Breaststroke Pull

Breaststroke Pull

I am in the very fortunate position of visiting many coaching programs around Australia.  These range from high performance programs to small country and metropolitan programs. During my visits, I like to take the opportunity to observe the various levels of teaching and coaching being conducted which support the development pathway for swimmers to the highest performing squad. It has become very obvious to me that there are many interpretations on how the breaststroke pull is performed and as a consequence how it is taught. (more…)

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.

The Importance of the Coach’s Demeanor

The Importance of the Coach’s Demeanor

Sport for children is primarily about enjoyment, so it is vitally important that the coach or teacher presents it in a way which is non-threatening, engaging and with a happy manner.

You cannot underestimate the importance of the coach’s demeanour with the group.

We all experience days with varying degrees of difficulty; that’s life.  We need however to be mindful when we are working with our swimmers, that regardless of the sort of day we have had we have to present with a happy face and have a disposition that others feel comfortable with.

If we aren’t fun and enjoyable to be around it is unlikely our swimmers will respond in a positive way and become really engaged with their swimming session and be a person who children want to be around.

A good strategy is to adopt the routine of self checking. We do this by simply taking a moment to ask ourselves:

  • What mood state am I in?
  • Am I smiling?
  • How am I expressing myself? What is my body language like and what is the tone of voice I am using.
  • What do I need to modify to ensure a positive experience for all?

In essence, be like the coach who you would like to be the coach of your own children. 

FINA permit wearable technology in swim races

FINA permit wearable technology in swim races

The World’s aquatic governing body has announced that swimmers will now be able to wear technology during swimming races.

“The use of technology and automated data collection devices is permissible for the sole purpose of collecting data. Automated devices shall not be utilized to transmit data, sounds, or signals to the swimmer and may not be used to aid their speed.”

This means it will be legal to “wear” technology to collect the swimmer’s data for research, education, and entertainment However, that data cannot be used in real-time to inform swimmers on how they are going, nor assist them with communication throughout the race.

The impact of this FINA rule change will impact the sport for a generation. A positive outcome is that feedback will be provided on swimmers performance in real time to their coach and potentially the public. But will the top swimmers want to wear the technology, particularly if the data is shared through tv coverage and to others?

To look at how this can work and the outcomes for the sport, let’s take a look.

When a Coach Changes Clubs

When a Coach Changes Clubs

“My son and my husband and I are very happy at our Swimming Club. The Club provides everything we want for our 14 year old son, a positive environment, good coaching, a pathway to develop further and a great team atmosphere. Last night we were informed that my son’s coach is moving to another club and he has asked us to leave our current club and move to the new one with him. We are so confused and would like some advice on how we decide what to do.”

We receive many emails similar to the one above (received last week) from parents asking for advice around coaching, particularly when a coach moves onto another position. Every request for advice is different so we have summarized our thoughts below to assist parents in this situation.

Junior and Age Group Swimmers

In general our advice is if your child is happy in the club they are in, then it is more beneficial to remain at the club with their friends and training partners and continue to train together under a newly appointed coach rather than changing clubs and following their former coach. Invariably the environment created by the Club as a whole and the swimmer pathways within the club are more important to the continued improvement and success of a junior or age group swimmers.

Furthermore, for swimmers in these younger age groups, their coach will often be in an assistant coaching position, and the replacement coach is as good or even better than the departing coach. In general it is always worth giving the incoming coach a good 6 to 12 months for your child to get used to them and continue their swimming journey.

Location and travel time will also play a part in decision-making and it is important for families to understand the ramifications particularly if travel time increases, especially as children move into and through high school.

Coach Advice

For coaches looking to begin a new role in either an established or new Club, it is highly advisable to begin your new role with new swimmers and not encourage your current swimmers to move with you. When I (Gary) moved from one Club as an Assistant Coach to another as Head Coach, I instigated that no swimmers from my previous squads (60 State & National level swimmers) would be welcome to my new Club for a period of 2 years from beginning there. This allowed my current athletes to continue training and competing at my former club and further progress and improve with the least disruption to their swimming, their friendships and the Club. It also provided the incoming coach with the best opportunity to be successful in their new role. This was the right thing to do. It also allowed me as a new Head Coach to develop the culture and athletes from the base up in my new club, gradually over time to ensure the foundations were built for a long term successful club.

Most coaches will understand the reasons for working through a situation similar to that outlined above, however a small minority will “encourage junior and/or age group swimmers to leave their current club and follow them to their new club.” I have seen this happen a small number of times over the past 30 years and it nearly always ends in tears. This is a selfish attitude by the coach who is more interested in promoting themselves than supporting their athletes. It also shows a lack of respect for their previous employer which in turn often carries through to their new employer. If as a parent you are ever put in a position like this, please think twice before making a move as the grass is rarely greener on the other side. It may seem like a good idea at the time but it rarely works out well.