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Questions from Coaches

Education Director Bill Brenner answers your questions

  1. Verifying membership when hosting swim clinics

    by , November 15th, 2012 at 12:00 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.
  2. Charging for additional services

    by , October 15th, 2012 at 12:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: Should I charge the swimmers in my program for additional services such as video filming and clinics?

    A: It's very common throughout the country for coaches to charge for video, clinics and other coaching services. Unless your program fees specifically cover these services, members in your program should expect to compensate you for your time and skills. Masters coaching is a profession. If you feel you have the skills and talent to properly analyze swimmers' strokes and technique, then you should be compensated for your services.

    Typical fees for videotaping range from $35-50 per stroke per swimmer. Fees for a three hour stroke clinic run from $40-125 with variables such as the ratio of instructors to swimmers, videotaping and instructor credentials.

    An underutilized source of revenue for the Masters coach is private swim lessons for adults. Surveys have shown that adults aspire to swim as the number one method of fitness. Yet, 37% can't swim the length of the pool. That's a staggering number of potential students for Masters coaches to market swim lessons to.

    Due to fears and anxieties, many adults prefer to learn in a private environment and understand the value of the coach's time. Private lesson fees average $55 for a half-hour and $100 for an hour and can be offered to swimmers of all ability levels.

    Consider taking these two courses to enhance your knowledge and marketability:

    Updated May 12th, 2017 at 04:46 PM by Bill Brenner

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  3. Collecting dues

    by , September 15th, 2012 at 12:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: My program is growing. I enjoy the additional time I spend on the deck coaching but collecting payments from my swimmers has never been fun or easy. Any suggestions?

    A: Consider using a third party club management company for billing and fee collection, such as Club Assistant. Many coaches resist adding additional costs to their business. However, there is a value to being able to spend more time doing the things you enjoy. With an increase in your productivity, you can spend more time coaching, which benefits you and your members.

    The billing of your members can be customized based on your criteria. I recommend billing in advance either monthly, quarterly, semiannually or yearly. If a member has prepaid the program fee, they are more likely to stay with the program or return to the program after an illness, injury or an extended vacation. Discounts may be offered for specific groups like families, seniors and juniors. I'm especially fond of the family discount. When one or more other family member is participating in our sport, the greater the chance all will continue to participate.
  4. Lap swimmers are potential members

    by , August 15th, 2012 at 12:00 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.
  5. How does the 30-day trial membership work?

    by , July 15th, 2012 at 12:00 AM (Questions from Coaches)
    Q: Can new swimmers try out my club without registering for USMS? I thought all swimmers in the water had to be USMS members to be protected under the USMS insurance policy.

    A: USMS insurance allows for a 30-day trial of a Masters program. Potential members who want to swim with your club can swim for 30 days before they have to register with USMS (this is separate from any club fees you may charge).

    To protect your swimmers' USMS insurance coverage, you MUST have the potential member fill out and sign a USMS application for membership. Write "30-DAY TRIAL" across the top of the application and keep it during the trial period. If an incident occurs, the trial swimmer is NOT covered by USMS insurance, but all of your registered swimmers are covered.
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