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laineybug
January 16th, 2015, 09:09 AM
Would you expect a high school swim coach to know what a split is and why it is important?
Last night my daughter was watching my granddaughter's HS swim practice. The assistant coach asked my daughter to time a 500 for a couple of kids. My daughter asked the coach if she wanted splits or just the finish time. The coach said, "Split, I don't know what that is." My daughter explained. The coach then asked, "Why would I want to know that?"

Well, I have to give the coach credit for asking.

Should a HS coach know this, or do I have an unreasonable expectation?

jpetyk
January 16th, 2015, 10:26 AM
A swim coach at any level should certainly know what a split is, and why it's important.

I'm guessing this person is a teacher in the school looking for a couple extra bucks with no swimming background?

ForceDJ
January 16th, 2015, 10:30 AM
How long has this person been coaching? For that matter...how long has she been involved with swimming? Yeah, she ought to know. Your expectation is not unreasonable.

Dan

laineybug
January 16th, 2015, 12:54 PM
She has been an assistant coach for at least three years. Before that I don't know. She is a teacher, she claims she has swimming knowledge.

orca1946
January 16th, 2015, 01:40 PM
Not with that comment! Any kid in swimming knows what the term split in swimming is.

laineybug
January 16th, 2015, 03:13 PM
I feel badly for most of these minority/from poverty students who join the team, not knowing how to swim--at all--hoping to get some good instruction.

The two BOYS my daughter timed last night swam 500 in slightly under 10:00.00 :(

My daughter, who swam for Curt Myers, offered to become a community coach and help the team. She was told by the head coach that he didn't need help. (Head coach doesn't know how to swim--literally--if he fell in the pool a lifeguard would have to pull him out)

ElaineK
January 17th, 2015, 02:22 PM
(Head coach doesn't know how to swim--literally--if he fell in the pool a lifeguard would have to pull him out)
This coach and my high school coach would have made a great pair. I learned my senior year that our coach didn't know how to swim. After we beat our rivals in the last meet of the season, we threw her into the pool. She dog paddled to the edge of the pool in tears and finally admitted she didn't know how to swim . (She was a P.E. teacher who evidently got stuck with the girls swim team.) :shakeshead:

pwb
January 18th, 2015, 01:01 AM
This coach and my high school coach would have made a great pair. I learned my senior year that our coach didn't know how to swim. I am not sure knowing how to swim is a requirement. I had an exceptional coach who I never, ever saw in the water and really never knew if he could swim. He knew the sport inside and out, though, and was an outstanding coach.

ElaineK
January 18th, 2015, 10:42 AM
I am not sure knowing how to swim is a requirement. I had an exceptional coach who I never, ever saw in the water and really never knew if he could swim. He knew the sport inside and out, though, and was an outstanding coach.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with my coach. I learned how to swim breaststroke by sharing a lane with the only other breaststroker on the team. I followed her and watched everything she did.

I had never swum competitively before high school and had only taken swim lessons for one summer when I was young. Breaststroke seemed to come naturally to me, though, and the coach was eager to fill the slot.

My coach didn't teach or coach stroke to anybody on the team. I think she just handled all the rest of her responsibilities by following a coaching manual or getting advice from one of the other coaches in our league.

orca1946
January 19th, 2015, 12:17 PM
Many people that are in swimming come from a different background. Swim coaches are not paid as equals to football & basketball, EVEN IF YOU CAN DIE IN OUR SPORT FROM DROWNING!!!

laineybug
January 21st, 2015, 07:31 PM
The coaches haven't even made the effort to learn what is correct technique. My daughter warned them, the athletic director and the principal someone was going to get hurt... And sure enough a young woman hurt her shoulder. The orthopedist who didn't know the girl was on the swim team said, "Let me guess you are swimming. Your injury almost always occurs in swimmers with poor technique and no one else." They 'teach' technique by telling the swimmers to watch YouTube videos! Told my daughter the other day that it was a good thing most of these kids were not physically strong... Swimming by purely bullying yourself through the water could result in more injuries.

laineybug
January 21st, 2015, 07:34 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. I am still hoping the school will replace him and the assistant coach.

Betsy
January 24th, 2015, 11:10 AM
Sometimes it is difficult for a high school to get coaches. I've known new teachers who were hired only if they would accept a coaching position. I agree with pwb that you don't need to know how to swim to be a good coach. But, you did need to be willing to learn. My age group coach was not a swimmer but was trained as coach in other sports. He read and observed other swimmers and was great.
If the coach is approached in a helpful manner, maybe there is hope. But if the coach feels threatened and gets defensive, it will be a bad year. The school may not be able to repleace him if there is no one else.

ForceDJ
January 26th, 2015, 12:29 AM
I agree with Betsy. There are very successful coaches in all sports, even at professional levels, who've never played the sport they're coaching. Still, I'd think that if this person has been coaching swimming for at least three years that they'd have learned about splits by now. But be careful what you wish for if you want the current coach replaced. You could end up with someone worse. Maybe they'll know more about coaching...but there might be "other" issues with the replacement.

Laineybug...maybe it'd be worth it for you to establish a "coach the coach" relationship with this person. Maybe you can't volunteer to be at every practice, but if it's generally known that the person was never a swimmer...offer you assistance to help them understand some of these, and other nuances about the sport.

Dan

laineybug
January 30th, 2015, 01:11 PM
I don't live close enough to coach the coach. My daughter however, has offered every year to become a volunteer community coach and has been turned down with, "I don't need no help."

Daughter's qualifications:
She was one of Curt Myers' swimmers (Curt Myers as in Olympic coach and the father of Olympic gold medalist Angel Myers)
Qualified for state championship.

And I also agree you don't have to be a swimmer to coach swimming but you must know something and must be willing to learn about technique to pass it on.

smontanaro
January 30th, 2015, 01:34 PM
IThere are very successful coaches in all sports, even at professional levels, who've never played the sport they're coaching.

I think they'd be the exception rather than the rule though. Consider soccer in the US in the 1970s (before it exploded). While in college, I briefly (one season) coached a 13-14 boys team, but had never played soccer other than in P.E. I think I had one kid who had any soccer experience, and he had moved from an area with already established age group programs (ISTR Virginia).

Today, I would be pretty surprised if someone coaching an age group or high school soccer team hadn't played the sport as a kid, at least in/through high school. I think the situation would be similar for swimming.

loonytick
February 3rd, 2015, 03:42 PM
Today, I would be pretty surprised if someone coaching an age group or high school soccer team hadn't played the sport as a kid, at least in/through high school. I think the situation would be similar for swimming.

It all just depends on the school and the situation in that particular moment. My husband is a teacher. Early in his career, he coached JV basketball, volleyball and wrestling. He had wrestled in high school but he'd never played either of the other two sports outside a PE class and goofing off with friends. Those aren't unusual sports by any means, but his district required that all teams be coached by faculty members, no one on the faculty with experience in those sports was interested in those coaching positions, and he was the low man on the totem pole. In other words, he was completely unqualified but also in no position to refuse when the principal told him he needed to do the job. In his case, after a year of the basketball coaching gig, a more qualified teacher had a change of heart and the year after that a newer teacher agreed to take on volleyball.

Thing is, coaching meant extra money. Not a lot, but some. And the principal knew nothing about volleyball, never went to the games...If my husband had really wanted to keep getting that extra pay, the principal wouldn't have thought twice about letting him keep that team, regardless of his lack of knowledge and experience. I'm sure that happens all the time with swim teams. Someone is assigned to coach almost out of desperation, the pay keeps them from wanting to shed the responsibility, inertia keeps them in the position.