View RSS Feed

Questions from Coaches

Education Director Bill Brenner answers your questions

  1. Diversity in your Masters club

    by , May 13th, 2016 at 12:02 PM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: I have a swimmer who has expressed interest in coming on board my Masters squad; she is 18 years old and still in high school. I am not sure how I feel about having a high school–aged swimmer on my squad. While she meets the age requirement, she is in high school. This is an adult team; we talk about adult themes and such that might not be appropriate for a high school student. In addition, I’m not sure how my crew would feel. Your thoughts?

    A: First, as the leader of your program, ask yourself: “What is the mission of my program? What values do I want my program to represent?” Do you have these written and published on your website or program communications? Once you’ve established these objectives, it will be much easier to determine the direction of your program and make decisions regarding membership.

    If you need to establish new objectives, ask the group for their thoughts. Getting buy-in and support from your members is important. Sharing ownership strengthens programs. However, at the conclusion of these discussions, I’m a firm believer that if you’re the definitive leader of the program, the final decision rests with you. If, after your final decision, some of your members have concerns, address the issues.

    U.S. Masters Swimming strives to be an all-inclusive organization, encouraging adults of any age, gender, and ability level to swim. If you choose to add young swimmers to your program composed of mature swimmers, then ask them to act, well, mature. Find somewhere else, other than the pool, for the adult-themed conversations. Your task will be to make sure that everyone, including the new swimmer, is comfortable.

    Mentoring young swimmers has always been a passion of mine because I feed off the energy and excitement a new and different (young) swimmer brings to the program. Diversity should be embraced and viewed as a positive attribute of every Masters program.
    Good luck!

    Updated May 13th, 2016 at 02:35 PM by Bill Brenner

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  2. Marketing a Masters program to a local facility

    by , March 15th, 2015 at 01:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: I want to start a USMS program at my local Y. What are the three most important selling points I can share with my program director?
    A: The three most important selling points are diversity, revenue, and community service:

    • Diversity. A U.S. Masters Swimming program provides a platform for a Y to expand its adult aquatic programming. It's a program that celebrates and encourages diversity in age, gender, and ability levels. The single most important component of a successful program is having a coach on deck who understands stroke development, technique, and how to motivate each individual athlete to meet or exceed his goals. The Masters coach makes swimming fun. The more fun swimmers have, the more likely the swimmer will stay in the pool and enjoy swimming as a lifelong activity. For many, this leads to adopting a healthier lifestyle outside of the pool. Masters swimming is a social group activity in and away from the pool.
    • Revenue. A Masters program may be financially self-sustaining and generate revenue from program fees, retention of Y members, and the recruitment of new members. Other revenue can be generated from hosting Masters events including swim meets, stroke clinics, and fund-raising activities. USMS registered clubs are eligible to apply for a grant from the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation to develop and expand opportunities for adults to swim and learn to swim. Adult learn-to-swim lessons can enhance adult programming at the Y, while also teaching a lifesaving skill and generating revenue. The USMS Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor Certification class is a one-day course teaching adults how to teach an adult to swim and become water-safer.

    Community service. USMS and Ys share similar values of providing resources for the continued health and wellbeing of the members of the communities they serve. Both organizations promote learning, respect, excellence, and fun for the benefit of all. Often, members of Masters programs pledge their time, talents, and financial resources by becoming advocates and benefactors of their local Ys.