A swim coach has a lot of responsibility, whether you are leading a team of young swimmers or more experienced competitors. You are responsible for organizing and directing team practices, developing meet strategies, and inspiring a desire to succeed. You also want everyone to have fun. You should work hard to improve your coaching skills and your teaching methods before you accept a position as a swim coach.
Your authority is established. Although you don’t have to be a dictator to be a great coach, your team members must listen to what you say. Start with the first practice or meeting. Establish clear rules that emphasize mutual respect, water safety, paying attention, and mutual respect. Also, specify any consequences for not adhering to these policies. After you have established your rules, adjust them as necessary based on your observations.
If you decide to make it a rule that no swimmer will be allowed to swim in a relay at the next meet if they are late for practice, it is a good idea.
If you are a college coach, however, you may be able to adjust your lateness rules temporarily for everyone during midterms and other high-activity/high-stress times for student-athletes.
Listen and communicate. Although you have authority, it doesn’t mean that you must be intimidating. Your team should respect your authority and not be afraid to talk to you. Explain why you are making a decision, implementing a strategy or new drill, or changing a policy in terms they understand. Ask them questions and listen to their answers.
You might consider giving a few minutes prior to and/or during practice to talk with parents or team members who may have questions.
Be flexible with your team. You should be ready to adjust for each team and every season. The ages of team members will affect their maturity and level of responsibility. This will affect the way you talk to them, how often they can practice, how they interact with one another, and how they swim in a meet.
Seven-year-olds may be able only to concentrate on practice for half an hour, while seventeen-year-olds might be an able to focus for one hour.
You should also be flexible with the abilities of your team members. Some members will excel at certain strokes while others may struggle at others. Some members will excel in single races, while others will do well in relays. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and make plans around them.
Try to improve your coaching skills, even if you lose a lot. Even though you may have achieved some success as a coach, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to be learned. Ask for advice from other coaches, especially those who are more experienced. Talk to parents, but also the swimmers about their thoughts, strategies, and ideas. As a coach, never stop striving to improve.
You can search online for training seminars for coaches sponsored by major swimming coaching organizations such as the ASCA.
Have fun. The stakes for your team’s success are not as high as if you’re not coaching at the top levels. Even if you’re coaching top-level swimmers it is possible to have fun and calm nerves. Smile. Smile. Share a few jokes. To break up the monotony in practice, play silly games or organize fun team-building competitions.
It’s about finding the right balance. You are their female swimming coach singapore, their friend, but not their dictator.
Swimmers, be there. You may be a role model, especially if you coach kids. You can expect them to be comfortable talking to you about swimming topics. However, they may also bring up other concerns such as grades, relationships, and home life. Encourage them by listening.
Recognize when it is your responsibility to provide counsel and when it is best to seek out the help of others (e.g. parents, school officials or counselors or even social services, law enforcement, or social services). For guidance, refer to your organizational and training rules.
Success is more than winning. Yes, coaching success is tied to results. You may need to achieve results to stay as a coach. But, winnings and losses don’t always matter, especially when you coach children. You can make a greater impact on your team members by asking questions such as: How are they improving? Are they willing to give their best effort every time? Are they having fun?
Before emphasizing endurance, teach proper technique. Swimming teams that win are known for their superiority in physical fitness and technique. However, it is important to instill good technical skills in your swimmers. You can then build swimmers’ endurance and maintain good technique.
Before you ask swimmers to practice endless laps with the freestyle stroke, ensure they have mastered a consistent, relaxed, and repeatable breathing technique.
Learn one skill at a given time. It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching a group of competitors or children who are just starting out in the pool, it’s best to focus on one skill at a given time. Instead of trying to teach swimmers arm positioning for butterfly stroke or pushing off on turns simultaneously, you should focus on just one skill.
Coaches recommend that you dedicate six practice sessions to a specific skill, such as proper backstroke arm rotation. If the swimmers are still struggling to master the skill, it is usually an indication that you should try a new teaching method.
You will be able to move up the technique ladder. You, as the coach, will have to decide when and what skills you teach to your team members based on their age and skill level. There is a hierarchy of skills that you can use to swim, which can be used as a guideline.
- Swimming allows you to relax your body and breathe.
- For specific strokes, body positioning
- Body alignment and coordination of arm movement and body movements
- Arm stroke length and rate
- Kick timing and power
Practice speed is an estimate of the competition. You can win meets and races no matter how far you swim or what stroke you use. While slow, steady, and endless laps can be great for recreation, your team must practice swimming fast to compete at the same speed. It is difficult to swim slowly and then switch to fast swimming during a meet.
When you are gaining fitness and stamina and when learning new techniques, it is better to practice slowly. These techniques should be practiced at speeds at least equal to the competition. If they don’t, their technique could be sloppy when it comes to going fast.
Encourage your swimmers. Mental aspects of coaching, training, and competing should not be overlooked. Encourage your swimmers to build confidence and improve their skills. Positive, encouraging words are better than negative: “I know that you can do it — we’ll get there the next time!” rather than “That’s just too bad — you won’t win with that level of effort.”
Imagine your team succeeding together. If you don’t believe or visualize yourself succeeding, it’s difficult to swim at your best. You can lead your team by using visualization techniques during breaks and before meets. It is great to visualize yourself doing your best. Overcome your fears you don’t want to come up short.
Receive any training or certification that is required.No matter if you are a novice coach or an experienced one, it is important to keep current with any certifications or training required by your league, organization, or sanctioning body. To become certified, coaches must complete the Foundations of Coaching series, which is two parts and approximately seven hours in length.
For swim coaches, most organizations do not require formal education beyond a high school diploma. However, college coaches may need a B.A. Degrees in sports management, physical education, and exercise science are all acceptable.
Learn the rules and regulations of your league. You, as the coach, are responsible for understanding the rules of the league in which you compete. After you’ve read the rules, make sure your team members understand them and follow them.
This includes both league-mandated and common-sense safety procedures and practices. Safety is essential in all sports including swimming. For example, when working with a swim team, be aware of rough-housing or horse-play during practices. This will prevent any accidents.
Swim coaching organizations are available. Even if your league or the sanctioning body doesn’t require it, you can often access a wide range of coaching enhancement materials online by joining a relevant coach organization. You will also be able to communicate with other coaches and share your best practices and most effective techniques with them.
For example, in the U.S., the American Swimming Coaches Association and the Amateur Athletic Union; U.S Masters Swimming (USMS); or YMCA.
Learn and watch videos about swimming coaching. You can find dozens of books about swimming coaching by doing a quick internet search. Make sure to consult reviews and get peer recommendations before you decide which one to read. Members of coaching associations often have access to online training and enrichment courses. You can also check out YouTube videos about swim coaching.
The National Federation of State High School Associations of America (NFHS), for example, can order a series of courses on coaching swimming.
As a coach, be yourself you should always learn from coaches and other experts in swimming coaching. You are the coach, and you must use the style and tactics that work for you and your team.
Some coaches can be a little sterner than others; others prefer to teach one type of turn technique while others prefer another.
In practices for relay and individual races, you will be teaching four strokes: butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke. To ensure that your team performs at its best, you will need to be familiar with the mechanics of each stroke.
- Freestyle involves swimming in an overarm stroke and flutter-kicking. Swimmers should keep their face in the water and turn side to side to take in oxygen every two to three strokes.
- Backstroke involves swimming on your back, floating with an overarm stroke and a flutter kick.
- Breaststroke involves swimming in circular motions with both arms and legs while bouncing the head in and back of the water to inhale.
- The butterfly is the most difficult stroke. You do this by swimming with a dolphin kick and extending your arms in a keyhole-shaped motion.