Category Archives: coaching swimming
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.
Prehabilitation, Rehabilitation, and Elite Performance Shoulder Training. Educate your coaching staff and team on the training methods that have kept shoulders healthy at the world renowned Institute of Human Performance for years.
Laminated 8 page exercise guide included. Product # 718member price $40 + shipping. Click HERE to order now.
Grif and JC’s other DVD is Laps – Functional Dryland Training for Swimmers
Grif Fig and Juan Carlos Santana bring you over 50 years of performance enhancement training specifically applied to the sport of swimming. Now you can see the philosophy, training methods and exercises that are used at the world renowned (IHP) to develop world class swimmers of all ages. If you are a swim coach or a personal trainer working with swimmers, this DVD will teach you the latest training methods used at IHP that can take your athletes to the next level.
Product #705 Member price $30.00 +shipping. Click HERE to order now.
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!
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
- The Top Three Reasons You Can’t Miss The 53rd Annual ASCA World Clinic (swimmingcoach.wordpress.com)
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:
- Knowledge rich context for innovation
- Stimulate people to higher levels of performance
- Great places to work
- Values based
“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?”
“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!
- Hansen makes return in star field at Santa Clara (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Swimming Set of the Week – June 17, 2011 (Set of the Week) (goswim.tv)
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
Honoring a 35 year tradition, new National Team Director Frank Busch will lead off the ASCA Clinic on Wed. evening, 7-8:30 Pm (Sept. 7) along with Head Men’s Coach Gregg Troy and Head Women’s Coach Teri McKeever. (invited)
The three leaders of our 2012 Olympic Team are expected to discuss USA prospects and needs for 2012, as well as Coach Busch’s vision for the future of our USA National Team.
In every year prior to the Olympic Games dating back to 1975, the leader of the USA Olympic Team has provided the keynote for the ASCA World Clinic. We’re happy to see Coach Busch decide to continue that tradition.
The 2011 clinic, expected to draw roughly 1,500 coach attendees, will include more than 40 speakers, presentations and breakout sessions and over 120 exhibitors.
Registration information can be found here: https://www.swimmingcoach.org/worldclinic/asca2011/default.asp