Category Archives: coaches education

ASCA and USA Swimming Team Up For The New England Coaches Clinic In Boston, October 7-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASCA will offer the FINIS-ASCA Level 2 Stroke School on Friday morning through afternoon, October 7 as a preliminary event to the USA Swimming Regional Clinic which begins on Friday Evening and continues through Sunday morning.

There is limited room in the USA Swimming portion of the clinic, but still a few spots available.

There is LOTS of room in the Level 2 Stroke School.

ALL coaches are eligible to attend the FINIS-ASCA Stroke School. There are no prerequisites and the course is open to Non-ASCA members and non-USA Swimming coach members. (Everybody means everybody!)

This special edition Stroke School focuses on constructing and correcting strokes, starts, and turns for developmental swimmers of all ages. The emphasis is on progressions and teaching techniques.  This is a great course for coaches of novice swimmers – regardless if they are 9th graders on their first high school swimming experience or novice 9 year olds on the club team.  Even if you have already taken the Level 2 Stroke School, this course will offer new information directed toward the developmental swimmer.

Registration for the Stroke School is separate from the USA Swimming portion of the clinic.  Call the ASCA Office today and register for the Stroke School (800-563-4930).

Click here for complete ASCA and USA Swimming details and registration information.

https://www.swimmingcoach.org/pdf/2011%20New%20England%20Coaches%20Clinic%20and%20Level%202.pdf

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ASCA Clinics on Call – Professional Education At Your Doorstep

FINIS and ASCA Announce Details For Upcoming 2011 Advanced Backstroke Clinic

Join Us In San Diego For The 2011 SwimAmerica Leadership Conference

2011 ASCA World Clinic & Trade Show

It’s almost time for 2011 ASCA World Clinic & Trade Show.  This year marks the 53rd time that more than 1,000 coaches will come together for professional education purposes.  Attending the ASCA World Clinic is one of the very few fast tracks to success.  Getting out and comparing notes with your peers, listening to keynotes and topic specific presentations, chatting up some of the world’s greatest coaches, and taking time to explore the technologies and services represented in the Exhibit Hall – all this can give you quite an advantage over the stay-at-home staff from across town.

So, what are you waiting for?  Register today!

ASCA World Clinic 2011
September 6-11, 2011  •  San Diego, CA
schedule  •  register

General schedule

Certification Schools:     Mon. 9/5, Tue. 9/6, Thu. 9/8, Fri. 9/9 and Sun. 9/11

World Clinic:      September 7-10  (Wednesday 1:00 p.m. – Saturday)

Exhibit Hall:   Wednesday Evening through Saturday
Check out the 2011 Exhibitors
View a map of the Exhibit Hall
See the schedule of vendor presentations

Hotel information
Town and Country Resort Hotel
500 North Hotel Circle
San Diego, CA  92108
tel:  (619) 291-7131
room rate:  $132 per night
online room reservations available here

Creating A Culture Conducive To Excellence

Research into high performance (Holbeche, 2005) suggests that while individual performances can have a strong impact on short-term success, it is the culture of the organization that has a more significant bearing on the long-term sustainability of high performance.

Talented individuals can achieve a great deal even when working in a rigid or toxic culture, but they can usually only do so for a short period.  They are much more likely to keep on giving their best when working in a culture conducive to high performance.  

Cultural Characteristics Associated with High Performance Environments:

  • Changeable
  • Knowledge rich context for innovation
  • Boundaryless
  • Stimulate people to higher levels of performance
  • Great places to work
  • Values based
What some great coaches have to say about the culture of a program:

The Purpose and Measurement of a Swim Meet

The Swim Meet Coach – Part II.

“Purpose and Measurement of a Swim Meet

by John Leonard

In the first part of this series, we identified that there are specific skills to develop in coaching at a swim meet as opposed to “practice coaching”. In this article, we’ll begin to explore those skills. We’ll begin with thinking about the swim meet experience conceptually.

Lets first answer the question, “What Do You Think The Purpose Of A Swim Meet Is?”

 To begin, lets make an assumption, and that is, that we are purpose driven human beings attempting to teach purpose to young people. If that is the case, then there are several possible purposes of packing up the family and going to a swim meet.

It is an opportunity to test the quality and durability of what you have learned in practice. Why practice if not to compete and test it? This is a universal, regardless of summer league meet, USA Swimming meet, or high school/collegiate competition.

It is an opportunity to enjoy racing with other swimmers. In most meets, athletes are grouped according to relative abilities, so you’ll be competing with people relatively similar to yourself in ability. While this is likely true in highly organized competition like YMCA, USA-S age group meets, the grouping of athletes is likely to be less homogeneous in high school or summer league competition. You may be in over your head, or you may not have sufficient competitive challenge in your event.

It is a quality opportunity to see if you are a better swimmer today than you were the last time you competed. Universally true. Test yourself. Don’t depend on the competition. Test Yourself.

It is an opportunity to grow to a new level in our sport. If you are an age grouper, a chance to get a new B time, new A time, new AAA time. If a senior swimmer, a chance for a new Sectional cut, Junior or Senior National cut, or, if a high school swimmer, advance to your district or state meet.

It is FUN! Go enjoy it. Make the experience exciting, positive and fun. Learn and appreciate.

The point here is, every swim meet, every swim at every swim meet, should have one or more of the above purposes in mind. The athlete needs coach leadership to understand and put in context, the purpose of the meet and the swim. Don’t let athletes get into the “same old, same old” rut. Set appropriate purposes for each swim in front of each swimmer.

Sometimes its as simple as scoring points for your team in a dual meet. Sometimes it can be pretty complicated. But Purpose is everything!

And the backside of purpose of course, is evaluation. Once the purpose is set, then the coach and athlete need to work together to analyze the result and prepare for the next race, next meet, next season. The good coach becomes skilled at evaluation.

Evaluation may come in various time frames. First, is when the athlete walks back from the blocks. There is an art to good communication with the athlete immediately following the swim, and in this series of articles, we’ll explore the nature and content of those communications.

Second, is more in-depth post meet evaluation to look carefully at the entire meet and performances in context. Third, is the sort of end of season analysis that looking back at each meet in the season can provide.

Good evaluation comes from data. Facts. “Feelings” and “opinions’ are certainly to be respected, and considered. But over time, most coaches have come to the conclusion that facts help form solid opinions and therefore, facts are important to assemble in as much depth as possible.

So, how do you measure results at a swim meet? Here are some ways.

  • Did you have a lifetime best time?
  • Did  you have a seasonal best time?
  • Did you swim the race with the effort pattern that  you had planned?
  • Did you swim the race with the technical elements that you had planned? (Stroke, turn, start, etc.)
  • Did you get the competitive result you sought? (Placing)

And of course, you can add others!

While certainly it is important to select ONE of the above as a primary objective of each swim, the fact is that sometimes swimmers, regardless of experience level, play “mix and match” (“I want to swim a best time and win the race.”) This makes it significantly more difficult to evaluate the race competently.

Now, as the coach, what do you measure?

Here are some ideas:

Measure percent of best times. (lifetime or seasonal)  “We swam 100 races this weekend. We had 42 best times. Our best time percentage for the weekend is 42%.”

Measure the number of new B, A, AA, etc. times on the team. “We had 14 new B times, 3 new A times and 2 new AAAA times, great job!”

Measure the  number of new  Sectional, JR, Sr. National qualifying times. Celebrate those!

Measure the percentage of best times in prelims. In finals. Track these. Compare over time.

Measure the total number of seconds improved by the entire team added together. This is a great “team incentive” that everyone can contribute to.

Measure the percent of best times by stroke. (“We had 22% best season times in backstroke.”)

Measure the percent of best times by distance. (“We had 46% best times in events 400 and longer, and 58% best times in teh 100’s”)

Measure best times by age group. (“the 10 and under girls swam 75% best ever times this past weekend! Congratulations!”)

Measure best times by gender. Then Gender and age group.

The more you measure, the more you have to think about. And you are thinking about FACTS. (Having facts also help in discussion with parents, who typically begin a conversation with “I think…” or “I feel…”  You have the facts.)

Having the facts allows  you to have intelligent post meet conversations with athletes.

“How do you think you did?”

“What was good? What was not so good? What can you improve on?”

“Why?”

“What can we do about it? What do you think we should work on in practice with you?” What can you do to get better?”

Facts also allow you to have intelligent conversations with the team as a whole. “Here is how we did. These are the facts. What do you think? What common traits do you see? What do we need to concentrate on? What simple things can we do as a group in practice to improve?”

Facts allow you to discuss performances with your coaches from a common ground. (if you have a staff.)

Facts allow you to give real information on athlete performance and improvement to your Athletic Director and Principal (whether he wants them or not!) and to your Board of Directors.

Having facts, means that you can be evaluated with facts. Most of us prefer this. (Though, sadly, not all….some want to get by on their charm and good looks…if you are not so blessed, facts can help.)

Summary: think about and have a PURPOSE. Develop and have FACTS!

 

 

Strength Training for Swimmers: An Integrated and Advanced Approach

The purpose of this article is to discuss the benefits of strength training and the factors that need to be considered when designing a program for a competitive swimmer.  We will also discuss a functional approach to strength training and show you how it can be incorporated with a more traditional approach. IHPSWIM’s philosophy is that each style of training has its benefits and therefore should be integrated together.  This article will conclude with an example of one our daily strength programs.

Strength training provides far too many benefits to simply just throw together a program full of random exercises with no rhyme or reason.  Just as swim coaches plan, periodize, and vary intensity and volume, the same should be done for their strength program.  With a well designed strength program athletes will see great improvements in strength, power, an increase in muscle mass (if desired), core strength, and most importantly you will see less overuse injuries.  Overuse injuries tend to happen because of muscle imbalances.  A good strength program will include exercises that address these imbalances as well.

For the purpose of this article, let’s first start by defining what traditional lifts are.  These are your standard barbell squats, bench press, lat pull down and machine exercises (ie. Nautilus) that are more oriented towards muscle isolation, a fixed range of motion and single plane movement.  These types of exercises are great for developing growth in lean muscle tissue and increasing strength and power.  What they lack is the ability to increase core strength and are restrictive when it comes to performing exercises that include multi-limb and multi-directional movement.  Exercises that are multi-limb and multi directional in nature and movement oriented have been labeled “functional training” by some of the leaders in the fitness industry.  This type of training is based on the idea of training movements (multiple muscle groups working together as a unit) and not isolated muscle groups.  Integrating traditional and functional exercises into a strength program provides the benefits from each approach.  The obstacle that coaches may face is getting all of this in with only a limited amount of time set aside for training done out of the water.  The sample workout in this article will demonstrate a very easy way to make this work.

Shown below is an example of an upper body power phase workout when training in the weight room 2 days a week.  Day # 1 focuses on upper body power and Day #2 focuses on the lower body power (not shown).  Every workout contains a traditional, functional, core and rotational exercises.

The power phase typically lasts 4 weeks but can vary depending on other variables.  Please note that the power phase is only done after a general conditioning/hypertrophy phase (high volume, low to moderate intensity) and a strength phase (low volume, high intensity) are performed at some point in almost all cases.

The first circuit on Tuesday starts off with the Lat pulldown. Perform 5 reps and then take a 45 second rest period followed by 5 medicine ball slams.  This combination is a version of complex training, a type of strength training that is used to develop power.  Every circuit will start with a variation of this combination which is a traditional lift  followed by an explosive movement (after a 45 second rest) that is similar to the  movements and muscle groups performed in the traditional lift.  The 3rd exercise is the diagonal cable chop (Figure 1) which is a great exercise for the strengthening rotation in the core. The 3rd exercise represents a functional or core exercise. This circuit will be repeated 3 times.


The 2nd circuit of the day starts with a traditional machine row followed by an explosive recline rope pull (Figure 2).  We use a very thick rope that is looped over monkey bars.  This movement needs to be fast and should result in there being slack in the rope at the top of the exercise.  This is followed by a 1 legged squat which is great for developing leg strength, hip stability and requires no equipment.  Progress this exercise by increasing the range of motion, as long as control and proper technique can be maintained throughout.  Never perform exercises that are out of control and sloppy.

 

The 3rd and final circuit of the day begins with a 1 arm Dumbbell Row.  After the 45 second rest period an explosive pull – up is performed.  The objective here is to perform a fast pull – up and slightly catch air.  The regular pull up MUST be mastered before doing this. This is a very advanced exercise and should only be performed by athletes that have above average pulling strength and no shoulder problems.  The 3rd exercise is the T – stabilization push – up which can be performed on an incline if to difficult to perform properly on the ground.  This exercise is a great core and shoulder stabilization exercise.


At the end of all 3 circuits we usually do 3 fast rope climbs for time.  Depending on the level of strength, we can perform this with the assistance of the legs, no legs, and finally the hardest version, which is starting from the seated position off of the floor.

There is no one style of training that is the end all be all.  Limiting yourself to only doing traditional exercises or only doing functional exercises is limiting the potential of you and your athletes. These circuits make it easy to integrate everything together and get the best of the different training methods out there.  Our goal at IHPSWIM is to help swimmers and coaches organize and implement a solid strength and dryland program.

For more information on our training philosophy check out our DVD titled LAPS:Functional Dryland Training for Swimmers or email Grif at Grif@ihpfit.com. I hope this article will help you meet your goals and get you the results you want!

Thought for the day

Swim Parent Newsletter – Subscribe Today for Less than $0.50 Per Week!

Every week over 40,000 families receive the Swim Parents Newsletter through their head coach.

It is such an easy and inexpensive method for parent education.  For less than $.50 a week, every week we will send you an article you can actually use “as is” to help your parents understand more about our sport and ease your role in parent education.  Receive it, Open it, Review it, and with a couple of clicks forward it to your whole team.  Easy.

One of our most praised articles, “The Awesome 8 Year Old,” was recently published and I would like to present it as an example of the type of article we send out.  You can view it here for free.

If you would more articles like “The Awesome 8 Year Old” you can subscribe by calling us at 800-356-2722 between 8 AM and 5 PM Eastern Time or you can subscribe on line at https://www.swimmingcoach.org/ecom/store/comersus_listItems.asp?idCategory=83

The cost is only $25 per year.

 

For More Info, Please Contact:

Guy Edson

American Swimming Coaches Association

5101 NW 21st Ave., Suite 200

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

800-356-2722, 8 AM-5PM Eastern Time