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Questions from Coaches

Education Director Bill Brenner answers your questions

  1. How can I help bring a stroke clinic to my LMSC?

    by , October 15th, 2015 at 12:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: I attended this year's USMS convention in Kansas City, Mo. During the coaches committee meeting, you asked the Masters coaches to encourage their LMSCs to sponsor an official stroke development clinic. How can I help bring a clinic to my LMSC?

    A: Stroke development clinics are a very popular resource for Masters swimmers and coaches. USMS Education Services conducts the 2- to 3-hour clinic in conjunction with the Masters Coach Certification courses. Exit surveys from the Coach Certification courses have indicated a large demand from coaches for more on-deck educational opportunities. Masters swimmers, particularly those who swim without an experienced coach, attend the stroke clinic looking for help improving technique, learning a new stroke, increasing stroke efficiency, and speed.

    The USMS Masters Coach Certification Course is typically held on a Saturday. At the request of the LMSC, USMS Education Services will provide instructors to conduct the stroke clinic the following day. Any designated USMS certified Masters coach who would like to be on deck for the clinic may do so free of charge. If the coach would rather participate from in the water, he is required to pay the same nominal fee the swimmers in the clinic are charged.

    The LMSC must fulfill two requirements:

    1. The LMSC must be willing to offer some level of scholarship assistance for the coaches registered within the LMSC to attend the USMS Masters Coach Certification Course offered that weekend.
    2. The LMSC is responsible for securing the pool for the stroke clinic and pay for the pool rental, if necessary. Pool time is sometimes donated by a local club or workout group in many LMSCs.

    Benefits of the stroke development clinic include:

    • Continuing education for Masters coaches
    • Teaching Masters coaches how to conduct a stroke clinic
    • Networking opportunity for coaches to meet other local Masters coaches
    • Recruiting and retaining members
    • Adding value to USMS/LMSC membership
    • Introducing Masters coaches and swimmers to new training techniques
    • Inviting lap swimmers to experience the social benefits of Masters swimming and the benefit of having a coach on deck
    • Improving swimmers' technique and efficiency
    • Learning new drills
    • Learning how to use swim equipment properly and creatively
    • Hearing a different voice explain the "how" and the "why" of stroke correction and changes

    Please contact your LMSC leadership and ask them to consider sponsoring a USMS stroke development clinic. Make your request as soon as possible so the LMSC may consider your request and budget accordingly. The Masters Coach Certification Course schedule is posted online. Any questions or concerns from your LMSC may be addressed to my office.

    Working together, we can continue to improve the Masters swimming coaching profession and create enhanced benefits for our coaches and athletes.
  2. Q: How do I attract more fitness swimmers to my program?

    by , February 15th, 2014 at 12:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: How do I attract more fitness swimmers to my program?

    A: Many adults are afraid they don't belong in a "Masters" swimming program. Their fears and concerns must be overcome before they will consider participating. The list of fears and concerns are daunting but can be minimized or eliminated by a genuinely caring coach. Once a coach demonstrates how much they care--rather than how much they know--a partnership between the athlete and coach can begin to form. Ideally, this partnership will develop into one of mutual trust.

    I recommend hosting a clinic for the first time Masters swimmer or novice. Many Masters programs around the country host an introductory clinic for new swimmers to meet the coach, explore the pool, and get a feel for the program's dynamics. Advertise the introductory clinic at your facility, the local sports shops, and nutrition stores. Ask your current athletes to refer a friend or family member.

    Organizing the clinic by ability level and making each swimmer feel successful during the time they spend with you greatly enhances the chances each swimmer will return. Improvement during this initial clinic should be viewed as a byproduct, not the primary goal; overcoming fears and concerns should be your primary objective of the clinic