the coach can make a general statement about having to have a note from a parent if you can't get in the pool (boys and girls). It seems obvious to me that parents should be aware of whether or not their kids are in the water at practice. And THEY can call the shots instead of the coach having to deal with it. How is that so extreme or expecting too much? Don't you think that's a pretty reasonable compromise?

Yeah. I guess given the situation this fellow is dealing with, it probably would be. Poor guy is probably being manipulated by a bunch of young teens.

gobears
December 3rd, 2008, 03:17 PM
Yeah. I guess given the situation this fellow is dealing with, it probably would be. Poor guy is probably being manipulated by a bunch of young teens.

And, yet, you do have a point that he needs to be careful. He sounds a little frustrated and like he could be a little too intense in his posts. That may be just the frustration talking. Hopefully, he can deal with the situation in a positive way.:)

The Fortress
December 3rd, 2008, 03:23 PM
burned-out kids

What about the burned out parents?

jdut
December 3rd, 2008, 03:40 PM
I guess I am equally "mean" to both genders- my hs boys team (a separate season from the girls) also need their absences to be excused, which is appropriate for a varsity sport. I understand that the kids in question (on this thread) are middle schoolers, so make of this what you will. I do not want details on their maladies, but knowing a parent is aware of the situation is good for any age under college age (I work with ages 6 to 60 right now, and am a parent of kids fast approaching middle school age, so have some basis for this belief).

I do not think giving boys OR girls alternate workouts is punishment, per se, and my teams do not view it that way either - there are plenty of things they can do that will benefit their swimming which do not involve getting wet at certain times of the month, and daily workouts together are a great team builder so I would hate to just send a group home each day.

CoachML
December 4th, 2008, 10:02 PM
I know some USA teams would never tolerate this situation. As I said before, the girls that are going to want to excel will find a way to minimize the impact their period has on their swimming. Those are the types of girls that will swim in a top level practice in a USA group. I have a problem, though, with the idea that age-group swimming is only for the elite. There are young ladies that desire to compete in swimming that may just want to be low-key about it and not swim when they are having their periods or want to miss a practice to go to a dance. This should be o.k. for a teenager to do.
I'm particularly concerned about one 7th grade girl. She's miles above everyone else, one of my best swimmers, and she seems to be friends with the lazy ones who don't seem to care. I've got 2 in particular that seem to be influencing her in a negative way. Today, a group of 4 of them tried to skip practice to watch their schools basketball game, which happened during practice. Three weren't very good swimmers. All of them were seventh graders, and one was that one good swimmer. I gave them all strikes, and then an hour into practice (we had free time for an hour, which I planned to do on Friday, but nobody showed up today so we did it today instead) and I gave them all the chance to get that strike removed if they swam for the second half of practice. One was particularly indecisive... and I don't know why. One had to go home... which has been a constant problem with her... I've had to call her mom to see if I can get her to stay longer than an hour (practice is 2 hours). One has been on her period for the past 11 days... I don't think she wants to be on the team, and one forgot her suit - she's the good swimmer. Normally, when they forget their suit I give them a strike and tell them they can work it off by doing a dry land work out. It sorta warns them, but doesn't let them miss a practice. She said she wanted to find a suit, but then couldn't' find it, so I told her she could do the dry land work out, and she didn't want to, claiming that her shoes were slippery.

The girls at this school have a reputation for being spoiled. They used to skip practice for basketball games all the time. They used to work out for maybe 45 minutes tops. The other coach had no control of the team. They're really not used to being held responsible for showing up and trying hard. I've had to have two speeches where I simply said, "I don't care if you can't do it. I care if you don't try."

anita
December 4th, 2008, 10:31 PM
In light of the history of this team, it sounds like a parent/team meeting may be in order. The issues go way beyond tampons and attitude.

I can only relate to this as a parent by using my son's hockey team as an example. Each coach lays out very specificially what is excused (nothing) and what is expected (100% at all times, no absences, no excuses--at age appropraite levels). Parents go into the season knowing this ahead of time. The boys are expected to call the coach if they are late or not able to be there, not the parents. Boys sign contracts about behavior, attitude, etc.
I could go on, but you get the gist.

At my son's level, it is very structured with high expectations. At the club level, rules are much more lenient, however the coach still lays out expectations and appropriate behavior WITH the parents and players at a meeting.

CoachML
December 4th, 2008, 10:40 PM
One more thought and then I'll try to shut up. It occurs to me, ML, that you might need to sit back and evaluate your coaching. Your two posts concern me in that they sound awfully judgmental for a middle school swim coach (both about the girls and their parents).

You might ask yourself if there is a reason these girls don't want to swim. Are you making sure you are including the (very important--IMO) element of fun in practices? At this age level (and non-USAS) that's a pretty big deal. Maybe you're good about all that, but it's worth looking at for a moment. Too much intensity at this level is sort of silly. And, maybe if there were some kind of incentive to be in practice more, more girls would find ways to get in the water despite their bodies. Maybe you have some kind of fun reward for swimming so many practices a month? You'll catch way more bees* with honey than with vinegar, or so they say...Let's see. We had an hour of free time today in practice. I sorta planned that to be on Friday, but the whole 4 swimmers thing... I've taught them things like dolphin dives, they tell me they really like the start, turn, finish 50s. I got them a mascot that they seemed to really like. I gave them time to create their own cheers, and time to practice them - they did a really nice job with taht in the meet too (but I forgot a thank you/goodbye cheer). I try my best to compliment the things I see good. I plan to buy a poster board tomorrow, for which I've already bought stickers - each time they get a personal best they earn a sticker to go on the board. I've gotten a lot of compliments from parents, too.

I'm only particularly critical of these 4, and to be perfectly honest, I only WANT to keep 2 of the four. The two I don't want to keep are lazy and have horrible attitudes. And I still feel that one of them could stand to learn a lot if she stayed - she's started to try, but she's very irresponsible - she's the type that fails classes because she doesn't like them, she's already told me she's going to do that for one of them. It's really sad, but if I keep riding her, she'll either quit, or she'll become more responsible and hopefully mature a little bit. In a way I'm teaching more than just swimming. However, the other one is flat out lying to me. I can't exactly check. So how can I call her out on it?

elise526
December 4th, 2008, 11:18 PM
Well, you are working with a fairly tough age-group. I coached kids that age and taught 7th grade civics and 8th grade world history at my child's school. I can relate to what you are dealing with.

What I used to tell kids that age was that I would treat them like adults until they proved to me why I should not. This seemed to be very effective. It respected their independence yet when they decided to act immature, the consequences were serious. For example, if the girls skipped practice to go to a basketball game, the punishment should be that they are not allowed to swim in the next meet. Don't threaten; show you mean business.

Since some of these girls feel comfortable enough to tell you about their classes, talk to them about why they are letting themselves down by not trying their best. Find a way to show them that you believe in them. Kids work hard for coaches that believe in them. Many of the troubled ones and apathetic ones actually crave this from somebody. You are in a position to make a very positive difference in somebody's life. Be positive, but firm.

gobears
December 5th, 2008, 08:05 AM
Let's see. We had an hour of free time today in practice. I sorta planned that to be on Friday, but the whole 4 swimmers thing... I've taught them things like dolphin dives, they tell me they really like the start, turn, finish 50s. I got them a mascot that they seemed to really like. I gave them time to create their own cheers, and time to practice them - they did a really nice job with taht in the meet too (but I forgot a thank you/goodbye cheer). I try my best to compliment the things I see good. I plan to buy a poster board tomorrow, for which I've already bought stickers - each time they get a personal best they earn a sticker to go on the board. I've gotten a lot of compliments from parents, too.

I'm only particularly critical of these 4, and to be perfectly honest, I only WANT to keep 2 of the four. The two I don't want to keep are lazy and have horrible attitudes. And I still feel that one of them could stand to learn a lot if she stayed - she's started to try, but she's very irresponsible - she's the type that fails classes because she doesn't like them, she's already told me she's going to do that for one of them. It's really sad, but if I keep riding her, she'll either quit, or she'll become more responsible and hopefully mature a little bit. In a way I'm teaching more than just swimming. However, the other one is flat out lying to me. I can't exactly check. So how can I call her out on it?

Sounds like you're trying hard to make it positive and fun. I think the negativity in your posts was sheer frustration. And I can see why you are frustrated! I'd be annoyed as well.

For your own sanity, though, do what you can but let it go after that. You can only do so much to encourage someone (and you may very well be making a difference in this girl's life without knowing it). This girl sounds like she doesn't have a whole lot of support or encouragement at home. I think the team/parent meeting is a good idea. Perhaps going into your goals for the team and its prior history will be instructive for both the parents and the swimmers. I think rules and sanctions go over more successfully when swimmers understand your intentions are for their best.

Man, I hope you get this worked out soon. Hang in there and let us know what happens...

Waterbug
December 9th, 2014, 02:04 PM
Alright so this is extremely tricky. First off if you only have 20 girls on the team and 6-7 are sitting out every day then someone is lying to you because periods should only last around a week. Second off I started using tampons in middle school and while I was scared it was fine

HOWEVER

I can attest that tampons are frighteningly unreliable in the pool. Tampond will absorb pool water and the blood that comes after will be pushed past. I can't even tell you the amount of times I've gotten out of the pool only to see blood running down my leg (and I've got a regular to light flow) the only reliable thing I can think of would be menstrual cups (which are way harder to put in and even scarier for a middle school girl)

I would recommend sending an email to the parents gently suggesting to bring the subject up with them (send this to all the girls parents not just the ones who are a problem) and hopefully the mothers will take care of it.

Please keep in mind that this probably has not happened to them many times before and they are probably embarrassed and scared about what is happening to their body not to mention some girls get extremely menstrual symptoms (I would ask for a doctors note confirming that the symptoms are quality of life reducing and not just some cramps).

Another good thing to do would be get a female swimmer friend to come in and talk with all of the girls as a group privately. That might help the most.

Good luck

MarionDaniel
October 24th, 2016, 03:29 AM
I just became the coach of my first swim team, and I, being a male, am having a hard time with the whole period thing. My girls are middle school level, and a little shy about the subject, as am I. Now, I know that you can swim on your period by using a tampon, but they cringed at the idea. However, on a 20 girl team, I've got as many as 6-7 girls sitting out daily because of it. I know that's far FAR too high. I'm about this close to going out and buying a box of tampons to shove in their face if they don't dress.

So my questions are:

How necessary is it that you wear a tampon? Is it an every day thing? are there times when it's worse than others?

And, how can I easily make the lives of the swimmers who don't swim (and keep in mind it has to be for a group of 6-7 people) a living hell. I need a dry land work out that can be done on the pool deck that takes little effort to watch (so I can coach the other girls) and something they can't really slack off - I keep giving them push ups and they barely go down.

I really can't think of anything outside of making the actual swim session fun, so if you guys have ideas on how to do that too it might work, too. It need to work on something important though.

Menstruation is a part of life for women and teens. From the time they get their period until menopause, most women especially teens dread that time of the month. It isn't comfortable, unless and until the use proper menstrual products. Tampons are safe to use while swimming but they fail to provide long lasting protection as compared to menstrual cups. You can view this link (http://www.cupissima.com/index_fr.html) to help your girls to enjoy swimming during their periods.

Bobinator
October 26th, 2016, 08:43 AM
I'm a long time Track, XC, and gymnastics coach at the middle school level. These girls are milking you because you are a male.
I will say that you are probably NOT the person who needs to talk to the girls about this situation. Perhaps you could enlist an activity-friendly female PE Teacher,female- nurse, or maybe just meet with the parents of the girls and explain the need to train and the fact that physical activity will lighten their cramps, help them feel normal during their periods, and help them understand how the wonders of puberty will help them build muscle mass and become a stronger, faster swimmer. Having a period is not a sickness, it's truthfully a gift and it shouldn't be treated as a curse.
It is totally possible to swim without a tampon if the girl's aren't using them. Once they're in the water the flow will stop; the key is to get in immediately upon deck arrival.
Good luck. I still teach PE and Health in the public schools. I believe our society is turning kids into wimps these days. We need to empower our young and teach them to take great care of their body through proper nutrition and exercise. Even though pushing yourself can be a hard thing to do, the mental/physical strength gained by breaking an uncomfortable barrier can help gain self-efficacy and teach kids that they are not a victim of their body; they have total control to be healthy, strong , and unflappable!

ForceDJ
October 26th, 2016, 09:15 AM
Just pointing out that the middle school girls mentioned in the 2008 OP are now out of high school and about midway through college.

Dan

lapras
October 26th, 2016, 09:50 AM
Just pointing out that the middle school girls mentioned in the 2008 OP are now out of high school and about midway through college.

Dan


I was thinking the same thing... :bliss:

GGS5T
October 26th, 2016, 11:35 AM
I found this age group the trickiest to coach. I was at one club where a group of five girls were giving me a hard time at every workout. Their parents were never at the pool and didn't know what was going on. Also, I was never comfortable with the period problem. One evening, I'd arranged for an international female swimmer to come to the club. She was the local hero - everyone knew her, and looked up to her. While I took the session with just the boys, she took the girls upstairs to a room over the pool. She explained everything to them, and covered all subjects. She was very complementary about me too, which helped enormously.

From that day on I never had a problem with these girls. They changed their attitude completely. I also changed my approach. I made the workouts much more fun than I had done before. It's worth remembering that swimmers of all ages do not have to come to the pool. They have a choice. Make the sessions enjoyable and interesting, to the point that they don't want to go home and you will have a great team, and a great time too.

cinc3100
October 27th, 2016, 01:41 AM
Well, when I started up again in the 40's still some periods. Not always fun. Now that I'm 59 years old, no periods,yeah.

Lesha
October 16th, 2017, 02:09 AM
I disagree to this. They are middle school girls I am one myself. I have had my period. I do NOT use tampons. I havenít even looked at one. They are not for young girls. We have stuff to do in school so we want to be comfortable and not worry about if we used the tampon right or not. If you try to make them use them your gonna have some angry parents. Young girls should not have to worry about using tampons yet. They should not have to use them if they donít feel comfortable with the idea of them. It can cause pain and discomfort we have more stuff to worry about than that