Motivation to train


In sport if an athlete is made to train they will in time quit – they need to want it. An effort of will or effort is tiring. If you have had to force yourself to do something or made to do it your resistance to the temptations to do something else will weaken. This is known as ego depletion. After Roy Baumeister (1998) in Daniel Kahneman’s 2011book ‘Thinking, fast and slow’.


ASA Level 3 Swimming Coach seeking opportunities with a club in the South East

There are eleven modules to complete to qualify as an ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) Level 3 Senior Club Coach – I have now passed all the first ten modules which in each case has included reading resources, attending a day long workshops (when I did it Long Term Athlete Development ran over two days), reflecting on practice in your own club (applied learning) then completing and submitting an assignment (less an essay, then fill in the spaces with phrases, sentences or single words).

Due to a year working away from home I became ‘freelance’ and find myself without a club to complete my final, poolside assessment. I am prepared to give 12 hours a week for a year to the right club so long as I have a squad (say 8 to 12 swimmers) of at least County or Regional standard. I live in Lewes, East Sussex and work 30 hours a week in Brighton during the day. Within reason I can make early morning sessions, while evenings and weekends are best.


With the permission of the club and the parents I would either have a camera on a headband or a cameraman shooting what I ask them to record. I would in return analyse all stroke problems and share with parents/guardians and in appropriate way with the young swimmers.

All swimming problems can be fixed but each swimmer has to be treated individually where possible as too often there is a problem unique to them that does not apply to the group. Ideally we’d have one teacher per swimmer of course, the times this occurs it is remarkable who a long standing problem can be fixed for good. Indeed, you can deal with several problems in 45 mins if you have only one swimmer.

I saw 13 swimmers in three groups over 2 hours+. Very manageable. Had I 8 swimmers in each session would it have been harder? You adjust everything you do to suit the skills, mood, problems of the swimmers you are presented with, by grade, gender and skill-set.

Patterns you see in the first week usually continue across the weeks, though the surprise is when a swimmer pulls it all together … or less often, starts to fall behind. The reasons are usually very simple: regular attendance, which at this age needs to be twice a week and is great if they make three times a week.

In the back of my mind is an ASA Level III Coaching qualification which requires me to be working with competitive squad swimmers, however, I enjoy spotting the talent as well as fixing problems for any swimmer from about age 7 up.


I do these early in order to try and fix problems ahead of the final assessment some weeks later. If a fault is too elementary it is not possible to fix: diving if a swimmer cannot somersault in the water for example, even a screw kick in breaststroke can be hard to undo in a group of swimmers. And there are problems like a straight arm recovery in front crawl that may be wrong, but if the swimmer is winning races keep it for something to fix gradually.

Diving is key. Kids have no opportunity to learn to dive outside a formal lesson. They should be practising their diving and building confidence in ‘free time’ in the pool. However, pools these days ban all diving 😦 I wish they could be made to understand how disabling this is for swimming clubs. That they are creating a problem.

Psychology for competitive swimmers

Sport Psycology p7 notes

Story of Jules in Australia wanting to quit at 18. 400m IM National Champion then didn’t make the finals persuaded to stay.

Belief about success

low effort


Most elite athletes are high in both.
Need the work ethic.

Recreational athletes
High task, low entity

Age Group Swimmers
Dragged in by their parents

Ignore outcome
Blame othersy

Avoid failure situations
Minimal effort
Impossible tasks

Responses to perception of failure
Maintain self–esteem/ego

Bad when its on its own and isn’t backed up with the task orientation.

e.g. gymnasts story – winning = treats

Understand what the ’urine?’ is …

Motivational Climate

Pursuit of progress
Learn from mistakes

Constant comparisons
Worried about making mistakes


Achievable (Adjustable)
Relevant (Realistic- so that they don’t become a source of stress)
Time (Focused/phased)



Outocme (will lose but no control over it)
Process (get this right and the others will come)

Set training goals every session.

Don’t worry about the w/u or s/d

Fast rotation into the wall
Fast rotation off the wall
4/5 fly kicks off the wall

So can think back and believe they’ve achieved their goal.
Feeding into competition so that they don’t tense up.

after an event

*to maintain self–esteem
*Pick out 3
*be creative
Improvement (moving forward)

Pushy parents and what to do with them!

Set goals strategically they can achieve things incrementally.

Read the athelte
set the ‘baby goals’

Set task and ego

Task – PBs
Mastery of skills
Hard work

Being the best
how are you going to become this person?

Team captains
Gala trophies and medals

True loe as a motivation!
Importance of socialising

What does it take to reach elite level?
Ratin scale. Physical/phsychological/tactical

eg performance wheel

with yiung swimmes:
creating patterns

and then the colour in the lines to where they think they are with 10 best in the world.

A subjective tool as it is how the swimmer perceives.

So thinking about the process goals.

Get them to choose and fill in.
You make choices adn they fill it in.
You fill it all in and compare to gain understanding

Performance profile
and calculate to define priorities closer so 100 the more you need focus.

Relaxation exercise
vs negative thoughts and anxiety
e.g. a script to help anxious athletes relax the night before a big event (first event)

A lot of psychology is trial and error to figure out what each individual reacts to.


Comeptive stress
ongoing and long term

Environmental demands

specifc rsponses to stressors

Trait anxiety
Personality disportion
Predispotion to experience

Arousal state (right now feelings that change to circumstances)

If a predisposed state will react to more sensors

Demands perception arousal otucome
+ve eustress and enhanced performance
-ve distress and impaired performance

ref Wilkinson 2003 Johnny (Rugby)

relaxation script. Can turn to it repeatedly.
Sticking to the plan.
For those for whom it isn’t a recurrent problem, get into a routine.

Seaking advice/support/understanding
Distraction/variety – all personalised.
Degree of trial and error.
Keep doing it until it becomes second nature especially for thise who are predispoed to stress.

Thought stopping. Having something to block out a tirgger from out of the blue.

Leadship skills

good humoured

team notices website rewards social

5.4 Has only been applied to top 16 or so swimmers rather than across squads.

Make the time to spend with each swimmer in turn – probably after a session or at a separate time entirely.

5.5 amonths, annually CBT/swim21

5.6 Process goals

what actions need to be taken to achieve something?

Intrinsic goals
Listening to them
Respecting their individual choices
and supporting these


always have socila fitnessclooks
times to certain or next standard


Democractoc approach
serve of control
Their choice and the worth of it
Personalised to them
Exploiting who they are
Better times
Club engagement

training groups
Creation of a Junior Masters
13–15 needing some control
Give them a choice of sessions,
Also start 6.15 or 6.30
through to 7.15 or 7.30

Identify a & b streams in BSG anda seek thei ‘buy in’ coub teacher/swimmer presentation

There are valuable lessons from sports psychology that can be applied both to education and business management

I’m reading through this (again) two years after attending the Module 5, Amateur Swimming Association Level 3 Senior Club Coach workshop at the Commonwealth Pool, Manchester. The session was run by the former Ireland Olympic IM Swimmer Julie Douglas (now at Chelsea & Westminster SC I believe).

As well as the book and my notes (and copious notes, Julie was studying for a PhD so was more than able to supply references, several of which I’ve followed up and downloaded courtesy of my being an Open University student with access to an enormous digital catalogue) I am doing through the Level 3 Resources too.

Wonderful that there is overlap with personality types from the OU MBA Module B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change’ and from an educational perspective the Masters in Open & Distance Education (MAODE) that I have nearly completed.

‘Poolside is a stage, coaching is a performance’.

I’m reading the notes I took attending a day long workshop Sport Psychology with the Ireland Olympic Swimmer Julie Douglas, now a sport scientist doing her PhD having started out with a degree in PE from Loughborough a decade before.

I love that so much of what I did in my recent Open University Module ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ relate to personality type and the role it plays.

I have perspectives on this now from education, from business and from sport as well as two years of cognitive behavioural therapy to make me less a hedgehog and more a guinea-pig (my words!)

This from Eynsenk & Cattell

A slice of session plans – competitive – age groups

From jamie’s year.