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View Full Version : Coaching, yes or no?



Blackbeard's Peg
September 27th, 2007, 10:26 AM
With some recent talk about coaches, accomodating to swimmers, and swimmers obeying coaches, I thought I'd post a poll.

So who is receiving coached workouts? Do you like him/her? Do you like his/her workouts? Do they pay you attention, criticize and advise, or do they like to sit and read, or flirt with other swimmers/lifeguards?

SwimStud
September 27th, 2007, 10:31 AM
With some recent talk about coaches, accomodating to swimmers, and swimmers obeying coaches, I thought I'd post a poll.

So who is receiving coached workouts? Do you like him/her? Do you like his/her workouts? Do they pay you attention, criticize and advise, or do they like to sit and read, or flirt with other swimmers/lifeguards?

I love my coach. He tailors his workouts just to fit my needs. He is always at the pool on my schedule. He's very encouraging to other new swimmers in the pool. He doesn't like folks that interfere with my workouts. He doesn't flirt though.
Sadly he never manages to watch me while I swim, so he can't give good feedback, but that's his only fault.

<---Self coached. :rofl:

I get coached at meets...

Slowswim
September 27th, 2007, 10:38 AM
Peg:

I need either another option E-coach or two choices: Yes and swim alone.

ViveBene
September 27th, 2007, 10:40 AM
Superb coach, both for private training and for group. Coach pays attention. Does not flirt, read, check investments. Understandably, has devoted following.

Regards,
VB

tjburk
September 27th, 2007, 10:43 AM
As George Thorogood so aptly put it........

"I swim alone.........with nobody else....."

:fish2:

JimRude
September 27th, 2007, 10:44 AM
I had the good fortune of having great coaches from age 16-22. Maybe I am naive, but I don't think that swimming has changed so much over the past 20(!) years that I can't use what I learned then and train myself.

Plus, at age 40+, "I know what I want [to do in workout], and I know when I want it". So training with a group would probably lead me to conclude I was doing all sorts of stuff that was not relevant to achieving my goals.

gull
September 27th, 2007, 10:55 AM
I push myself harder with a coach on deck. Plus, a coach is able to identify stroke flaws and try to correct them. When I joined USMS in 2003, I trained alone for about a year and saw virtually no improvement. With coaching, my times have gotten faster.

SwimStud
September 27th, 2007, 11:00 AM
I push myself harder with a coach on deck. Plus, a coach is able to identify stroke flaws and try to correct them. When I joined USMS in 2003, I trained alone for about a year and saw virtually no improvement. With coaching, my times have gotten faster.

Yes It is why I wish they'd get the masters program off and running at my local Y...anyone can print a workout and do it...poorly.

Slowswim
September 27th, 2007, 11:03 AM
...anyone can print a workout and do it...poorly.

Have you been spying on me? :lmao:

Dennis Tesch
September 27th, 2007, 11:06 AM
I love having a coach on deck. It usually motivate me and to be quite honest I hate writing my own workouts!!!

The problem with coaches in my area right now are that most of them are not professional and they typically only help the beginning swimmer. You go to a workout and they give the faster lanes the workout and then they never visit you again until you need a set explained. I don't know if they are afraid to help more advanced swimmers or they really don't know how to help advanced swimmers? I don't care how good you are in the pool, everyone wants some kind of advice on their stroke technique.

In the past 15 years of swimming with masters I only had one young coach (former university swimmer) actually tell me she didn't like my stroke (freestyle) and should change my recover form. I disagreed with her, but it really made me think about what I was doing and now I'm swim better.

Most of the time I need to ask a coach to watch my stroke, but I find that to be flawed. When I ask a coach to watch me I know I'm trying to swim my best. I would much rather have a coach catch me doing something when I'm not thinking about it and let me know what they think I should do.

SwimStud
September 27th, 2007, 11:08 AM
Have you been spying on me? :lmao:
I'm being inculsive to myself in that analysis... :laugh2:

geochuck
September 27th, 2007, 11:12 AM
Is a coach a person who does stoke correction or a drill sargeant???

I think there are very few real coaches and more drill sargeants....

A coach a wonderful thing for sure. I never had a coach of any type after 1952. After that I had people who were called coaches but they did not coach me. Eg. the coach of the 55 Pan Am Games, 56 Olympics, 54 and 58 BE and Commonwealth Games. All they did is train me. They gave me workouts that I was supposed to do. I only did some of the stuff they asked me to do.

After those days as a long distance swimmer I had trainers who would go with me and make sure I did the workouts I planned for the day. I paid this trainer he made sure that I go to the pool or lake on time and I followed the plan. He accompanied me in a row boat or kayak when I swam in dangerous water for safety.

With this day of digital cameras every one can coach themselves. If they need a drill sargent go to a swim club.

david.margrave
September 27th, 2007, 11:26 AM
I've had good and bad coaches in USS and High School. The worst ones were the ones virtually nobody could talk about without lapsing into profanity. I like the coach on our masters team because he is still learning and moving up the chain in coaching (masters is not his only coaching job), and is willing to try different things out on us, and doesn't consider his word to be the last word.

poolraat
September 27th, 2007, 12:40 PM
Jeff - some options you left out. "Had a coach" or "Coached by distance/email".

I had a great e-coach for a few years. The workouts would be emailed and after I did them I would respond back with how I did. I would also get some one-on-onework on those occasions when I was in her city and could get a session scheduled.

I wish I had a coach or a group to swim with. Swimming alone, it's very difficult to keep motivated. Also, a coach would (hopefully) see those things in the stroke that need correction or adjustment. It's real easy to get sloppy and swim with poor technique if someone is not constantly monitoring it. I get video of my swimming occasionally and then have the local age group coach go over it with me, but it's still not quite the same as an on-deck coach.

islandsox
September 27th, 2007, 01:01 PM
I had two great coaches: George Haines and Don Easterling and am grateful for them both for how far they took me in my swimming career. 1968 comes to mind.

Once I entered the USMS, I had fair coaching. One of our coaches was an Olympian from Australia, but we were such a large club (over 300), there wasn't enough of him to go around.

I now swim alone because of where I live. It's just me and Mr. & Mrs. Parrot Fish, Mr. Barracuda, Ms. Eagle Ray, and Miss Scorpion Fish. So, I guess I truly don't swim alone, it's just that I am now the slowest amongst my little swim crowd.

Donna
September 27th, 2007, 01:01 PM
Since changing teams I feel I am getting better coaching with the kids team, of course I am also paying alot more for it. Coach Rick treats me like one of the kids, with the exception of not having to yell at me to finish into the wall, do the whole set, or stop playing around.

Rick has corrected my strokes (we are still making corrections), my shoulders really have not hurt, yet I am doing more yardage than ever. He is teaching me to sprint again (used to be a sprinter in my youth, but due to swimming with a masters team filled with triathletes I have been trained as a distance swimmer for the last 3 years). I am looking forward to actually breaking some major sprint barriers this year, yet maintain my distance ability. That is the balance we are trying to achieve.

He keeps me accountable and is helping me to reach my goals. When he gave the assignment to the kids to turn in their long and short term goals, I was probably the first one to turn them in. Right now I have my own lane most of the time and on occasion I share it with 2 other people who never come at the same time. But when the Aquatic Center reopens the end of October I will probably have to swim with the Juniors. This week is the first week I can honestly say I kept up (stroke for stroke) with the Juniors in the workout.

My first outing after 5 weeks went really well with 3 best times and 2 really close, concidering it was a pentathlon with very little rest between events I would call this a success.

geochuck
September 27th, 2007, 01:15 PM
Donna the secret is he is correcting your stroke. So many so called coaches set out workouts.

Donna
September 27th, 2007, 01:56 PM
My old masters coach just assigned the workout and would give us drills but the drills never really corrected the flaws in my stroke. We also never did kick sets. The most kicking we would do was 100-200 yards in warmup. Everything else was distance or mid-distance and Tuesday and Thursday was IM or stroke. Sprints were maybe once per month.

Rick gives me drills that actually address the correction that needs to be made. He also assigns me plenty of kick sets (a real weakness for someone who just drags her legs).

The Fortress
September 27th, 2007, 02:49 PM
Because of my schedule, I typically only swim with my team 1x a week during the school year. I'd prefer it was 2x. I can't do the same level of conditioning work on my own. Our coach writes great workouts with interesting sets that seem to have a concrete purpose. I've seen her correcting strokes, although not as much the more advanced swimmers, as Dennis notes. I would love to have more technical analysis of my strokes. I'm just winging it based on instinct and what I gleam from swim forums. But it is sometimes difficult to be essentially "guessing" what you're supposed to do technique-wise. Going to try to get myself video'd a bit more in the future. That's my only hope for my evilstroke.

However, I do like my solo workouts because then I can fine tune them to what I think I'm supposed to be doing. Most masters teams just don't do the speed work, race pace work or SDK work that I need as a sprinter. It's all about yardage. I'd like some, but not a high daily dose.

geochuck
September 27th, 2007, 02:56 PM
Fort does your coach write the workouts or is he or she connected to the internet and downloading the work outs.

Slowswim
September 27th, 2007, 03:07 PM
II now swim alone because of where I live. It's just me and Mr. & Mrs. Parrot Fish, Mr. Barracuda, Ms. Eagle Ray, and Miss Scorpion Fish. So, I guess I truly don't swim alone, it's just that I am now the slowest amongst my little swim crowd.

...maybe, but you've eaten their relatives.:thhbbb:

The Fortress
September 27th, 2007, 03:41 PM
Fort does your coach write the workouts or is he or she connected to the internet and downloading the work outs.

She writes them George. She knows what she's doing. She's an Olympian and her husband is head coach of the college team and coaches the masters team on Saturdays. She's also fast as hell, though she rarely goes to meets. :cheerleader: The workouts are good. We have two stroke days, one free day and on Saturday an high yardage/heavy duty day. She has us do some innovative fun stuff too. We were in the pool throwing medicine balls at each other this summer.

geochuck
September 27th, 2007, 03:51 PM
I am all for throwing medicine balls. She must be a good coach and not just a drill sargeant..

Allen Stark
September 27th, 2007, 04:58 PM
I am my own coach,mostly. I write my own workouts.Although I swim with a group sometimes I can rarely get anyone to do"that crazy breaststroke stuff".Also I do more sprints/longer rest than they like.The exception that makes it "mostly" is I have a coach friend who does underwater videos and I get her to tape and critique my stroke periodically.Also I get our team coaches to give me pointers at meets.

aztimm
September 27th, 2007, 05:01 PM
I'm lucky enough to swim with a masters team that usually has 2 coaches on deck. Normally we split into longer and shorter groups, and a coach takes each. I used to think that our head coach (I think there's about 6 or so coaches) made up the workout and sent it out to them, but now I know that that may be the ideal, but they don't always get it. That said, they modify the workout to fit the individuals, giving intervals that are realistic (even though I may not think they are). Some days everyone will do the same set, such as Fast or Fun Fridays, when the coaches walk around the pool giving feedback to all.

The coaches are usually pretty good with feedback. There are some sets that make feedback easier, but if someone is doing something very wrong, they will make you aware of it. We do sets with all strokes, kicking, pulling, drills, etc. Even when we're doing sets where we end up on the other side of the pool, I've found the coach waiting on the bulkhead to give me feedback.

Occasionally I do swim on my own....I get in the water and have to figure out what I'm going to do. It really makes me appreciate having coaches and lanemates to keep everything flowing.

Similar question--are there any swimmers who run, or triathletes out there who run with a team or coached workouts? I currently run on my own, but am considering trying something with a coach and/or group.

JimCanSwim
September 28th, 2007, 08:49 AM
I've had two great coaches; unfortunately, the good ones seem to leave! :( The only coach that's left mainly just puts up the workout and then goes to chitchat with the water aerobics teacher. Her two main pieces of coaching: 1) You should already know how to do that; and 2) How many times do I have to tell you that?

Now I swim on my own. My workouts are either from the Workouts section here or workouts I've done in the past. (I wrote down most of the workouts the good coaches assigned).

A good coach is hard to find!

JIM

Redbird Alum
September 28th, 2007, 11:54 AM
For an informal poll, this is quite enlightening. I wonder if the USMS governing board were to run a broader based poll if the results would be similar. That would be alot of solo swimming going on!

The Fortress
September 28th, 2007, 11:58 AM
For an informal poll, this is quite enlightening. I wonder if the USMS governing board were to run a broader based poll if the results would be similar. That would be alot of solo swimming going on!

Interesting point. Maybe the solo swimmers read and post more frequently here because they're coach-less? I know I do ...

Slowswim
September 28th, 2007, 12:28 PM
Interesting point. Maybe the solo swimmers read and post more frequently here because they're coach-less? I know I do ...

Could be, but it could show a hole in the Masters swimming program that so many either can't (in my case) or won't go to a coach.

The Fortress
September 28th, 2007, 12:36 PM
Could be, but it could show a hole in the Masters swimming program that so many either can't (in my case) or won't go to a coach.

I think it's just difficult for some people, with busy schedules and kids and whatnot, to get there at the designated practice times.

Slowswim
September 28th, 2007, 12:46 PM
I think it's just difficult for some people, with busy schedules and kids and whatnot, to get there at the designated practice times.

Good point. That's me. I'd love to get to Dynamo, Marlins, or Sting rays (too far) or the Rainbow Trouts (8pm practices). For an early morning workout I can get to most anywhere on the west side of Atlanta and can't find a team or coach.

It might show money to be made and/or increased participation in Masters swimming.

I think Tris are filling this niche. Less pounding on knees and no real coach needed for the swim to participate (as stated on another thread). As a life-long non-swimmer, I never considered Masters swimming until the desire to get better at Tri's lead me to USMS.:2cents:

swimshark
September 28th, 2007, 03:04 PM
I swim with the kids team partially because there is a coach. The masters team has a "coach" but most days he writes the workout on the board and then gets in to swim. I am the type that needs someone to correct my stroke on deck. The kids coaches are great. They are all trained. The one that I am swimming with now is an ASCA Level 1. He knows what he's talking about, too. As an adult in with kids I don't get "yelled" at as much but they still get on to me if I'm not doing it right and I love it. That's what I'm paying them to do.

Alison

Blackbeard's Peg
September 28th, 2007, 03:18 PM
Interesting point. Maybe the solo swimmers read and post more frequently here because they're coach-less? I know I do ...

Fort, thats an interesting observation.
As a recent electee to our team board, one of the things I am working towards is getting more of our team involved in more USMS activities. Using your logic, it would be likely that the majority of our team just comes to practice and never checks out the website. I think we could get a few additional people to come more frequently to test out some new fitness theories or techniques learned from the website or from the forums here.

aztimm
September 28th, 2007, 03:58 PM
Using your logic, it would be likely that the majority of our team just comes to practice and never checks out the website. I think we could get a few additional people to come more frequently to test out some new fitness theories or techniques learned from the website or from the forums here.

Out of 125+ swimmers on my team, I know of 3-5 who actually look at these forums. Our team does have its own website, plus there's a state website, with a blog that you can respond to.

The team does do various other events, such as Friday Happy Hour monthly, weekend breakfast periodically, etc....and the participation rate for those is quite high, higher than for meets.

bethanne
September 29th, 2007, 01:30 PM
I've been swimming with a team for about a month now. At first it was 2x/wk, then 1x and now I'm not so sure as I get more out of my workouts (with much help from swim friends from afar) than I do with the team.

The issue is this: the coach brings a single workout, posts it at the of the lane, sits down and never looks up. I've never been asked my name, how long I've been swimming, what I hope to get out of it, what strokes I know how to do, what pace I can keep. Nothing. Of course, all of the above would be fine if I got some help on technique. When I've asked a question, I get "just do what you can." So basically, I jump in the wall lane, all alone, figure out what intervals I should do, and swim alone. I should point out that this is a small team that has some strong swimmers but hardly hard-core competitive. I feel more alone swimming with the team than I do swimming by myself.

I have to honestly ask myself what I want out of swimming. I believe it's to become fitter, stronger and if I can gain some speed in the process, I'll be thrilled. I'm not sure how swimming with this group of people fits in with that. I'm hardly motivated swimming a workout I can't swim next to strong swimmers with no one paying attention to me. In fact, a couple of times I've been so bummed that I wonder if I have any business swimming or competing.

I've hired someone to coach me a couple of times a month on the strokes I don't know and help me with the ones I do. I have some wonderful swim friends who have answered my workout and goal questions in incredible detail. I think I'll go with that for the next great while.

geochuck
September 29th, 2007, 01:38 PM
I wanted join the master swim club in Nanaimo BC several years ago. They told me to come out for a trial swim. I went to the trial swim and the lifeguard looked at me and asked me to perform all of the strokes. I told her I don't do backstroke or breaststroke. The life guard told me that you must swim all strokes. I laughed and did not get in the water.

inklaire
September 30th, 2007, 12:28 AM
I needed a "sometimes I have a coach" option since I have a really good coach twice a week, and that's more often than "infrequently."

But I wouldn't count it as "most of the time" because I really do need a whole heck of a lot more help than I'm getting, and at the moment, my solo workouts are much more satisfying and intense so I'm more motivated to do them.

bud
September 30th, 2007, 02:13 PM
... The issue is this: the coach brings a single workout, posts it at the of the lane, sits down and never looks up....

that's not a coach, or even a babysitter, that's a bum.

try looking for another team if you want to go the team route. but if you just want to be your best without making a major production out of it then hiring a personal coach 1-4x/mo should be fine.

if you like workouts w/ variety there are plenty of on-line resources... including this forum. see: Workouts (http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay.php?f=95)


i'm kinda surprised at all the posts i've seen recently about bum coach experiences. maybe i should be a coach, it'd give me a great excuse to tell people how to swim.

...

imspoiled
October 1st, 2007, 12:06 PM
There was no option for "several coaches". I'm lucky enough to live in an area with big swimming participation.

My team is coached and I love the team, but the workouts tend to be very similar. Each lane has a different interval, and workouts are never the same twice a week, but as a group we're able to predict what comes next. We laugh about it in the water, but really, it gets dull.

Due to the above, I started to look for alternatives--more motivation, better feedback, and variety. Was able to start working out with my kids' team and got tons of variety. Lots of stroke work, fast intervals, drills with a purpose, and tons of kicking. The coaches are not afraid to make corrections, which is also great. I think my team coach is worried that as adults we will walk away from the team rather than accepting criticism.

I also recently started swimming with another masters group with coached workouts. Again, tons of variety and a coach who won't let me be lazy (I tend to like a lot of rest. She makes me swim the faster interval when she sees me on the wall too long.)

Major personal breakthroughs this past season are attributed to knowing I needed something more and then finding it. Bottom line is do what works best for you, but if you feel something is lacking you're probably right! Be your own coach and fix it.

Dana

Blackbeard's Peg
October 1st, 2007, 01:42 PM
I've been swimming with a team for about a month now. At first it was 2x/wk, then 1x and now I'm not so sure as I get more out of my workouts (with much help from swim friends from afar) than I do with the team.

The issue is this: the coach brings a single workout, posts it at the of the lane, sits down and never looks up...

BethAnne,
This is exactly the kind of situations that are very irksome. We had a "coach" like that a while back. He'd go hit on the female lifeguards he was old enough to have fathered instead of sitting around. We didn't even have the chance to ask him for help. While he was only our coach once a week if you swam in the afternoon, he did all the morning workouts, and they've since dwindled significantly. Not good.

In certain situations, some of these guys are just not used to coaching masters and take some warming up. Most of our coaches have done the whiteboard-and-sit thing. However, after we slowly start introducing ourselves, ask for help and share our goals, they also start getting into it and getting on our backs about bilateral breathing, body position, 2-hand touches, etc. In our situation, we're much older than our coaches, which can be a bit intimidating, so it does help to be proactive from inside the pool.

Unfortulately, it sounds like this guy isn't interested in warming up to you guys at all. Does this team have a Membership Board or program director? Perhaps you, along with other members, can suggest to your representatives some of your wishes for the coach. If he won't listen to your suggestions on deck, the board can either approach the guy and ask him to be more proactive or go out and hire someone new.

In the meantime, it sounds like you've got an alternative. If you decide to go back to the team at all, perhaps you and some of your lanemates/lane neighbors can put your heads together to modify the workout to fit your needs. When we had that coach, we'd do whatever we could do do intensify the crap that was written on the board, things like:
make intervals tighter (1:20 instead of 1:40 per 100),
break up distance things (ie 4x200 instead of 800) when we wanted to work on speedier things,
combine things (2x500 descend 1-02 instead of 10x100) when we wanted to work on endurance,
do the freestyle sets IM and the shorter IM sets freestyle,
do a short kick set pulling
kick for a long pull set

marksman
October 1st, 2007, 02:38 PM
I self coach at the moment. I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to improve. The drawback though is sometimes I don't train things I'm not good at. A coach can catch this.

I prefer swimming as a group but only if I can get a good workout.

indyswimbag
October 2nd, 2007, 11:30 AM
At the moment I swim alone but use workouts provided via email. I add a bit of yardage here and there to make up a workout that I feel like. I would LOVE to have a coach again because I feel that it helps to keep me going when I just dont feel like doing that last sprint or whatever....