Advanced Communication Technology
Coaching a swimmer online, as opposed to being on deck, is a relatively new form of coaching, made possible by today’s advanced communication technology, such as Skype and FaceTime. After several years of utilizing online coaching for swimmers all over the world, we have been pleasantly rewarded with each and every swimmer (and their parents if applicable) expressing the benefits they have gained from our remote coaching service. Today, all of The Race Club coaches are busy online coaching swimmers across the globe. The demand for this service has been incredible.
Several goals are accomplished through online coaching, which typically involves a 30 minute session every two weeks throughout the season. First, it is important to establish a plan for the swimmer, including goal times. It is surprising how many swimmers go to workout every day, yet don’t even know when their practice or championship meets are going to be, where they are going to be held or what events they will be swimming. Without a plan, it is very difficult to achieve goals in sport or in life.
While most coaches would agree with establishing a seasonal plan, it is extremely difficult for a coach to sit down with each swimmer on the team and map out the season, including all of the meets and goal times. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for coaches to do that for every swimmer on the team and still perform all of the other coaching duties.
Accountability and Affirmation
Second, we like to hold the swimmers accountable. When the plan is established, we make sure that the swimmer is sticking to it. It is easy to lose focus during the season, so we try to keep the swimmers on track. We go over what went well and what didn’t go so well in practices or in practice meets. We review and critique videos of meets or practices. It’s important to turn every experience, whether good or bad, into a positive learning experience. We remind the swimmers that they reach their goals one step at a time, and often with hurdles and stumbles along the way.
Third, and perhaps most important, we remind swimmers of how good they are or how great they can become. Swimmers need to hear that often, yet it is easy to forget to tell them. Hearing that will keep them going and keep the sport fun for them. Building confidence and self-esteem is what sports are supposed to teach athletes, but without hearing enough positive affirmation from coaches and parents, they can fall short.
At The Race Club, we always take a back seat to the primary coach and make sure that our role is perfectly clear to each swimmer and the parents. After all, there can only be one head coach and we only seek to enhance the current training program. If there is ever a disagreement on what is being told to the swimmer, we always ask to communicate directly with the head coach, rather than through the parents or swimmer.
However, by lending an extra set of ears to listen to swimmers, we help shore up missing pieces in the program or lend advice on technique and become a valuable part of the swimmer’s team. In many cases, we act as an adjunct or supplemental coach to the head coach. In other cases, when there is not a head coach; we provide the entire training program including swimming cycles, strength training, stretching sets, mental training program, nutritional counseling and a recovery program.
This week, we helped coach a 10 year old girl from Nigeria, a 14 year old girl from New Zealand, a 16 year old boy from Virginia and a 55 year old masters swimmer from South Carolina….all from our desk chairs in Coronado, California and Islamorada in the Florida Keys. That is a typical week for us. By providing this online coaching service, our goal is to define the swimmer’s goals and then help him/her achieve those goals over the short seasonal term and over the longer career term.
So far, it seems to be working.
Yours in swimming,