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Questions from Coaches

Education Director Bill Brenner answers your questions

  1. Incentives to register or renew USMS membership

    by , January 15th, 2016 at 01:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: What incentives can I offer my swimmers to register or renew their membership with USMS?

    A: Consider taking a two-step approach. Make sure your swimmers know the benefits of USMS membership. New benefits are added and enhanced frequently, and as the leader of your program, you should be able to convey those benefits. Knowing your swimmers and the reasons why they swim enables you to pinpoint specific benefits that may enhance their USMS membership experiences. USMS provides sanctioned events for our fitness swimmers, open water enthusiasts, and competitive swimmers. Know the events, when they’re scheduled, and add as many as possible to your program’s seasonal plan.

    Ask yourself, “What benefit or motivation can I provide as a coach and team leader to encourage registration?” Again, knowing what motivates each swimmer as an individual—his or her goals and interests—along with the goals and identity of your program, you can begin to identify incentive opportunities for your program’s members that target USMS registration.
    Coach Stuart McDougal of So Cal Tri Masters recently sent an email to his program’s members that encouraged USMS membership by stating, “Those who renew and have been with So Cal Tri Masters for 6 months or more get a swim month ‘on the house’ between the months of May and September 2017. Those who join as new members will get a video analysis of your stroke identifying the top three priorities for you to improve, scheduled during any one of the weeks when you’ll be swimming with So Cal Tri Masters.”

    Coach McDougal has identified two benefits within his control that are of value to his swimmers. He has kept it simple and easy to administer. He can track his program’s USMS membership on the usms.org website. And as the USMS club contact, he receives alerts when new swimmers register and affiliate with his club. Note who he rewarded with the incentive and when during the year he offers the month “on the house.” Would this or something similar work for you? Do you have long standing members who would be grateful to receive this incentive? Is your cash flow higher in the summer months, enabling you to better manage a small reduction in funds? These are questions you must answer individually—no two programs are the same.

    USMS membership is an important element of the Masters swimming experience. Supporting USMS membership strengthens our organization’s ability to provide our coaches, members and volunteers the resources, education, programs, and services necessary to teach an adult to swim, encourage an adult to swim, and provide the structure for adults who want to enjoy the healthy lifestyle our sport Masters Swimming provides.

    Updated September 14th, 2017 at 06:12 PM by Bill Brenner (updated 9-14-2017)

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  2. Member registration and LMSC selection

    by , December 15th, 2015 at 01:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: Does a swimmer need to register for USMS in the LMSC where they live?

    A: No. A member may choose to register in any of the 52 LMSCs regardless of where they live. A member may register with a USMS club, workout group, or as unattached. Dual membership is not permitted.

    Members should inquire if registration with the specific club or workout group is mandatory for participation. Some USMS programs will not allow swimmers affiliated with other clubs to swim in their practices, even if the swimmer is willing to pay facility and program fees.

    Updated December 21st, 2015 at 04:06 PM by Bill Brenner

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  3. Q: What can I do to encourage swimmers to register?

    by , June 15th, 2014 at 01:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: I coach Masters at a community pool. The facility doesn't require USMS membership for swimmers participating in my program. What can I do to encourage swimmers to register?

    A: Many aquatic facilities across the country don't require USMS membership, but many of those facilities would if they were aware of the benefits USMS provides to the facility, coach, and athlete when each is properly registered. The liability and excess accident insurance provided with membership is one of the most comprehensive policies in the country. With rising litigation nationwide, most facilities would welcome the opportunity to protect themselves and the athletes that use these facilities as well as you, the coach, by adding USMS insurance coverage as an addition to any insurance they currently maintain.

    However, just because the facility doesn't require USMS membership doesn't necessarily mean you, as the coach or a member of the club in a leadership role, can't. There are inherent benefits for you, including protecting yourself in the event of a liability lawsuit.

    Achieving 100% USMS membership participation in your program can be accomplished in several ways:

    • Programs can mandate USMS membership and require each swimmer to renew yearly.
    • Programs can mandate participation in a USMS-sanctioned event (pool, open water, clinic or ePostal), which requires USMS membership.
    • Programs can offer an introductory fee to participate in the program and proactively register each new member with USMS.
    • Program fees collected by clubs and workout groups can be adjusted upward and prorated to accumulate funds to collectively pay to register and renew all participants' USMS membership.
    • Programs can ask athletes to participate in fundraisers to raise money to cover the expense of registering and renewing USMS membership.
    • Programs can find sponsors within the community that support health and wellness; these sponsors can, in turn, donate funds or provide grants for USMS registration.
    • Many health insurance companies refund membership fees for wellness related activities; encourage your athletes to contact their insurance representatives for more information.
    • Encourage your athletes ask their employers to sponsor USMS membership; healthier employees are more productive and help reduce insurance costs. Some employers might cover your program fees as well.

    Working towards 100% participation helps strengthen USMS as a world leader in adult aquatic fitness.

    Updated July 14th, 2014 at 06:06 PM by Bill Brenner

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  4. Verifying membership when hosting swim clinics

    by , November 15th, 2012 at 01:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: If I host a swim clinic, how do I verify USMS membership of the participants?

    A: It's important to make sure that your clinic information and marketing materials state that USMS membership is required to participate in the clinic. This protects your liability insurance.

    1. Require each participant to show a copy of current membership card at the clinic check-in.
    2. Require each participant to provide current membership number, name as it appears in the USMS database, and LMSC. Verify this information with the LMSC registrars.
    3. Use the third-party event registration vendor, Club Assistant, that can verify the participants as they register for the clinic.
    4. Allow non-members to register for USMS the day of the event. Have a device capable of connecting to the Internet so online registration is possible or have paper entries available. Make sure registrants are aware that online registration requires either a MasterCard or Visa. American Express is not accepted. Checks are accepted for paper registration.

    Any one of these options should ensure that all your participants are registered for USMS.
  5. Lap swimmers are potential members

    by , August 15th, 2012 at 01:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: We have several lap swimmers who swim at our pool. How do I get them to try Masters?

    A: Try starting a conversation with lap swimmers after they finish swimming or when they take a break. Make a positive comment about their stroke or work ethic. Introduce yourself as the coach who works with the adult swimmers at the facility. Keep "Masters" out of the conversation during this initial encounter. Ask them leading questions using their first name as much as possible. Develop an idea of what health and fitness goals they might be trying to achieve. The more you know about them as an athlete and swimmer, the better chance you'll have in getting them to accept an invitation to try your program. Remember, the initial conversation should be about them, not you.