Young, first-time summer swim coach seeking advice!



K

Katie

Guest
Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year but
have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my best
effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my heart. I'm
here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would be
most appreciated. Thanks so much!
 
A

Al

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year
> but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my
> best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my heart.
> I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would
> be most appreciated. Thanks so much!

Chase any parents off the pool deck with a stick that attempt to communicate with swimmers during
practice (if you let them get that close to the pool to begin with.)

- Al
 
D

Diablo

Guest
Katie,

Its kind of hard to know where to start. are you looking at programming and planning, ideas for sets
and drills, etc? also, what is the ability level, even rough examples of times, size of squad etc
would be helpful. i'd love to help you out, if you can narrow down what you need!

Steve

"Katie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year
> but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my
> best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my heart.
> I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would
> be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
 
D

De Valois

Guest
Katie left this mess on 14 Feb 2004 16:57:15 -0800 for The Way to clean up:
>
>Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
>summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year
>but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my
>best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my heart.
>I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would
>be most appreciated. Thanks so much!

Katie, as a former swimmer, a coach AND a parent...

Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Then count to a hundred. Take another breath. Then deal with it :)

Tao te Carl "It takes a village to have an idiot." - Carl (c) 2003

(Kudos to Cap'n Jim Wyatt for this link) BEFORE you ask a dumb-ass question
here...http://www.speakeasy.org/~neilco/bart.gif
 
C

Count Scrofula

Guest
"Al" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> > Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> > summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year
> > but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my
> > best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my
> > heart. I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of
> > swimmers would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
>
> Chase any parents off the pool deck with a stick that attempt to communicate with swimmers during
> practice (if you let them get that close to the pool to begin with.)
>
> - Al

take Al's comment with a grain of salt...as a new and young coach, you'll NEED lots of parent
support, so be diplomatic in kicking the parents out. Sure, on a year-round dedicated team you need
to keep a leash on some of the semi-pro coach parents, but on summer teams your more likely issue is
the mom who wants to baby a six to ten year old doing swimming for the first time. Keep in mind,
you're coaching a summer team here, not coaching junior nationals...if you alienate the parents,
you're not going to be a head coach for long. You're going to have a lot of very inexperienced
swimmers and parents will want to be involved. Figure out and make clear what's acceptable and
unacceptable, when they can talk to you, etc. Coaches are hired to impart their knowledge, but it
doesn't mean you know everything...I've seen a number of coaches who seem to think they know it all!
Use parents to your advantage...you can quickly figure out a who a few parents are who are reliable
and dedicated, use them for running interference with other parents...on my daughter's team I and a
couple of other parents try to get between the coach and new parents at practice, answering the
questions we can and filling them in on the basic rules. Our team is a year-round USA/YMCA team and
has a dozen or so strong 10 and unders and another 60 or so who range from beginning five year olds
to medicore swimming early teens...there's little or no problem with the parents trying to coach,
it's definitely more the mom's trying to mollycoddle.

On the other hand, you do need to establish that you are the coach and you do rule the pool...young
coaches, especially female, can have problems with smartassed teen boys. kick their butts for
talking when you are talking, etc. Keep it fun, but when you're speaking everyone needs to shut up.
 
S

Swanger

Guest
"Al" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> > Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> > summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year
> > but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my
> > best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my
> > heart. I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of
> > swimmers would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
>
> Chase any parents off the pool deck with a stick that attempt to communicate with swimmers during
> practice (if you let them get that close to the pool to begin with.)

LOL,,,,our floundering local municipal pool finally got taken over by a first rate swim team from
the next town over. My daughter had been swimming their, but now we can conveniently drive around
the corner for swim practice. The other pool had stands and specific areas, well away from the deck,
for the parents to watch. The new pool has no designations. So far, some of us parents have been
standing right on the deck with the coaches. I don't say a damn word, as well, I tell the other
parents to stay quiet! I'm really enjoying the better view. However, I suppose once the team gets
bigger, our close proximity deck view will be ended.

Rick Swanger
 
A

Al

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
>
> "Al" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> > > Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> > > summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last
> > > year but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give
> > > it my best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to
> > > my heart. I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of
> > > swimmers would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
> >
> > Chase any parents off the pool deck with a stick that attempt to communicate with swimmers
> > during practice (if you let them get that close to the pool to begin with.)
> >
> > - Al
>
> take Al's comment with a grain of salt...as a new and young coach, you'll NEED lots of parent
> support, so be diplomatic in kicking the parents out. Sure, on a year-round dedicated team you
> need to keep a leash on some of the semi-pro coach parents, but on summer teams your more likely
> issue is the mom who wants to baby a six to ten year old doing swimming for the first time. Keep
> in mind, you're coaching a summer team here, not coaching junior nationals...if you alienate the
> parents, you're not going to be a head coach for long. You're going to have a lot of very
> inexperienced swimmers and parents will want to be involved. Figure out and make clear what's
> acceptable and unacceptable, when they can talk to you, etc. Coaches are hired to impart their
> knowledge, but it doesn't mean you know everything...I've seen a number of coaches who seem to
> think they know it all! Use parents to your advantage...you can quickly figure out a who a few
> parents are who are reliable and dedicated, use them for running interference with other
> parents...on my daughter's team I and a couple of other parents try to get between the coach and
> new parents at practice, answering the questions we can and filling them in on the basic rules.
> Our team is a year-round USA/YMCA team and has a dozen or so strong 10 and unders and another 60
> or so who range from beginning five year olds to medicore swimming early teens...there's little or
> no problem with the parents trying to coach, it's definitely more the mom's trying to mollycoddle.
>
> On the other hand, you do need to establish that you are the coach and you do rule the
> pool...young coaches, especially female, can have problems with smartassed teen boys. kick their
> butts for talking when you are talking, etc. Keep it fun, but when you're speaking everyone needs
> to shut up.

Glad you added these comments - it's good (particularly for a new coach) to hear from someone a
little less jaded when it comes to parents :)

- Al
 
C

Count Scrofula

Guest
"Al" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> >
> > "Al" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> > > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> > > > Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently
got
> > > > a job as head coach for a summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant
> > > > for a different team last year but have
never
> > > > been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want
to
> > > > give it my best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's
a
> > > > sport that is very close to my heart. I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from
> > > > coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
> > >
> > > Chase any parents off the pool deck with a stick that attempt to communicate with swimmers
> > > during practice (if you let them get that close to the pool to begin with.)
> > >
> > > - Al
> >
> > take Al's comment with a grain of salt...as a new and young coach,
you'll
> > NEED lots of parent support, so be diplomatic in kicking the parents
out.
> > Sure, on a year-round dedicated team you need to keep a leash on some of
the
> > semi-pro coach parents, but on summer teams your more likely issue is
the
> > mom who wants to baby a six to ten year old doing swimming for the first time. Keep in mind,
> > you're coaching a summer team here, not coaching
junior
> > nationals...if you alienate the parents, you're not going to be a head
coach
> > for long. You're going to have a lot of very inexperienced swimmers and parents will want to be
> > involved. Figure out and make clear what's acceptable and unacceptable, when they can talk to
> > you, etc. Coaches
are
> > hired to impart their knowledge, but it doesn't mean you know everything...I've seen a number of
> > coaches who seem to think they know
it
> > all! Use parents to your advantage...you can quickly figure out a who a
few
> > parents are who are reliable and dedicated, use them for running interference with other
> > parents...on my daughter's team I and a couple
of
> > other parents try to get between the coach and new parents at practice, answering the questions
> > we can and filling them in on the basic rules.
Our
> > team is a year-round USA/YMCA team and has a dozen or so strong 10 and unders and another 60 or
> > so who range from beginning five year olds to medicore swimming early teens...there's little or
> > no problem with the parents trying to coach, it's definitely more the mom's trying to
> > mollycoddle.
> >
> > On the other hand, you do need to establish that you are the coach and
you
> > do rule the pool...young coaches, especially female, can have problems
with
> > smartassed teen boys. kick their butts for talking when you are
talking,
> > etc. Keep it fun, but when you're speaking everyone needs to shut up.
>
> Glad you added these comments - it's good (particularly for a new coach) to hear from someone a
> little less jaded when it comes to parents :)
>
> - Al

Hey, there are plenty of us swim parents who are pretty bad, but there are more of us who try and
help and, if possible, do the things the coaches ask us to do. Unfortunately,the majority,
especially with summer teams, are mostly disinterested beyond the fact it serves as partial
daycare/babysitter.

Summer swim teams are a different animal than the year round...my daughter's YMCA team swells from
about 60+ in the rest of the year to about 100 in the summer, and way too many of those parents see
it as an extension of daycamp.

You'll really need to figure out who's who among the parents, ignore the ones who ignore you,
cultivate the useful ones and keep an eye on the troublemakers...nothing will get you canned quicker
than a bunch of p.o.'d parents!
 
A

Al

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> Hey, there are plenty of us swim parents who are pretty bad, but there are more of us who try and
> help and, if possible, do the things the coaches ask us to do. Unfortunately,the majority,
> especially with summer teams, are mostly disinterested beyond the fact it serves as partial
> daycare/babysitter.

Yes, the parents interested in helping without expecting anything in return (e.g., a spot on a relay
for their kid) are a Godsend.

> Summer swim teams are a different animal than the year round...my daughter's YMCA team swells from
> about 60+ in the rest of the year to about 100 in the summer, and way too many of those parents
> see it as an extension of daycamp.
>
> You'll really need to figure out who's who among the parents, ignore the ones who ignore you,
> cultivate the useful ones and keep an eye on the troublemakers...nothing will get you canned
> quicker than a bunch of p.o.'d parents!

Been there, done that... er, had it done to me, I should say.

- Al
 
K

Katie

Guest
"diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Katie,
>
> Its kind of hard to know where to start. are you looking at programming and planning, ideas for
> sets and drills, etc? also, what is the ability level, even rough examples of times, size of squad
> etc would be helpful. i'd love to help you out, if you can narrow down what you need!
>
> Steve
>

Steve,

My team has about sixty swimmers, seventy if you count guppies. They are slightly higher in ability
than the swimmers I worked with last year, but that's not saying very much. Although there are a
few who are above average, most are at the very beginning level. With the ten and unders 25 free,
we're talking about thirty five seconds would be pretty good for this group; with the older kids'
50 free, anything under a minute is good. All in all, mostly novices with a few at the higher
levels (maybe one or two get under 35 seconds in the fifty free). There aren't many older kids; we
have five 15/18's that I know of but they're fourteen year olds who've just moved up; guppies can
be as young as four.

I'm looking for any help you have! Mostly help on how to deal with difficult parents, though the
advice that's already been given is very good. :) Drill ideas for novice swimmers would also be
great: especially for teaching them to do the strokes legally...

Thanks so much for your interest; I really appreciate it!

To those who replied about the parents: points taken, both of them. I will try to find a middle
ground. ;)
 
C

Count Scrofula

Guest
Here's another thought...figure out who really runs things in the organization and what is the
direction they want the team to go. At my daughter's Y, we lost the coach a little over a year ago
when she refused to play the political games of the folks on the Y exec board as the Y folks
responded to the squeaky wheel of the day...which at that point was handful of vocal lap swimmers
****** off the swim team had grown from under 20 to 70+ kids and they no longer had a pool to
themselves at all hours . The coach quit, the Y announced they weren't going to swim USA any
more...then we parents started squeaking, and the Y came back around to USA and hired a good coach.
I sat with the director of the Y and just asked him to cut the BS and just let me know the direction
of the team...if they wanted a developmental team doing Y meets only, fine, we were going to find
another team. If they were going to put forth an effort to accomodate all kids, from the couple of
boys with downs syndrome, to the 35 second 25 yard free kids, to the better kids like my daughter
(she's one of the top eight year olds in dallas and all north texas), then great. I like having my
kid on a team that has room for everyone, not just focusing on the elite swimmers, but not ignoring
them, either.

the previous coach and the exec board clearly had different perspectives of what the team was to be.
i think getting it straight between yourself and the powers that be and then communicating that to
the parents is vital.

"Katie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> "diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> > Katie,
> >
> > Its kind of hard to know where to start. are you looking at programming
and
> > planning, ideas for sets and drills, etc? also, what is the ability
level,
> > even rough examples of times, size of squad etc would be helpful. i'd
love
> > to help you out, if you can narrow down what you need!
> >
> > Steve
> >
>
> Steve,
>
> My team has about sixty swimmers, seventy if you count guppies. They are slightly higher in
> ability than the swimmers I worked with last year, but that's not saying very much. Although there
> are a few who are above average, most are at the very beginning level. With the ten and unders 25
> free, we're talking about thirty five seconds would be pretty good for this group; with the older
> kids' 50 free, anything under a minute is good. All in all, mostly novices with a few at the
> higher levels (maybe one or two get under 35 seconds in the fifty free). There aren't many older
> kids; we have five 15/18's that I know of but they're fourteen year olds who've just moved up;
> guppies can be as young as four.
>
> I'm looking for any help you have! Mostly help on how to deal with difficult parents, though the
> advice that's already been given is very good. :) Drill ideas for novice swimmers would also be
> great: especially for teaching them to do the strokes legally...
>
> Thanks so much for your interest; I really appreciate it!
>
> To those who replied about the parents: points taken, both of them. I will try to find a middle
> ground. ;)
 
D

Duncan Heenan

Guest
"Katie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> "diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> > Katie,
> >
> > Its kind of hard to know where to start. are you looking at programming
and
> > planning, ideas for sets and drills, etc? also, what is the ability
level,
> > even rough examples of times, size of squad etc would be helpful. i'd
love
> > to help you out, if you can narrow down what you need!
> >
> > Steve
> >
>
> Steve,
>
> My team has about sixty swimmers, seventy if you count guppies. They are slightly higher in
> ability than the swimmers I worked with last year, but that's not saying very much. Although there
> are a few who are above average, most are at the very beginning level. With the ten and unders 25
> free, we're talking about thirty five seconds would be pretty good for this group; with the older
> kids' 50 free, anything under a minute is good. All in all, mostly novices with a few at the
> higher levels (maybe one or two get under 35 seconds in the fifty free). There aren't many older
> kids; we have five 15/18's that I know of but they're fourteen year olds who've just moved up;
> guppies can be as young as four.
>
> I'm looking for any help you have! Mostly help on how to deal with difficult parents, though the
> advice that's already been given is very good. :) Drill ideas for novice swimmers would also be
> great: especially for teaching them to do the strokes legally...
>
> Thanks so much for your interest; I really appreciate it!
>
> To those who replied about the parents: points taken, both of them. I will try to find a middle
> ground. ;)

The best strategy for 'difficult' parents is to get a swim session for them to swim themselves. If
the join and you coach them, they'll suddenly become understanding, if they won't join they'll shut
up out of shame. Either way, they'll be grateful to you for doing something for them as well as
their kids, and see you in a better light.
 
D

Diablo

Guest
Mike, i thought that was a great piece, and offered Katie some sound advice.

My only point would be that the training methods you described for her group, (aerobic threshold,
lactate production and lactate tolerance no less!), are way out of their league i imagine.

I would probably be doing a fairly lengthy warm up daily, (1000-1200 yards) which will cover your
aerobic needs, The remainder of the time i would spend on drills, short sprints such as builds and
breaks and then ancilliary skills such as turns and starts, with relays games and novelties mixed
in. from what i gather of the general summer league programs, you have no need to be doing anything
but this type of work.

"Mike Edey" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:p[email protected]...
> On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 16:57:15 -0800, Katie wrote:
>
> > Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> > summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year
> > but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my
> > best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my
> > heart. I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of
> > swimmers would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
>
> I was in a similar position not too long ago. I'd had a lot of experience as an athlete, and some
> informal coaching, but I hadn't had anything to do with summer swimming whatsoever. There was only
> a little culture shock ;). At any rate I did have some good resources to work with, and a great
> club filled with people who, oh my, actually _liked_ swimming. That group of people are the
> biggest reason I have anything to do with the sport - it wasn't that long ago that my own
> experiences & baggage (not to mention the politics, the bickering and all the rest of the ****)
> had pretty much driven me from the pool entirely. That being said there are a few points I found
> valuable - I hope they may be of use to yourself:
>
> -Keep a log book. Keep _everything_ in the log book. Workouts as planned, workouts as
> accomplished. Attendance. Meet results & splits. Notes for newsletters. Executive meeting notes.
> Meet entry deadlines & reminders. Notes regarding behavior & disciplinary problems (best to get
> another person to initial those too, just in case). This book will be your bible, don't leave home
> without it. A water resistant cover is important.
>
> -Talk to your parents. Swim club parents, regardless of experience, _love_ to talk about their
> kid. Talking about their kid is simply the best & most efficient way to win a loyal supporter. It
> doesn't take a big group of kids to find a substantial number of capable/industrious parents so
> make sure they're working with you.
>
> -Technique, technique, technique. Here the summer club season (for those making provincials) runs
> about 15 weeks. There's no way you're going to get in enough fitness work in that time to better
> improvements from technical development or growth. Strength and fitness are important, but should
> be secondary goals. Hammer home the important technical points - streamlines, breathing patterns,
> starts & turns, clean pulls & relaxed recoveries, stroke length+rate.
>
> -Planning. be sure that your workouts cover most of the energy systems on a regular basis.
> Here our summer club swimmers race every weekend in june & july and the culture expects pb's
> pretty much every weekend. You might then want to consider swimming some aerobic work every
> day, some threshold work a couple times a week, some lactate production a couple times a week
> and (maybe) some lactate tolerance once a week. Use that big swack of aerobic work to practice
> turns & skills/drills. You might need to introduce your kids to the concept of 'appropriate
> intensity' - most will prob be familiar with '50fr race pace' & 'jumping off the
> bottom/warmup' and little else.
>
> -KISS. 95% of your kids, 95% of the time, need to hear the same things as the rest of the group.
> Over & over again. This means you'll end up repeating the same advice 90% of the time. Don't try
> to get to fancy, or spend too much time trying to mold little Johnny, the 45sec 50freestyler, into
> an Olympic contender by tues. Just because you might know how you'd like your kids strokes (or
> mental skills or race plans or fitness goals or....) to change doesn't mean they'll have to skills
> & background to make those changes. Pick a few points you'd like to work on, establish _one_
> phrase to identify each one, attempt _many_ descriptions (verbal, visual, kinesthetic) for each.
> Spend some time trying to 'close the feedback loop'
> - to associate the 'feel' of the stroke/skill with the visual identification. Video work is ideal
> for this, but not usually practical. How creative can you be in your attempts to close the loop?
> Please share exercises you find useful ;)
>
> -Talk. Many coaches are more then happy to offer advice, you just have to ask. Well that's not
> entirely true - it helps _enormously_ if you have a clear, succinct question to ask. Eric Raymond
> wrote a great paper "How to ask questions the smart way" (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-
> questions.html) which, while originally intended to ease the pain of seeking advice from the
> resident techy, offers great advice for obtaining useful information from those who might not feel
> any great obligation to share with you.
>
> -Enjoy successes. There are so many ways to be successful at the pool - the only hard part is
> recognizing & appreciating them. As a swimmer it's easy to get hung up on a race that was a little
> dissapointing, time wise, and neglect the great turns or adherence to race plan, or focus, or
> start, or reaction time, or streamlines, or break outs, or transitions, or kick, or breathing
> pattern, or body position, or stroke form, or approach, or turns, or aggressiveness, or
> graciousness, or cheering, or team leadership or workout attendance, or attention to stretching,
> or warmups, or warmdowns, or good use of the pace clock, or attention in workout, or 'water bottle
> attendance', or ....
>
> As a coach the same applies - you're there to help aid the growth & development of a group of
> children, both as athletes & people. Should this same group of kids swim fast on weekend X so much
> the better, but that's a side benefit. Just as there's many ways to be a better swimmer there's
> many ways to be a better coach. Don't neglect the countless ways you can be a better role
> model/manager/director/counsellor. How many ways did you succeed today?
>
> --Mike
 
C

Count Scrofula

Guest
"diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:eek:[email protected]...
> Mike, i thought that was a great piece, and offered Katie some sound
advice.
>
> My only point would be that the training methods you described for her group, (aerobic threshold,
> lactate production and lactate tolerance no less!), are way out of their league i imagine.
>
> I would probably be doing a fairly lengthy warm up daily, (1000-1200
yards)
> which will cover your aerobic needs, The remainder of the time i would
spend
> on drills, short sprints such as builds and breaks and then ancilliary skills such as turns and
> starts, with relays games and novelties mixed in. from what i gather of the general summer league
> programs, you have no need to be doing anything but this type of work.

Even that sounds like too much, at least on the warmup end...if the bulk of the team would be happy
with 35 second 25 frees, a thousand will take about an hour!
>
>
>
> "Mike Edey" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:p[email protected]...
> > On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 16:57:15 -0800, Katie wrote:
> >
> > > Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got
a
> > > job as head coach for a summer swim team and am very excited about it.
I
> > > was an assistant for a different team last year but have never been a head coach before. I'm
> > > enthusiastic about this job and want to give
it
> > > my best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my
> > > heart. I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of
> > > swimmers would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
> >
> > I was in a similar position not too long ago. I'd had a lot of
experience
> > as an athlete, and some informal coaching, but I hadn't had anything to
do
> > with summer swimming whatsoever. There was only a little culture shock
;).
> > At any rate I did have some good resources to work with, and a great
club
> > filled with people who, oh my, actually _liked_ swimming. That group of people are the biggest
> > reason I have anything to do with the sport - it wasn't that long ago that my own experiences &
> > baggage (not to mention
the
> > politics, the bickering and all the rest of the ****) had pretty much driven me from the pool
> > entirely. That being said there are a few points
I
> > found valuable - I hope they may be of use to yourself:
> >
> > -Keep a log book. Keep _everything_ in the log book. Workouts as
planned,
> > workouts as accomplished. Attendance. Meet results & splits. Notes for newsletters. Executive
> > meeting notes. Meet entry deadlines & reminders. Notes regarding behavior & disciplinary
> > problems (best to get another person to initial those too, just in case). This book will be your
bible,
> > don't leave home without it. A water resistant cover is important.
> >
> > -Talk to your parents. Swim club parents, regardless of experience,
_love_
> > to talk about their kid. Talking about their kid is simply the best &
most
> > efficient way to win a loyal supporter. It doesn't take a big group of kids to find a
> > substantial number of capable/industrious parents so make sure they're working with you.
> >
> > -Technique, technique, technique. Here the summer club season (for those making provincials)
> > runs about 15 weeks. There's no way you're going to get in enough fitness work in that time to
> > better improvements from technical development or growth. Strength and fitness are important,
> > but should be secondary goals. Hammer home the important technical points - streamlines,
> > breathing patterns, starts & turns, clean pulls & relaxed recoveries, stroke length+rate.
> >
> > -Planning. be sure that your workouts cover most of the energy systems
on
> > a regular basis. Here our summer club swimmers race every weekend in
june
> > & july and the culture expects pb's pretty much every weekend. You might then want to consider
> > swimming some aerobic work every day, some
threshold
> > work a couple times a week, some lactate production a couple times a
week
> > and (maybe) some lactate tolerance once a week. Use that big swack of aerobic work to practice
> > turns & skills/drills. You might need to introduce your kids to the concept of 'appropriate
> > intensity' - most
will
> > prob be familiar with '50fr race pace' & 'jumping off the bottom/warmup' and little else.
> >
> > -KISS. 95% of your kids, 95% of the time, need to hear the same things
as
> > the rest of the group. Over & over again. This means you'll end up repeating the same advice
> > 90% of the time. Don't try to get to fancy, or spend too much time trying to mold little
> > Johnny, the 45sec
50freestyler,
> > into an Olympic contender by tues. Just because you might know how you'd like your kids strokes
> > (or mental skills or race plans or fitness goals or....) to change doesn't mean they'll have to
> > skills & background to
make
> > those changes. Pick a few points you'd like to work on, establish _one_ phrase to identify each
> > one, attempt _many_ descriptions (verbal,
visual,
> > kinesthetic) for each. Spend some time trying to 'close the feedback
loop'
> > - to associate the 'feel' of the stroke/skill with the visual identification. Video work is
> > ideal for this, but not usually practical. How creative can you be in your attempts to close
> > the loop? Please share exercises you find useful ;)
> >
> > -Talk. Many coaches are more then happy to offer advice, you just have
to
> > ask. Well that's not entirely true - it helps _enormously_ if you have a clear, succinct
> > question to ask. Eric Raymond wrote a great paper "How
to
> > ask questions the smart way" (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) which, while
> > originally intended to ease the pain of seeking advice from the resident techy, offers great
> > advice for obtaining useful information from those
who
> > might not feel any great obligation to share with you.
> >
> > -Enjoy successes. There are so many ways to be successful at the pool - the only hard part is
> > recognizing & appreciating them. As a swimmer it's easy to get hung up on a race that was a
> > little dissapointing, time
wise,
> > and neglect the great turns or adherence to race plan, or focus, or
start,
> > or reaction time, or streamlines, or break outs, or transitions, or
kick,
> > or breathing pattern, or body position, or stroke form, or approach, or turns, or
> > aggressiveness, or graciousness, or cheering, or team
leadership
> > or workout attendance, or attention to stretching, or warmups, or warmdowns, or good use of the
> > pace clock, or attention in workout, or 'water bottle attendance', or ....
> >
> > As a coach the same applies - you're there to help aid the growth & development of a group of
> > children, both as athletes & people. Should
this
> > same group of kids swim fast on weekend X so much the better, but that's
a
> > side benefit. Just as there's many ways to be a better swimmer there's many ways to be a better
> > coach. Don't neglect the countless ways you can be a better role
> > model/manager/director/counsellor. How many ways did
you
> > succeed today?
> >
> > --Mike
 
D

Diablo

Guest
thought they were 35 second 50's. my bad...

in that case, yeah, all drills, all short sprints, all novelty skill work.

"Count Scrofula" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> "diablo" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:eek:[email protected]...
> > Mike, i thought that was a great piece, and offered Katie some sound
> advice.
> >
> > My only point would be that the training methods you described for her group, (aerobic
> > threshold, lactate production and lactate tolerance no less!), are way out of their league i
> > imagine.
> >
> > I would probably be doing a fairly lengthy warm up daily, (1000-1200
> yards)
> > which will cover your aerobic needs, The remainder of the time i would
> spend
> > on drills, short sprints such as builds and breaks and then ancilliary skills such as turns and
> > starts, with relays games and novelties mixed
in.
> > from what i gather of the general summer league programs, you have no
need
> > to be doing anything but this type of work.
>
>
>
> Even that sounds like too much, at least on the warmup end...if the bulk
of
> the team would be happy with 35 second 25 frees, a thousand will take
about
> an hour!
> >
> >
> >
> > "Mike Edey" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > news:p[email protected]...
> > > On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 16:57:15 -0800, Katie wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently
got
> a
> > > > job as head coach for a summer swim team and am very excited about
it.
> I
> > > > was an assistant for a different team last year but have never been
a
> > > > head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give
> it
> > > > my best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to
> > > > my heart. I'm here to ask for some advice:
any
> > > > tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would be
most
> > > > appreciated. Thanks so much!
> > >
> > > I was in a similar position not too long ago. I'd had a lot of
> experience
> > > as an athlete, and some informal coaching, but I hadn't had anything
to
> do
> > > with summer swimming whatsoever. There was only a little culture shock
> ;).
> > > At any rate I did have some good resources to work with, and a great
> club
> > > filled with people who, oh my, actually _liked_ swimming. That group
of
> > > people are the biggest reason I have anything to do with the sport -
it
> > > wasn't that long ago that my own experiences & baggage (not to mention
> the
> > > politics, the bickering and all the rest of the ****) had pretty much driven me from the pool
> > > entirely. That being said there are a few
points
> I
> > > found valuable - I hope they may be of use to yourself:
> > >
> > > -Keep a log book. Keep _everything_ in the log book. Workouts as
> planned,
> > > workouts as accomplished. Attendance. Meet results & splits. Notes for newsletters. Executive
> > > meeting notes. Meet entry deadlines &
reminders.
> > > Notes regarding behavior & disciplinary problems (best to get another person to initial those
> > > too, just in case). This book will be your
> bible,
> > > don't leave home without it. A water resistant cover is important.
> > >
> > > -Talk to your parents. Swim club parents, regardless of experience,
> _love_
> > > to talk about their kid. Talking about their kid is simply the best &
> most
> > > efficient way to win a loyal supporter. It doesn't take a big group of kids to find a
> > > substantial number of capable/industrious parents so
make
> > > sure they're working with you.
> > >
> > > -Technique, technique, technique. Here the summer club season (for
those
> > > making provincials) runs about 15 weeks. There's no way you're going
to
> > > get in enough fitness work in that time to better improvements from technical development or
> > > growth. Strength and fitness are important,
but
> > > should be secondary goals. Hammer home the important technical
points -
> > > streamlines, breathing patterns, starts & turns, clean pulls & relaxed recoveries, stroke
> > > length+rate.
> > >
> > > -Planning. be sure that your workouts cover most of the energy systems
> on
> > > a regular basis. Here our summer club swimmers race every weekend in
> june
> > > & july and the culture expects pb's pretty much every weekend. You
might
> > > then want to consider swimming some aerobic work every day, some
> threshold
> > > work a couple times a week, some lactate production a couple times a
> week
> > > and (maybe) some lactate tolerance once a week. Use that big swack of aerobic work to practice
> > > turns & skills/drills. You might need to introduce your kids to the concept of 'appropriate
> > > intensity' - most
> will
> > > prob be familiar with '50fr race pace' & 'jumping off the
bottom/warmup'
> > > and little else.
> > >
> > > -KISS. 95% of your kids, 95% of the time, need to hear the same things
> as
> > > the rest of the group. Over & over again. This means you'll end up repeating the same advice
> > > 90% of the time. Don't try to get to fancy,
or
> > > spend too much time trying to mold little Johnny, the 45sec
> 50freestyler,
> > > into an Olympic contender by tues. Just because you might know how
you'd
> > > like your kids strokes (or mental skills or race plans or fitness
goals
> > > or....) to change doesn't mean they'll have to skills & background to
> make
> > > those changes. Pick a few points you'd like to work on, establish
_one_
> > > phrase to identify each one, attempt _many_ descriptions (verbal,
> visual,
> > > kinesthetic) for each. Spend some time trying to 'close the feedback
> loop'
> > > - to associate the 'feel' of the stroke/skill with the visual identification. Video work is
> > > ideal for this, but not usually
practical.
> > > How creative can you be in your attempts to close the loop? Please
share
> > > exercises you find useful ;)
> > >
> > > -Talk. Many coaches are more then happy to offer advice, you just have
> to
> > > ask. Well that's not entirely true - it helps _enormously_ if you have
a
> > > clear, succinct question to ask. Eric Raymond wrote a great paper "How
> to
> > > ask questions the smart way" (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) which, while
> > > originally intended to ease the pain of seeking advice from the
resident
> > > techy, offers great advice for obtaining useful information from those
> who
> > > might not feel any great obligation to share with you.
> > >
> > > -Enjoy successes. There are so many ways to be successful at the
pool -
> > > the only hard part is recognizing & appreciating them. As a swimmer
it's
> > > easy to get hung up on a race that was a little dissapointing, time
> wise,
> > > and neglect the great turns or adherence to race plan, or focus, or
> start,
> > > or reaction time, or streamlines, or break outs, or transitions, or
> kick,
> > > or breathing pattern, or body position, or stroke form, or approach,
or
> > > turns, or aggressiveness, or graciousness, or cheering, or team
> leadership
> > > or workout attendance, or attention to stretching, or warmups, or warmdowns, or good use of
> > > the pace clock, or attention in workout, or 'water bottle attendance', or ....
> > >
> > > As a coach the same applies - you're there to help aid the growth & development of a group of
> > > children, both as athletes & people. Should
> this
> > > same group of kids swim fast on weekend X so much the better, but
that's
> a
> > > side benefit. Just as there's many ways to be a better swimmer there's many ways to be a
> > > better coach. Don't neglect the countless ways you
can
> > > be a better role model/manager/director/counsellor. How many ways did
> you
> > > succeed today?
> > >
> > > --Mike
> >
>
 
S

Stp

Guest
"Katie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> summer swim team and am very excited about it. I was an assistant for a different team last year
> but have never been a head coach before. I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my
> best effort; I've been swimming for twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my heart.
> I'm here to ask for some advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would
> be most appreciated. Thanks so much!

I'll leave the in pool advise to the experts but as a former parent board prez for a summer league
team, here's some observations.

The job is more than just coaching. You're the CEO of the team. You probably report to a parent
board but you're ultimately responsible for the whole shebang so think of yourself as a manager not
just the coach. Learn to manage, delegate and supervise. Don't try to do everything yourself but you
do need to make sure everything gets done. If coaching is your life's ambition, these are skills
you'll have to master. If this is just a temporary stop on the road to somewhere else, these skills
will serve you well in other endeavors. Take advantage of the learning opportunity.

Hire good competent assistants that you like and will have fun working with. If the coaching staff
is having fun, it will be infectious.

Your group will be looking for fun and improvement, probably in that order. Make sure everyone
(swimmers coaches and parents) at the end of the summer says "that was fun, I want to do that again
next year."

Fun and performance are not mutually exclusive. Ask a little more of the kids than you think they
can handle. You'll be surprised both by the results in the pool and how much they like being
challenged.

STP
 
R

Robert W. McAda

Guest
[email protected] (Katie) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Hi everyone! This is my first post so please be kind. I recently got a job as head coach for a
> summer swim team and am very excited about
> it. I was an assistant for a different team last year but have never been a head coach before.
> I'm enthusiastic about this job and want to give it my best effort; I've been swimming for
> twelve years and it's a sport that is very close to my heart. I'm here to ask for some
> advice: any tips from coaches, swimmers or even parents of swimmers would be most
> appreciated. Thanks so much!

You might find it helpful to read this article:

http://www.totalimmersion.net/2003%20articles/june/summerleague.html
 
D

Dani

Guest
I think that the 'fun' thing, STP mentions, is one of the key things! It does NOT mean, that you
have to play the clown all the time. The kids must feel, that you have fun working with them and
beeing with them at the pool. You an have dedicated times for fun (like make some games in the water
for warming up and/or closing the session)

And for the parents: as others said here before, I can only tell you the same:

work togehter with them as good as possible , make the first step: talk to them, inform them about
your plans/goals/visions, invite them for a special 'open door' training session and tell them what
you are doing and why.

Have fun with the kids

Dani (former teacher and parent of a 10y old swimmer)
 
K

Katie

Guest
[email protected] (Robert W. McAdams) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
>
> You might find it helpful to read this article:
>
> http://www.totalimmersion.net/2003%20articles/june/summerleague.html

I read this article, and the similar ones on the website. WOW!! I can't believe I missed this when I
Googled "Swim Coach." Thank you very much for the valuable information. I do have one question,
though. My dad is really into TI but I don't know much about it. Is a kickboard really that
ineffective as a training tool for kids (it's the only equipment my pool has/can afford)? I used
them last year with a group of very young kids and they seemed to be effective in many ways. For
many it was the only way they could make it across the pool, and that helped them feel acomplished
as well as learning to put their face in the water and breathe to the side without the added
complication of arm movements. I probably used them several times a week. Would you suggest I use
them less? Maybe the article meant that kickboards were not effective for more experienced
swimmers...that I might buy, especially in summer swimming, though I think a six-beat kick in free
is very important (I only just learned how to do it a few years ago and my sprints have improved
immensely; it took me out of a slump where I couldn't make my arms any stronger but stil had an
ineffective kick). Anyway, sorry for the ramble; the long and short of it is: are kickboards a valid
training tool, and if so, for what abilities is this a good use of my time?

Thanks again for the article!
 
D

Diablo

Guest
Yes, Kickboards can be valuable, (i don't use them with my groups, but i don't discount their value)

I think the question is, is TI a valuable teaching medium ;)

"Katie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> [email protected] (Robert W. McAdams) wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> >
> > You might find it helpful to read this article:
> >
> > http://www.totalimmersion.net/2003%20articles/june/summerleague.html
>
>
> I read this article, and the similar ones on the website. WOW!! I can't believe I missed this when
> I Googled "Swim Coach." Thank you very much for the valuable information. I do have one question,
> though. My dad is really into TI but I don't know much about it. Is a kickboard really that
> ineffective as a training tool for kids (it's the only equipment my pool has/can afford)? I used
> them last year with a group of very young kids and they seemed to be effective in many ways. For
> many it was the only way they could make it across the pool, and that helped them feel acomplished
> as well as learning to put their face in the water and breathe to the side without the added
> complication of arm movements. I probably used them several times a week. Would you suggest I use
> them less? Maybe the article meant that kickboards were not effective for more experienced
> swimmers...that I might buy, especially in summer swimming, though I think a six-beat kick in free
> is very important (I only just learned how to do it a few years ago and my sprints have improved
> immensely; it took me out of a slump where I couldn't make my arms any stronger but stil had an
> ineffective kick). Anyway, sorry for the ramble; the long and short of it is: are kickboards a
> valid training tool, and if so, for what abilities is this a good use of my time?
>
> Thanks again for the article!