How To Make The Most Of Your Experience At The 2011 ASCA World Clinic

Whether it’s learning the basics of coaching eight and unders, or a high level discussion on race analysis of world-ranked athletes, every coach who attends the World Clinic will find something new to add to their swimming toolbox.  And the coaching instruction is just the beginning – the four day program is filled with a myriad of opportunities to mix with some of the most prominent names on the swimming landscape, to challenge yourself with differing philosophies and coaching perspectives, to gain insight into the business side and governance aspects of American swimming, and to see first-hand the products, services and tools available to take your coaching and your program to the next level.

The ASCA World Clinic is the most important event of the year for swim coaching professionals.  And to help you get the most out of the event, we’ve created this guide to prepare you for the adventure ahead.

Make a schedule.

Take a look at this year’s schedule and identify the talks, events and features you want to experience at the World Clinic.  Draft up a quick plan.  You don’t have to stick with it, but having someplace to start will make all the difference.  Plus, in the process of making your schedule, you may discover things you would not have come across otherwise. With so many presentations taking place simultaneously, it’s a good idea to determine ahead of time the speakers and topics that are most relevant to your coaching education and professional development.

 Find a friend.

Seek out fellow attendees/speakers who have some experience with the event to give you advice, guide you and even show you around. You’ll come away with a new connection or two. Sure, it’s easy to attend the same talks as the other coaches on your staff, but don’t be afraid to go at it alone and chat up coaches from other parts of the country.  While it may be easier to talk to only those people you know, make sure to make new contacts, too.  Approach small groups of people who don’t seem to be in intimate conversations.  Introduce yourself.  Ask questions.  Some of the greatest learning experiences you can have at the World Clinic come not from the actual presentations, but rather, the conversations you have in the halls, over lunch or during evening gatherings.  Use the World Clinic as a networking opportunity.  Listen to your colleagues. You’ll learn new ways to solve problems and do your job.

Study the map.

This is very important.  The Town and Country Hotel is a very large venue, and once you get here, you’ll want to hit the ground running.  Take a few moments and familiarize yourself with the facility prior to arrival.   Map of key locations.

Pack for every occasion. 

The World Clinic and Trade Show is more than just a conference.  You’ll be attending sessions, meeting new colleagues, networking at social events and perusing the Exhibit Hall.  Expect average weather temperatures in the mid-seventies, and bring a jacket or a hoodie for chilly classrooms and evening socializing.   Take at least one selection of business attire — meaning slacks, dress shirt, tie for guys; a skirt and blouse or tailored dress for ladies.  You certainly don’t want to disappoint Coach Peter Daland by showing up at the Awards Banquet with shorts and flip flops.  In general, you’ll want to look and feel your best, and present an image that you are a professional.  That means clothing you feel confident and comfortable in.  Remember comfortable shoes, so you can manage a lot of walking.  And, don’t forget to throw in a swimsuit – whether for hitting the hotel pool, the local beaches, or trying out the new Endless Pool Elite, featured in the exhibit hall.  You’ll also need some writing materials to take notes and a fresh stack of your business cards to hand out to new colleagues and exhibit hall vendors.

Pace yourself.

You will have the urge to hit the ground running and try to cram as much into your first day as possible. Resist it!  You will only be overwhelmed and disappointed with yourself that you don’t have the energy to go to that great evening event you had your heart set on. You may have to make some tough choices, but you’ll be glad you took your first day slowly.

Read the printed materials.

When you get your materials take a moment to look through them. Pay particular attention to the program book, timeline and exhibit hall map. These sets of information will be your lifeline at the World Clinic.  Review your plan, highlight the presentations most applicable to you, and pencil in time to explore the Exhibit Hall or catch a vendor presentation.

Take time to actually listen.

Attending the World Clinic – with four full days of talks and roundtables and featured presentations by the experts in our field – can give you so many new ideas and perspectives that your head will spin.  Don’t become so intent on taking verbatim notes that you actually forget to listen to what the speakers have to say.  Have a pen and notepad handy and write down key ideas or general observations.  Too much writing, and you won’t be able to think about the things you are hearing.  If you want each and every presentation transcript, order the World Clinic Yearbook, or download audio versions of specific talks via the ASCA website.

Attend the Awards Banquet.

The annual ASCA Awards Banquet, a Friday night event where the biggest names in American swim coaching gather to celebrate their successes, includes recognition for Coach of the Year, Age Group Coaches of the Year and Hall of Fame inductees. In addition, the Doc Councilman Creative Coaches Award is given to those who submit poster presentations detailing innovative coaching ideas.  The top three submissions receive cash awards.  ASCA’s Awards Banquet, a formal affair, celebrates the work we do within the professional coaching community.  Don’t miss out on this evening of celebration – reserve your seats today.  Get tickets (available for no additional charge with your World Clinic registration) by emailing Dianne Sgrignoli ( Space is limited to the first 400 coaches.


About SwimmingCoach

The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) is the only organization that brings together swimming professionals, across all specialties, to collaborate and inspire one another. Through relevant information, comprehensive training, and targeted networking, ASCA helps those in the aquatics industry deepen their expertise, elevate their careers, and ultimately, achieve better results. With our central theme of "leadership, education and certification," we provide a professional umbrella for synthesizing ideas and information from throughout the swimming community into a coherent direction for action.

Posted on August 23, 2011, in ASCA, World Clinic. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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