Q: Why should I attend the USMS Clinic Course for Coaches?
A: Frankly, the demand from adults seeking stroke development clinics far outweighs the supply of clinics provided by well-trained coaches with stroke technique skills. USMS developed the Clinic Course for Coaches (CCC) to increase the supply of Masters coaches who desire the pathway and skills necessary to host a successful clinic. This course provides coaches with a proven method to build a more efficient stroke through a series of progressive drills isolating specific body mechanics.
Many Masters coaches have strong stroke correction skills which serve them well during swim practice or a private lesson. However, the objective of a stroke development clinic is to provide a group of swimmers, of all ability levels, stroke improvement that is measurable both subjectively and objectively and is sustainable.
Masters coaches attending the CCC receive:
A classroom presentation that includes:
Instructions to conceptualize, plan and implement a successful clinic.A detailed timeline for the clinic delivery leading up to and during the clinicA proven instructional method delivered through a specific series of drills and skills that isolate specific body mechanics and progressively builds a more efficient stroke.Narrated drill videos (available to the coach after the course.)
On deck experience during a stroke development clinic including:
Watching a mentor coach deliver the clinic as instructed in the classroom and course textbookFeedback from mentor coachesPractical experience with actual Masters swimmers
So, if you want to learn how to put on a clinic and what to do during a clinic, you should consider attending one of the CCC listed here.
Q: I coach a Masters program with 55 active members. Should I send out a monthly newsletter and, if so, what should I include in it?
A: I’m a news junkie. Albeit old fashioned, nothing is more routine or satisfying than reading a print copy of the newspaper with a cup or two of coffee each morning. Reading the news inaugurates my daily connection to the outside world—it’s my history, civics, and current events lesson du jour. Sure, I read plenty of news articles online throughout the day, and many are attached to my social media habits—Facebook, Twitter, and my family chat threads. Websites such as USMS.org, Swimming World Magazine and SwimSwam help keep me connected to our sport and issues that surround it.
The articles I read—whether in print or online—are by choice. Information that is important and relevant to me should not be left to chance. It should be sent to me directly, preferably via email.
A club newsletter can be a wonderful resource to keep your athletes engaged, educated, and excited about your Masters program. Many coaches outsource the newsletter responsibilities to a volunteer within the program who may have the time, talent, and resources to craft and publish the newsletter with routine frequency. Typical publication schedules are weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
The key to a successful newsletter is to include and mention as many of your athletes as possible in every edition. People like to see their names, pictures, and details about their favorite topic—themselves!
Once you’ve established a working template for your newsletter, it’s relatively easy to fill in the blanks. Your newsletter could include:
· A welcome to new members (list their names and a brief biography including a fun fact).
· A listing of any upcoming changes to the practice schedule and venues.
· Upcoming events with an emphasis on the program’s focus events (explain where you are in your seasonal plan) such as:
1. Fitness events
2. Meets and open water competitions
3. Social activities
· Accomplishments of the program and individuals (be sure to include photos) such as:
1. Event results
2. Goals achieved
· A drill of the week with an explanation of its purpose (videos are available for USMS certified-designated coaches online).
· A swimmer profile. Choose an athlete in your program to showcase in each newsletter and include a picture.
Email the newsletter to your swimmers for free, and print a copy of your newsletter and post it on your Masters Swimming dedicated bulletin board at the pool. The newsletter should complement the other information available on the board, all of which should be designed to encourage other swimmers at the pool to join your program.
Updated August 11th, 2016 at 04:53 PM by Bill Brenner
Q: Is the ASCA World Clinic a good educational opportunity for a Masters coach?
A: Yes. The American Swimming Coaches Association hosts an annual conference providing educational opportunities for swim coaches. The six-day format includes certification courses--the USMS Masters Coach Certification Levels 1 and 2 course being one of them--keynote speeches, and presentations from the leading authorities of swimming from around the world.
The 2016 U.S. Olympic swim team coaches David Marsh and Bob Bowman, along with U.S. National Team Coach Frank Busch, highlighted a group of 25-plus exceptional presenters at the 2015 World Clinic. Many, if not most, of the presentations were of universal value to any swimming coach working within the age-group, high school, college, or Masters ranks. The registration cost for the 2015 clinic was $450.
During the 2015 ASCA World Clinic, USMS coaches Chad Durieux (Rose Bowl Masters), Jillian Wilkins (Central Florida Y Masters), and Rich Axtell (Minuteman Masters) delivered Masters-specific presentations on the following topics:
Learning the differences in training MastersGrowing with triathletesGetting a team of adults to travelGenerating revenue from Masters meetsCreating one diverse poolHosting a clinic for Masters swimmers
What I enjoy most about attending the clinic is the ability to network with other coaches. Any coach, regardless of status, can engage in conversation with any of the other coaches at the clinic. Every coach, including the Olympic coaches, are easily approachable and willing to talk and listen. It's a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and fellowship with others and recharge the coaching battery. I leave the clinic anxious to try new workouts, drills, and the latest swim gear with my swimmers and other coaches I meet.
The ASCA World Clinic includes an exhibit hall with swimming-specific vendors. Many offer hands-on demonstrations, and most have samples of the products they sell. Several bulletin boards are displayed throughout the venue with job postings, creative workouts, and ideas to help you become a better coach and program leader.
The 2016 clinic will be in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the week after Labor Day. Consider adding it to your calendar.