Category Archives: thoughts

The Top Three Reasons You Can’t Miss The 53rd Annual ASCA World Clinic

The ASCA World Clinic is a can’t miss event – each year, the World Clinic showcases coaches from the highest levels of our sport, willing to share with all their knowledge, insights and wisdom.  This year is no exception, with a lineup that includes Bob Bowman, Eddie Reese, Jack Bauerle and more.

But even more intriguing, this year, is what else is on the schedule.

Here are three must-attend talks for any coaching professional:

Councilman Memorial Lecture Series – Mr. Luis Lastra, US Navy Seals

The US Navy SEALS are sending Mr. Luis Lastra to the ASCA World Clinic to be the Doc Counsilman Memorial Lecture Speaker.  Mr. Lastra will discuss the SEALS methodology for teaching the components of composure under extreme pressure, mental and physical toughness and retaining Mission focus.  As swim coaches, we too are committed to building champions for life, and this talk is sure to provide meaningful lessons you can take home to your team.  The Councilman Memorial Lecture Series was formed in tribute to one of the swimming profession’s most revered figures, James “Doc” Councilman.  Each year, the lecture provides World Clinic attendees with a speaker from “outside” the coaching profession.  In this way, we hope to honor Doc’s concept that our best learning comes from outside our own immediate environment.

Age Group Track – Mission Viejo Age Group Staff

The Mission Viejo Age Group Staff, a combined force of young and dedicated coaches serving under the tutelage of Coach Bill Rose, will share the Nadadores philosophy and discuss how the team successfully promotes the development of a strong, well-rounded age group program that continues to produce elite 18 and under athletes.  The Mission Viejo Nadadores, one of the largest and longest continuously operating USA Swimming programs, recognizes the club development system as integral to achieving excellence.  Hear about the team’s unique organizational structure and the challenges and advantages of working within a large staff.  Learn how coaches Ad’m Dusenbury, Sarah Dawson and Bryan Dedeaux utilize coaching technologies and embrace positive teaching methods within dedicated peer-group practices.  From training sets to dryland, meet selection to motivation, these coaches will share intricate details of the very fabric that makes up the Nadadores Tradition of Excellence.

Technical Emphasis – Nort Thornton and the amazing things he’s done with breastrokers

After Coach Nort Thornton “retired” as coach of the Cal Berkeley Men’s team he stayed on as an assistant coach and focused on the breaststrokers.  The result?… His breaststrokers finished 1st, second, and fourth at last year’s NCAA Division 1 Championships.  Here is short article Nort wrote and a nice preview to his presentation at the ASCA World Clinic:  “My Thoughts of the New Breaststroke”… After coaching for fifty plus years as a head coach at the high school, country club, U.S. Swimming Club, Community College and NCAA division I levels, where I had sole responsibility of coaching the whole team on all of the four competitive strokes, I retired from the University of California at Berkeley where I have been for the last thirty-three years. I decided to volunteer to help out, and our present coach David Durden was kind enough to put me to work.   We decided that I could be the most helpful if I looked after the breaststrokers swimmers, so that is what I have been doing for the last two years.  It isn’t really work when you love what you are doing.

Don’t miss out on – register today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day

Thought for the day

Mapping A Young Coach’s Education by John Leonard

Yesterday, an ASCA Life Member, John Dussliere of Santa Barbara Swim Club, told us that we should have a “roadmap” for young coaches education.  Great Idea! Thank you, John. So, while nothing is “mandatory” about doing it this way, and members are free to take what they want when they want, here is the ASCA Recommended Road Map to basic coaching education and competence.

First, take the ASCA/USA Swimming Level One Course.  It is the general philosophy and coaching of our sport – hence the title “Foundations of Coaching.” Included are starter materials on teaching strokes, training athletes, working with parents, etc.   Quite simply, it is Coaching 101. It makes you competent to step on deck and assist swimmers and other coaches.  It’s minimal, but it’s the START. Test is taken on-line and reported to USA-Swimming for your coaching membership there, and to ASCA, to start your certification process. You do need to also complete a Certification Application with ASCA to activate this. You can find one on our Website…www.swimmingcoach.org

Second, take the ASCA Level 2 – The Stroke School.  This course is designed to make you aware of world class strokes today, and more importantly, teach you to Construct Strokes in practice. That’s the primary thing that parents bring their children to you to learn…how to swim better.  This is the BEGINNING of your education about strokes. ASCA provides Advanced Courses in each stroke, both live and in manuals.

Third, comes the ASCA Level 3 – Physiology School. This is all about the planning and execution of training for athletes of all ages from 8 and unders to the elite. Along the way, you are “reminded” of some basic science.  Once you can teach strokes and understand the philosophy of our sport, it’s time to have a coherent training plan for your athletes of every age. Long term development of athletes is key to good coaching.

 Fourth, the ASCA Level 4 – Administration School.  We recommend that you take the Administration School, which teaches you ways to conduct and run your program, even if you don’t have the performance standards to meet Level 4 Certification  Use this info as timeless wisdom….Don’t reinvent the wheel…..swim teams have been in operation for many years…Lots of good ways to do things have already been found and documented.  Rather than trial and error, learn from past good ideas to operate your program…whether you are an assistant coach or a head coach, this is important information.  Special sections on high school and college teams.

Fifth, Level 5, the Leadership School. We’re thinking of “flip-flopping” this course with our current Level 4 since every coach needs to be a leader.  This teaches you how you become a leader and what to do with it once you have that remarkable ability. You lead your group, you may lead your team, you may lead your parents, you may contribute leadership to y our LSC or High School association.  It’s swimming specific and a great way to focus on your daily tasks.

Next, once you’ve done the basic 5 Required Courses, ASCA has 23 “Enrichment Courses” that cover many facets of coaching in an advanced and specific manner. Take them in any order you wish, as your interests dictate…much like when you were in college. We add an average of 1.5 courses a year.

SOMEWHERE IN THERE…..along the way, GET A MENTOR. Nothing is a better coaching education. All it takes is the simple question “Can I ask you some questions?” to a coach you admire and respect.

That takes some courage. But take heart. I’ve never heard of anyone rejecting anyone in our profession.  Suck it up…ask someone for help. And when they help you, ask the next question…”Can I stay in contact with you so I can learn some more?”

Do you have to take the courses in that order? No. Do we “encourage it?” Yes. They are specifically ordered to provide an orderly progression of basic information for the framework of your coaching career.

One FINAL NOTE……HOW you take the course, matters. LIVE CLINICS (typically one day for required courses, and ½ day for some Enrichment Courses) are FAR BETTER learning experiences. You benefit from asking questions, listening to questions and answers from others, and the general interaction of live education.  Yes, it costs money to travel and takes time. Not everyone can do it. If you can, try to do it. It’s much better. You get the “two for one” of presenter and manual.

On-line Seminars – ASCA/USA Swimming Collaboration – more than 30 a year. See USA-Swimming website for schedule. One hour in length, mid-day. Saved for later, non-live presentation.  Avail yourself of these…worth ten ASCA Certification units per seminar. Experienced coaches sharing their information.  Free.

Home Study is convenient and easy.  Manuals are “loose leaf” to encourage you to ADD materials over time, as you find more articles you want to save  on the same topic. Young coaches often don’t get “respect” from parents….and they ask me how to sell “their” ideas.  You can’t. You’re too young for a parent ten years older than you to listen to you…but you CAN sell “expert power”.  Expert power is what an experienced coach who is not you, says. You can pull out an article from David Salo on Breaststroke, or Jon Urbanchek on middle distance training, or Ira Klein on age group progressions and they have “instant credibility” with your parents…if you educate your parents on who those coaches are.  You use “expert power” rather than, “in my opinion”. Parents aren’t interested in the opinions of young coaches very much, are they? With Expert Power in your corner, you’re ready to meet those challenges. And very coach in history before you, who succeeded, used Expert Power before you. We all do. Help yourself.

Coming soon….ASCA Level 2 School will be available “on line” with lots of video.

All the Best, John Leonard

Avidasports Installs at the University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN – May 9, 2011 – Avidasports, LLC unveils its revolutionary sports athletic telemetry “sensor” system for swimmers at the University of Tennessee where it will be used by the women’s swim program, it was announced today.

“This technology is a quantum leap for the world of swimming and we are very pleased to work with Head Coach Matt Kredich and his athletes – Tennessee is the first program in the SEC Conference to join this revolution in sports technology,” said President Bruce J. Burton of Avidasports. “The University of Tennessee coaches and swimmers have been absolutely fantastic to work with and we are excited to bring this technology to a swimming program of such integrity, pedigree and legacy of success.”

Highly competitive swim teams and coaches across the country are embracing the company’s patented, high-technology system called AvidaMetrics. The product wirelessly captures eight performance metrics on every swimmer and relays it to a poolside computer. This helps to provide real-time feedback immediately to the swimmer and coach and allows for the coach to communicate with the swimmer while they are training.

“The Avidasports system will challenge the avenue and direction of coaching communication,” said Kredich. “This is the future of sports technology and it provides immediate information directly to the coach and athlete and allows the athlete to make changes in action.”

With AvidaMetrics, swimmers are equipped with personal electronics and coaches are armed with wireless computers. Information such as speed, stroke count, stroke tempo, distance per stroke, length time, breakout time, kick count, kick tempo and more can be measured and synchronized with audio. Multiple athletes can be simultaneously tracked and communicated with during practice. Improvement is ultimately achieved by using the full depth of the product during real time and post-workout analysis.

For more information on Avidasports and AvidaMetrics please visit http://www.avidasports.com. Media inquiries on Avidasports should be directed to Jennifer Dunn, marketing manager at jdunn@avidasports.com or 313-447-5670.

Thought for the day

Care more than others think is wise,

Risk more than others think is safe,

Dream more than others think is practical,

Expect more than others think is possible.


Thought for the day…

“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.”  – Henry Ford.


Finding the Right Head Coach

Sports Coaching Brain

Finding the Right Head Coach
Posted: 13 Mar 2011 09:29 PM PDT

With all the movements and changes in the head coaching ranks these days, it is worth having a closer look at how to go about hiring the right coach.

The most important step for any club, is to first clearly understand what they want from a head coach!

Do they want a leader – an inspirational head coach?
Do they want someone who is an expert in change management – someone who can make hard decisions and radical changes to the Club’s culture and performance environment?
Do they want a technical expert – someone with great skills in one element of the game, e.g. attack?
Do they want a coach skilled with dealing with the media?
Do they want a hard nosed, disciplinarian with a strong work ethic and uncompromising nature?
Do they want someone who can build effective teams and get people working together towards a common goal?
Do they want someone with knowledge and skills in sports science and performance enhancement?
Do they want someone who has played the game at the highest level and has an understanding and empathy for the playing group?
Do they want someone who can create leaders in the player group and create a player driven culture?
Do they want an innovator? Someone who can accelerate change and implement new ideas?
The answer most clubs will give is – “all of the above”.

Most clubs will seek a single person who can meet all of these expectations and more – and they are very, very, very hard to find.

However, most clubs do not NEED a head coach with all these attributes.

The head coach needs of a club will vary over time depending on a range of factors.

A young club may want an experienced coach who can establish a winning culture, systems and structures to help the club get started.

An older club with a more established culture may want the injection of new ideas and energy to revitalise the club, players and program and recruit someone with a new, fresh approach to winning.

Regardless of the needs of the Club, there are some common principles to put in place to increase the likelihood of recruiting the right person.

Five essentials for recruiting the right head coach:

1. Clearly determine what your club needs right now

Don’t go on the coach’s reputation alone or what the coach has done for another team. Think about the UNIQUE needs of your club right now. A coach who has been successful at one club may not be able to replicate that success in the new environment because of differences in the player group, Club culture, resources, management structure, location etc. The key question you are trying to answer is “Can this coach deliver the outcomes we want at this club now and in the future”.

2. Think about the TOTAL COACHING SKILL SET you want.

Instead of looking for one man to deliver the “entire world”, look to employ a coaching TEAM who can deliver high quality, consistent coaching to the club. For example:

A STRONG INSPIRATIONAL LEADER HEAD COACH plus “attention to detail” type, methodical, systematic assistant coaches.

or

A YOUNGER HEAD COACH WITH A STRONG BACKGROUND AS A PLAYER plus a quality, experienced, older assistant coach with a long coaching background to play a role of guide or mentor.

or

A HEAD COACH WITH OUTSTANDING FORWARDS PLAY KNOWLEDGE plus assistant coaches with outstanding attacking knowledge and skills.

Think about the balance of skills, knowledge, character, personality and experience of the coaching and performance enhancement team rather than trying to find one person to do it all.

If you had a very skillful player, but then asked them to be captain, organise the tactical plays, lead on the field, do all the media commitments, be the player responsible for scoring all the team’s points and meet all sponsor commitments, it is highly likely their playing performance will suffer.

Head coaches are the same. Expecting them to be all things to all people at all times will eventually result in a compromised coaching performance.

3. Establish the appropriate INTERVIEW / RECRUITMENT process.

If you are looking for a coach with a strong technical background, have the candidates present detailed technical plans and programs at interview and have someone on the interview panel who can ask challenging technical questions.

If you are looking for someone with a new direction for the Club, ask them to present a detailed “VISION” for the future which covers critical areas such as recruitment, player development, playing styles, etc etc.

Match the interview and recruitment process to the outcome you want!

If you were recruiting a goal kicker – you would ask them to kick a few goals before signing them! Same principle!

4. The six C’S – CLARITY / COMPOSURE / CONFIDENCE / CREDIBILITY / CHARACTER / COMMUNICATION.

The six principles of recruiting a quality head coach are:

CLARITY – Are they clear in their thinking, decision making, vision and direction?
COMPOSURE – Do they deal with pressure? Can they provide leadership in tough times?
CONFIDENCE – Do they believe in themselves and what they say?
CREDIBILITY – Can they get players, coaches, staff, management, sponsors and fans to buy in to what they are trying to do?
CHARACTER- Does who they are as a person enrich the club? Are their values (honesty, integrity, sincerity, humility, work ethic etc) consistent with you want for the head coaching role?
COMMUNICATION – Does the coach communicate well? Can they communicate effectively with players, coaches, staff, management, media, fans, sponsors? Do they communicate well in groups and one on one?
As it is with most organisations, poor communication is at the heart of the majority of problems experienced by sporting clubs.

5. Establish clear expectations, time frames and deliverables.

It is vital that the head coach, the Board, the Management, the staff and of course the players have a clear understanding of what the vision for the club is, the time frame that has been established to achieve the vision and the specific goals and objectives for everyone involved in the program.

From the outset establish clear policies, principles and rules so that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, the standards they are expected to maintain and the time frame to achieve them.

The Head Coach role is an important one for any club. They are often the public face of the organisation and the person held responsible for winning, losing and dealing with the implications of both.

It takes a special person to do it well – and an intelligent, thoughtful organisation to find that special person.

Wayne Goldsmith

© 2011, Sports Coaching Brain. All rights reserved.

Mark Spitz and the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Check out this display from the ISHOF…

Notice the red-lettered “2nd” in the upper left corner?

Something about this just feels a little off. Would really like to hear some thoughts from others about this…what do you think?

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