Do you follow a process in your swim coaching to prepare and instruct athletes?

Walking on deck with a training session in hand and a focus for that session is vital to teaching/coaching success.
I have worked over my swim coaching life with what I call the 4 P’s. The process of making sure I am best prepared to make a difference.
When observing coaches on deck and at competitions I can see those that have followed a process for preparation and have clarity around their instruction to their athletes.
The 4 P’s gave me this clarity and I want to share them:


  • With your training squad there will be areas that need attention, streamlining, diving, kicking etc.
  • By identifying them and listing them as a priority you will start creating a profile of your training needs to drive improvement.
  • List the areas you feel are most important against competition
    • 200IM
      • Fly – timing
      • Back – pull
      • Breast – efficiency
      • Free – endurance


  • Create a calendar that represents the full season leading up to selected competition that is the priority
  • Say it is 16 weeks from start of season through to competition
    • Break up into blocks of 3 or 4 weeks to create focus
      • In this case look at 4 weeks
  • The above Profile is based on creating a program that will delver an improved 200IM performance at season targeted competition
    • 1- 4 weeks =
      • Week 1
        • Kick, pull, fitness and skills test = individual standard of each athlete
      • Weeks 2-4 = develop sets that deliver improved general conditioning and understanding of what improvement looks like
    • 5-8 weeks =
      • Week 1 = Re Test
      • Weeks 2-4 = build volume and standard of training performance
    • 9-12 weeks =
      • Week 1 – Re Test
      • Weeks 2-4 = Introduce Competition standard focus
        • Ready for competition speeds
        • Competition practice – lead up meets
    • 13-16 =
      • weeks 1-4 Fine tuning – keeping volume of sessions up and focusing on specific event training


  • Once you have your big picture plan laid out (Planner) and Identified the areas that need to improve for performance (Profile) you can look at your training week and identify what sessions should focus on what areas?
  • Select the focus for each session through the week
  • Check against the profile to make sure every area is covered in the training week:
    • Monday am = fly, kick and free endurance
    • Tuesday pm = back pull, breast efficiency, fly fast
    • Etc.……
  • Once done you will have created a training week with identified sessions to focus on key areas in your profile of the squad against an event = 200IM


  • Now onto the detail, with the frame work of your training week set out and the planner showing you what the aim is for the 4 weeks ahead you can start building sets for each session
  • Look at the Monday am session focus and develop training sets that deliver what has been identified as required for that block
  • Once you have done the full training week you will have the ability to use this over a 4 week period and modify the volume, intensity and content each week to ensure you are focused.


  • Using Testing is a way to measure the individual standard of an athlete, give them a goal to work towards each session and monitor your programs improvement.
My next blog around swim coaching will be on Testing in programs for Junior and Senior athletes, when to do it, what to do and how often.
Coach Rohan Taylor