Coaching Swimming in the 21st Century

Coaching Swimming in the 21st Century

Many of the top swimming clubs in Australia and around the world have recognised the need for ongoing professional development for their swim coaches.

Gold Class Swimming has fast become the most recognised and professional swim coach development organisation for the ongoing development of swimming coaches.

Gold Class Swimming caters for swim coaches who are keen to improve their skills and help each individual swimmer to swim with correct technique and skills. In particular, the Swim Coach Advantage program provides weekly live online sessions for coach members in more than 20 countries.

The program is recognised by Swimming Australia and provides re accreditation points for active members who maintain ongoing learning by actively participating in the program.

The key contributors to the program are based in Australia, one the most successful countries in competitive swimming. The content delivered and weekly discussions are at the cutting edge of coaching. The coaching experts provide members with the opportunity to improve their knowledge, understanding and skill sets on a weekly basis.

This week we release our brand-new Certificate program “Coaching for Age Group Swimmers” to the coaching community.

Within the Certificate course there is a major focus on the Physiology of Training and Understanding Energy Systems. The Certificate program provides coaches with a very good understanding of key elements such as:

  • Training principles, training zones, training variables and training specifics
  • Overload and progressive overload
  • Understanding energy systems, energy systems and events, energy systems and training design
  • Aerobic and anaerobic
  • Lactate production, lactate clearance and lactate tolerance
  • Aerobic threshold and anaerobic threshold
  • VO2 Max – Maximum O2 Uptake
  • Anaerobic glycolysis
  • Muscle fuel – ATP, ATP-PC
  • Lactic acid and lactate curve
  • Heart rate and heart rate curve
  • Recovery

We want as many swim coaches as possible to share in the learning and join our community, so we have a special offer of $50 off annual memberships. 

This program is ideal for:

  • Swim coaches currently working with 13-17-year-old swimmers competing at a national level who would like to prepare athletes for international level competition in future years.
  • Swim coaches who currently coach juniors or age development level swimmers and would like to gain the knowledge to coach 13-17-year-olds to high levels of success.

The Certificates also include a focus on planning for performance level athletes aged 13 to 17 years.

Planning is a key aspects of swim coaching and an area many coaches struggle with, so the program provides modules that take coaches through the planning for age development and age performance athletes.

These certificates include:

  • A review of the physiology terminology used with age performance and open level swimmers
  • What are training zones?
  • The training of the different energy systems to maximise performance in age performance swimmers
  • How to write a preparation plan for athletes aged 13 to 17 years, performing at a high level
  • A look in detail at periodisation from phase to phase and training cycles within each week
  • Considerations for workout design
  • How to write specific training sessions representative through the phases of preparation

All these modules and much more are now available as part of our world-wide coaching program, Swim Coach Advantage.

As an added bonus, you will also gain access to our weekly live Mentor PODs where we discuss a variety of topics and will include a number of expert guests in 2023.

You will also receive access to:

  • a 10 min explanation on the correct stroke model for the four strokes,
  • images that include a breakdown of the key elements of each stroke including correct head, body, hand and leg positions throughout each stroke,
  • more than 160 drills across the 4 strokes including many progressions that will get results with your swimmers, and
  • in fact everything you need to become a better informed, knowledgeable and successful coach.

To claim your discount of $50 off the annual membership, use the coupon code AGEPERFORM at checkout.

We look forward to helping you to take your swim coaching to another level.

PS: If you join in the next 48 hours, you will also receive:

  • free access to the Swim Parent Advantage program which includes everything you need to know to manage parents in your program, and
  • free access to the Certificate series on Coaching Junior Swimmers which provides coaches of swimmers aged 8 to 12 years with the key ingredients of being a successful coach of junior swimmers.

To claim your discount of $50 off the annual membership, use the coupon code AGEPERFORM at checkout.

Introduction to Planning

Introduction to Planning

The video below is the first in the series of presentations focused on Planning for Swimming Performance as part of the Swim Coach Advantage membership program.

We know this program is going to provide HUGE benefits to swim coaches from all levels of swimming, and we can’t wait to share our insights and knowledge with you. If you like what you watch and would like to take your coaching to the next level, then join us at Swim Coach Advantage for on-going professional development.

Future sessions in this series include everything you need to know to plan for and write workout designs for:

  • Junior swimmers aged 9 to 12 years
  • Advanced junior swimmers aged 10-13 years
  • Age development swimmers aged 12-15 years
  • Age performance Swimmers aged 14-17 years
  • Senior performance swimmers aged 16 years and over

Discussion topics will include:

  • Seasonal planning for Juniors and Advanced Juniors
  • Seasonal planning for Age and Senior Performance
  • Training intensities, weekly planning and workout design for advanced juniors
  • Preparation Planning for Age and Senior Performance
  • Weekly Planning and Weekly Periodisation for Age and Senior Performance

This video is only available until Thursday 5 November 2020.

Take a look inside Swim Parent Advantage

Take a look inside Swim Parent Advantage

We have received so many questions form parents of competitive swimmers asking what Swim Parent Advantage is all about. So to help you out, we provide below some examples of what you get access to as a member of this world leading support program for swimming parents.

Parent PODs

Let’s start with the fortnightly live sessions (called Parent PODs) where you can participate and ask questions of our coaches or special experts. Each session is a bit different. Below is one of our more recent sessions with our resident Child & Sport Psychologist, Megan Davis. Megan is a former Australian representative swimmer, swim coach and a mother of 3 sporty kids. Megan also contributes with regular online episodes focused on many different psychology topics. Feedback from parents who watched the POD live or the recorded video include:

“I got a lot out of this session, thanks GCS and Megan” Claire

“I caught up with this POD today (Sunday). I don’t understand why parents who spend $ ‘00s on a race suit for their child don’t realise the value of the investment they could make for their child’s swimming by becoming a member of Gold Class Swimming. I just had my money’s worth in this session alone! Megan is great. Thanks guys, very valuable.” Tania

“That was a fantastic session highly recommend it to all parents. Lots of very practical advice” Michelle

“Fantastic session this morning. Thank you!” Emma

“Invaluable!! Highly recommended. Thanks guys” Prue

Online Video Library

To compliment the fortnightly live sessions there are more than 50 video discussions between aquatic expert Gary Barclay and 2004 & 2012 Australian Olympic Team Head Coach Leigh Nugent. These include discussions on the benefits of swimming, the swimming parent, swimmer development pathways, growth and development, swimming training and swimming competitions. Here is an example video discussing the coach/swimmer relationship.

Stroke Models

One of the most popular sections in the program are the four stroke models. Leigh takes athletes and parents through the key elements in learning and swimming correct freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Each online video can be watched as many times as you like. Below is a short extract from the freestyle video.

“As a sports psychologist, we now know that by watching people performing motor skills in the way that you what to do them, helps train the nervous system that way. So your kids can actually be training by watching these stroke model videos.” Megan Davis

Nutrition Support

We all know that nutrition plays a major role in the development of children and adults. Parents are always looking for ways to ensure they are providing the right foods to their families… especially for kids who swim multiple times per week.

Our resident nutritionist Bec Stone leads us through many different aspects of nutrition with regular one hour sessions and many short episodes of online videos on specific topics. One of our recent episodes was on Protein Powders and do athletes really need them. You can watch it below. Bec also answers all your questions about nutrition, and as a former national level swimmer and coach understands all aspects of nutritional needs for the sport. You will also gain access to all the contents in the eBook “Nutrition for Swimmers” through the lessons in the nutrition section of the membership platform.

Parent Community

Parents who are members of Swim Parent Advantage enjoy access to the private group on Facebook. While all online videos and discussions are promoted through the group, parents can also ask questions and share ideas.

Join us today at Swim Parent Advantage and let us share and support your journey as a parent of a competitive swimmer.

Why Do Swimmers Train So Much?

Why Do Swimmers Train So Much?

One of the most common questions we receive from parents of children who take part in competitive swimming is “Why do swimmers have to train so much?” It’s a question we recently received in our parent support program.

Children who play land based sports like soccer, football, netball, basketball, hockey or whatever sport it may be, attend training once or twice a week as a junior and age grouper and in most cases, their games last for a period of time longer than their training time. The skills that children learn in many sports have been learnt since they started crawling, walking and running, all land-based activities.

Learning Skills in Water and Not on Land

Swimming is not done on land and is totally foreign to our neuromuscular system, our balance mechanisms, and the way we breathe. To swim, we are immersed in a totally different medium to what we were designed for, so that takes some getting used to. Our body is in a horizontal position instead of our normal vertical position and we have our face in water, so we must learn how to breathe. To breathe, we first need to be able to blowout underwater and then breathe in when the mouth is clear of the water and then regulate the breathing in a rhythmical way. This is not a natural thing to do.

On land, we propel ourselves using our lower body. In the water, propulsion is largely done with our upper body. So, learning to swim is a hard skill to learn. We’ve got to go back in a way, like we did when we were learning how to crawl. We learn a whole new set of skills that prepare us for motion or propelling in the medium of water. Our neuromuscular system must start from scratch, but teaching totally new motor patterns, and then there’s the difficult task of applying pressure to this medium that moves (water) with the limb applying the pressure (hand and arm).

So when we walk or run we make contact with the ground which doesn’t move, and the frictional force is so great that we can pull ourselves past the point where we’ve connected with the medium (ground) and propel ourselves forward. In swimming, as soon as we apply force to the water, the water moves. So, we have to manage how much force we apply to be able to move forward efficiently and get as much distance as we can for each propulsive movement. That’s a very complicated task and some people naturally have much more sensitivity to the pressure in that moving medium (water) than others. And that’s the big factor that separates really talented swimmers and people who are not as talented.

This complexity requires a lot of practice and we can only learn how to swim in the water. We can’t learn to do it out of the water. We can enhance it with exercises out of the water but we can’t learn how to do it. Each stroke has different technical requirement and each skill (think starts, turns and finishes) are learned skills that take time and plenty of practice to do well.

Training for Swimming

When it comes to actually training for swimming, the specifics of swimming and swimming fitness can only be done in the pool. They can’t be done anywhere else. We can develop cardiovascular fitness outside of the pool, but we can get that specific swimming fitness that we need for swimming.

We have found that to be average at competitive swimming, you have to do a lot more training than people do in other land-based sports. So, it requires a massive commitment because we are constantly adapting to that fluid environment. We need to be able to train a lot to condition our body to be able to manage everything that we have to do to swim in the pool.

If we work on improving our technique and swim more often whilst receiving the right sort of feedback and monitoring, we are more likely to get better at it. But if we don’t practice regularly, we won’t improve, and swimmers quickly lose their feel for the water. That’s why the sport doesn’t offer long breaks. The current coronavirus situation has really tested this. Once kids have got back into the water, they start to get their sensitivity back. It has however taken some time, but a majority are swimming really well again after just 8 to 12 weeks.

Aerobic Fitness

Swimming also requires an enormous amount of aerobic development. It really is a highly aerobic exercise. To get that aerobic fitness in swimming and particularly to develop the muscles that are going to propel us through the water we must swim a lot. It takes a long time to get the muscles to adapt and for us to get that cardiovascular fitness that we need that is specific to swimming. It requires a lot of training, particularly in the teenage years to create the anatomical changes that we need to support us when we swim.

One of the things basically that’s going to happen to us is apart from all the technical elements of being able to swim with really good stroke technique in the water and swim efficiently, is that we have to deliver nutrients and oxygen to our muscle cells and we have to remove the metabolites after we’ve produced the energy so we have to have this really good circulatory system.

So, the more training we do, the more the vascular system develops, and we get more and more fine capillaries around the muscle fibres and that allows us to deliver more oxygen and more nutrients. This can only be developed through volumes of training over the years.

If you are a parent of a competitive swimmer and would like to learn more and help support your child to be the best that they can be, join us at Swim Parent Advantage.