Here are my best ever Top Ten Tips for Swimming Coaching Success.

talkWhether you coach men or masters, toddlers or triathletes, females or freestylers, babies, breaststrokers or butterflyers, these ten tips will help you make a success of your swimming coaching career and more important help you to help every swimmer turn possible potential into peak performance.

  1. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.Two people given the same box of ingredients, the same recipe, the same utensils, the same oven, the same kitchen are told to make and bake a cake. They get two completely different results. Why? Every one has the same basic raw ingredients: a pool, some swimmers, a committee, parents, maybe a gym and yet some programs succeed and some fail.It’s not what you have or what you do, it’s how you do it.
  2. Engagement is the key – not just hard work. Anyone can turn up and swim laps. That’s not the trick. The real trick is to create an environment which engages the swimmers to the point where they get swim every lap to the full extent of their potential. Potential plus preparation = peak performance but only when the preparation is consistently completed with real purpose, real intent and real engagement.
  3. Coach for Speed all the time. Speed is the most precious element of swimming. It is what every swimmer trains for: to be able to go as fast as possible in their event in competition conditions. Train speed all the time, all year round – even at times when other physical capacities like endurance are being emphasised in program…speed, speed, speed: if you don’t use it, you will lose it and it may not come back.
  4. Stroke Technique, skills and tactical abilities are “free” ways to enhance performance. Most coaches, when faced with the challenge of trying to improve the performance of their swimmers will attack things from a “work” perspective, i.e. not improving…work harder, not winning…work harder. However, peak swimming performance comes by getting the whole thing right: physical training, stroke technique, racing skills, dives, starts, turns, finishes, breathing, warm up, cool down, mental approach and a thousand other things. By focusing on stroke technique, swimming skills, mental skills and tactical abilities, swimmers can improve their performance for “free”. That is, they don’t have to work harder – just smarter, more consistently and with a higher level of engagement to their program.
  5. Attitude is everything. Enthusiasm is like a virus: it is infectious. Want your swimmers to be passionate, driven, enthusiastic and positive?? Have a good look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I model and live those same attitudes and behaviours in everything I do everyday”?
  6. Coach from an integrated, holistic, total athlete perspective. Swimming has been traditionally based on a “physical / physiological model” – i.e. mostly focused on the big three variables of frequency, intensity and volume. The physiology based model has many limitations and is a dead end for those swimmers and coaches wanting to be the best of the best in the future. Adopt an integrated, holistic, total athlete approach to performance enhancement and particularly at training the mind and body in harmony – simultaneously – if you want to realise peak performance potential.
  7. Never, ever stop learning. Everyone wants to win. A fundamental part of winning is getting an advantage over your competitors in one or more aspects of planning, preparation and performance. And…gaining a winning advantage comes from learning. Winning and learning are married. Learn faster, improve faster, win sooner.
  8. Passion…because of what it leads to….Passion overcomes adversity. Passion is the fire that fuels performance. Passion helps people achieve the impossible. Passion makes difficulty seem trivial. Passion turns a challenge into a minor obstacle. With real passion, anything is possible.
  9. Never, ever copy anyone: Copying kills coaching. Look, listen and learn from other coaches but do not copy them. Learn from others only to help you make informed decisions and to learn from the mistakes others have made. But do not copy. Understand yourself and your own coaching philosophy. Know what values and passions drive you as a human being and as a swimming coach. Then develop your own way of doing things. The core ingredient in success is uniqueness. It is being different and being prepared to do things that no one else has done or is doing.
  10. Coach by collaboration, co-operation and confidence not conflict, confrontation and crisis. Swimming is a team sport and real success comes when swimmers (and parents) work with coaches as part of a performance partnership.

That’s my top ten tips for swimming coaching success….what’s yours?

Let me know by adding a few of your best swimming coaching tips to this post in the comments area.

Wayne Goldsmith