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Questions from Coaches

Q: What do successful coaches do beyond writing a workout?

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Q: What do successful coaches do beyond writing a good workout?

A: Often, the Masters coach is the leader of the program and has sole responsibility of managing the day-to-day affairs both on and off the pool deck. If there are other people helping to manage the off-deck responsibilities of the program, list and define the roles and responsibilities of each position in a written document. Meetings with all coaches, club leaders, and program support staff should be scheduled often to insure the duties of each role are being carried out to the satisfaction of the entire group.

Once you have established what your role and responsibilities are as the coach, begin to list how you will fulfill those duties. Most successful Masters coaches across the country are responsible for the following:

  • Knowing your athletes. Do you know your athletes' names, goals, motivations, and outside interests? More importantly, talk to each swimmer during every practice.
  • Being supportive. Adults want to be treated with respect, and they want to have a positive experience during their time with you and your program. If they have a negative experience, they might not come back. Celebrate their accomplishments without pointing out their failures.
  • Embracing all swimmers. Adults choose to swim for a plethora of reasons and will show up with varying degrees of proficiency. Welcome swimmers of all ability levels and backgrounds.
  • Creating a seasonal plan. Keep a chart of all the events your athletes will be participating in during the year, including USMS ePostal events, pool competitions, open water swims, and triathlons. Write your workouts with the purpose of preparing your athletes for their scheduled events.
  • Planning events. Hosting events such as stroke and turn clinics, swim meets, virtual events, open water swims, and fundraisers provides opportunities to challenge and educate. Encourage 100 percent participation in each club-hosted activity, whether it's a meet or an off-site social.
  • Making swimming fun. As a Masters coach, you have the ability to make a positive impact on each swimmer you coach. Showing enthusiasm with words or gestures on deck is the first step in making swimming fun for your athletes. Smile, and you'll probably get one in return.

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Updated June 25th, 2014 at 01:32 PM by Bill Brenner

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