I've been coaching my Masters group for about 4 years now, and have been coaching age groupers for the same amount of time. With my age groupers, at the start of the season, I just tell them what equipment they'll need at the start of the season, they get the equipment, and we all live happily ever after.
However, getting my Masters swimmers to get the specified equipment is like pulling teeth. I try to elucidate exactly what we'll be using the equipment for and what training benefits said equipment provides, and tell them very clearly that if they don't have the specified equipment, they won't get the full benefits out of the sets designed for equipment usage, but I usually have less than a 50% uptake on people getting any equipment besides kickboards and pull buoys. Each of the past three years, I've specified kickboard, pull buoy, and fins as required equipment. Less than half of my ~25 swimmers have gotten fins. This year I've added paddles and snorkels as required equipment. I've got a bit about 75% uptake on the paddles, but only about 10% uptake on the snorkels.
I've asked them why they don't want the equipment, and the responses have been that they just want to get yards in, or they aren't pro swimmers, so why should they use that stuff, or they'll look silly using something like snorkels when they've never used them before, or they just don't care. Interestingly, not a single one of my swimmers has mentioned the cost of the equipment, which is the one reason I'd sympathize with.
Honestly, the struggle to get my swimmers to use equipment has been irritating the heck out of me for the past few years and has come to a head lately. I let them know well in advance if they're going to be using specific equipment at a practice, and write my practices accordingly...then get to the pool and have to rewrite the main set for a lane because only one of the five swimmers in that lane brought fins for the advertised fin main set.
Whew, I had to vent.
Am I being irrational in expecting swimmers to get the specified equipment? Anyone got any tips for how I can deal with my intransigent swimmers?