It is taken a good decade longer than I expected to take on a Head Coach role, or even at substantial coaching role with a swimming club. This is entirely down to the need to keep my other interests and activities going, not least a day job. Swimming Coaching is not kind to the working day with the likelihood of early morning training, evening training and weekends at galas.
The opportunity at Hailsham suits because the club swims out of a private pool and so has hours that are far more favourable to the working day: I can hold down a day job, take coaching and still get to bed in good time.
My philosophy for teaching & coaching swimmers comes down to one organisation, two people, two books and an academic sports science paper.
Swim England (formerly the Amateur Swimming Association) has been my guide and source of all training since 2002. Through the ASA, and then Swim England I have taken Level I & II Teaching and Coaching qualifications, and completed 10/11 parts of the Senior Club Coach Level III certificate too. And many other CPD days: coaching swimmers with a disability, transition to competitive swimming, Child Safety and Diving come to mind.
The books I swear by are The Swimming Drill Book by Ruben Guzman for swim teaching.
And Championship Swim Training by Bill Sweetenham.
My biggest influencers as a coach are the former Head Coach at Marlins SC. Beth Ross, and the current Head Coach Stephen Murphy.
It was Steve who introduced me to ‘A Swimming Technique Macrocycle’ by Brent S Rushall Ph.D. This paper, his Ph.D dissertation I believe, put sports science and human bio-mechanics first. This is how to nuance a swimmer’s technique towards perfection. We are always a long, long way short of this.
This translates into my sessions as an emphasis on basics such as streamline, on perfecting technique and then swimming at speed – as it is corrections to technique at speed that counts in competition, rather than overdoing swimming slowly doing drills which are best kept for learning levels.