View Full Version : How does one become a swim coach?

November 30th, 2004, 12:27 PM
I went to the website of the ASCA, but all my emails to them keep getting returned.

How does one become a swim coach? I'm thinking of the masters level. And I don't want to have to go back for another degree in PE.

I'd like to learn more about the mechanics of swimming and how to coach adults. SHould I just read a book? Is there a certification test? Would I even get a job if I've never "medalled" as a swimmer?

Kevin in MD
December 1st, 2004, 03:10 PM
It's a shame that the asca folks aren't responding.

There is a masters certification from ASCA. It involves some take home courses and other requirements. To become level 1 certified the requirement is basically a degree, the certification and a few months of coaching. You can make up for the lack of a degree with more experience.

ASCA will get you certified to coach but that doesn't mean you will become a coach. To become a coach you need to find a place to coach.

To do that the easiest way is to start your own program. Find a local pool without a masters program, talk to the manager and tell them you have taken your certifications but need experience. Then offer to coach a new masters session for free. Or offer to share the fees collected. Since you're brand new a month of free workouts followed by charging $2 or $3 per workout after that can be a good way to get off the ground. After that, you can usually swing a free pool membership in exchange for coaching.

This might be best accomplished in the summer when neighborhood pools open.

To let you know, there are probably less than 10 coaches in the US that pay the bills with masters coaching. There rest of us are doing it for a mix of fun and beer money.

December 1st, 2004, 03:28 PM
coaching is one of the great divids between the US & Australia. If you look at western Australia's site there are several classes offered almost yea-round throughout western part of the country to get certified. Here many master coaches aren't certified nor have much training. It is too bad.

I'm so afraid that swimming has become so invisible in the US that no one will really want to go into coaching. Does anyone know how many certified coaches ( any level) there are in the US? When I first left college, I helped as a volunteer with a swim program. Volunteers lasted about 2 years at the max becsue it was so expensive to get involved. Many coaches in school in my town are teachers who happened to compete in the sport in college & maybe have some additional coaching background. Many, fortunately are very good. The diving coach at the high school in Galesburg, IL makes about 25 cents a day! She coaches for about 2-2 1/2 hours per day. There is no way we could support any type of a masters coach at our Y.

To me, it looks like a few very strong regional swim teams are going to dominate swimming in this ountry for a long time.

December 3rd, 2004, 01:00 PM
I actually told ASCA that their link to the email does not work, but they have not fixed the problem yet.
I am a level 2 ASCA and recently registered with USA Swimming too. I think it is better that way so you can transfer your levels from ASCA to USA.

Rob Copeland
December 3rd, 2004, 02:21 PM
You may also want to contact Bob Bruce the USMS Coaches Committee chair, at coaches@USMS.org
He should be able to provide you some information and direction.

February 10th, 2005, 02:50 PM
if I wanted to become a swimming coach.

I would shadow several great coaches, observe them, take notes, ask questions, ideally for a full training season.

Then I would find a pool and a group of swimmers.
Maybe begin as an assistant coach.

It depends what your coaching dream is.

i don't think you need to go get a degree but you want to make sure you have or are working on the typical required certifications too.


Originally posted by mjtyson
I went to the website of the ASCA, but all my emails to them keep getting returned.

How does one become a swim coach? I'm thinking of the masters level. And I don't want to have to go back for another degree in PE.

I'd like to learn more about the mechanics of swimming and how to coach adults. SHould I just read a book? Is there a certification test? Would I even get a job if I've never "medalled" as a swimmer?

February 10th, 2005, 03:37 PM
Go the the SPMA web site www.spma.net, look under coaching resources.

Download some of the articles on coaching. Download the ASCA Masters Certification form from http://www.swimmingcoach.org/pdf/masters.pdf

There are three steps:

#1. Be a member of the American Swimming Coaches Association. Complete a membership application form and mail to ASCA with payment for annual investment. Do not down load the US Age group or other certification forms.

#2. Complete a Certification Application in full and mail to ASCA.

#3. Take the required Certification Schools. First, Level 1 - The Foundations of Coaching; next, Level 2 - The Stroke School; for Level 3 - The Physiology School; for Level 4 - The Administration School and for Level 5 - The Leadership School. Each school is available either at clinics or through home study. Level 1 Test can now be taken online at Level 1 Test http://www.swimmingcoach.org/Learning_Center/Level1-Introduction.htm

Send the original test(s) to ASCA at 2101 N Andrews Ave #107, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311. They will be corrected, and if acceptable, your Certification application will be processed and you will receive a new membership card with your Certification number, Level and Type. You will also receive feedback on each of your tests and will be notified of the number of units of education added to your permanent Certification Record. If you wish, you may try to “test out” of any requirements.

February 12th, 2005, 10:54 PM
I appreciate everyone's comments.

I will be moving soon to an area with an obvious lack of masters groups. The base I'll be stationed on (I'm in the Air Force) does have an "indoor" pool (actually an outdoor pool with a roof put on it).

I'm thinking of trying to find guys/gals who want to form a team. Maybe I'll be able to find someone with more experience than I have (shouldn't be hard!), and we can start competing!

Again, I appreciate everyone's help. I'll be studying for the ASCA certifications soon!


February 24th, 2005, 09:24 PM

I think it's great you want to get into coaching. I haven't taken the time to read everyone's posts, so excuse me if I repeat what someone else has said.

Considering your new pool situation, I would

1) Find a group of people to swim with. Don't worry about coaching them, just find a group.

2) Download some workouts from this website, or another one that makes them available.

3) Invite a coach from another team or pool to lead a clinic once a month. I'm sure you can find a coach who will come if you offer him or her gas money, some food and a few bucks to work a Saturday morning.

4) While you're doing all of this, start building your knowledge base, and maybe even your certifications. There's a number of Red Cross certifications you NEED to become a coach, as well as some good ASCA certifications you could start with that have already been mentioned.

5) Take a coach out to lunch. Ask him or her about their training plans, how they manage a team. Become familiar with the work done before and after all practices. It's NOT just about writing workouts, trust me on this one.

6) Once you've put together a good size group, maybe then you can look at hiring a coach or coaching yourself.

my 2 cents


Matt S
February 26th, 2005, 11:14 PM

Please shoot me a message with you private email address. I have a ton of stuff to forward to you.

I've been where you are. I'm a Navy type, and long time masters swimmer. I've been in many Masters clubs, including some on base. I've coached a couple of summer league teams for kids. I have several thoughts for you. I'm just unclear as to what direction you want to head.