Coaching IM

According to my Meta Plan for the year I coach IM in the first week of the month – so a bit of everything.

The set of always written in advance, the metres totted up and times calculated. I like to jot down how this goes on the whiteboard so that I can make later adjustments for future sets.


This has more changes in it than usual.

Having introduced the Backstroke to Breaststroke turn I then took the opportunity to add Butterfly to Backstroke and Breaststroke to Front Crawl.

I then wanted some sprints, and to push them a bit. So include 2 x 50m with 3 or 4 swimmers against each other.

My second 90 minutes took in two teaching groups. Teaching Breaststroke can often be a challenge but today was the first time in 20 years of doing this that I had all 7 swimmers unable to do a breaststroke whipkick. This will take some unpicking and a whole raft of ideas to fix: kick with one float, then two, running through the kick in the side of the pool, kick in back, old English backstroke and so on. We managed to for in some dicing too.


PC1 Coach

A decade or so ago I took ‘Mini Squad’ as we then called it. The 9-11 year old competitive swimmers. I’m now back in this roll with so called ‘PC1’ – a slightly smaller squad as we progress them into more advance and demanding competitive squads sooner.

It is a delight to be back and feel so confident in my roll. The Level II coaching certificate that I had to retake having gone through to ‘most’ of Level III coaching in 2008/2009 was a useful refresher.

Having this blog is vital. I can dip into it on almost everything: the strokes and drills, land training and psychology, welfare and more.

A simple Macro Plan takes me through the year alternating through the month on IM, FC/BC, BR and FLY with a different focus and skill each week. And then each week broken into different drills, parts of the skill development and a weekly challenge.

I want to do analysis of every swimmer. We have a GoPro and iPad, though I also have my iPhone 11 Pro and a gimbal which I’d prefer to use so long as people can be reassured regarding child welfare.

Coaching Tips from Bill Furniss

Tips from taking T1/T2 Nova with Bill Furniss during Senior Club Coach Level III training

550m Warm Up (Drill ike and aerobic)

Repeats 100ms on 2:00 or 1:30 pb15

x3 of






100m easy in between

Motivation: they need to want it (Belief)


Improvement of competitive performance

Planned and coordinated programme of preparing and competition (orderly)

Player preparation and performance










Share Knowledge




Data Collection







Taking my Level I & Level II Assistant Swim Coaching Certificates by RPL

I ought to have completed my Level III Coaching Certificate with the Institute of Swimming by 2011 or 2012 … but life got in the way.  I had successfully completed 10/11 of the modules and only had to organise a poolside assessment. However, I took a job at the Open University and was working away from home for a year. I tried to find a club, but that would have meant spending weekends away from home not just through the week. When I came home I struggled to get a coaching slot with my club and by then my son needed taking to football coaching and games instead- so I stepped back from swimming for a further year.

Here we are six years later and I am poolside and making myself available. I have kept up the teaching, and for the last year 1 3/4 hours coaching with our ‘Training Groups’ and 2 hours with Masters.

Having done these 10/11 modules the IoS will let me submit evidence of my coaching experience, practice and understanding. It works thus:

Level II Coaching

Being in contact with our Club Manager and Head Coach I hope to be able to find the time poolside. I have offered to go to early morning sessions, and to work any evening through til 9.00pm. I have a day job and live 30 mins from the pools so don’t want to be staying out later.

The issue will be working alongside my fellow coaches who already take county, regional and national squads, and our Youth I and Youth II Training Groups.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

What could cycle coach Dave Brailsford do for swimming?


I’ve been wondering what lessons we can learn from the Olympics in relation to learning and success so was lighted to follow the interview with Dave Beresford the Team GB Cycling coach.

These are my notes with links. You can view again on BBC iPlayer and via Google I found the inteview being tweeted by various papers and Alastair Campbell.

I’ve been enjoying the TV vignettes with Colin Jackson too.

Simplistic tasters that whet the appetite supported by the BBC Website and links that can provide more.
Potential OU Support
Links to local and regional clubs
Prompts and tasters from The OU via Catherine Chambers in Linkedin to view some content on cycling and so perhaps take a sports science module.

Hero worship such as Dianne Lewis and Seb Coe

The legacy not just for sport, but self–evident proof that learning and hard work in sport can deliver, so hard work, application and knowledge can deliver at work and in the home, with your career, ambitions and family.

Interviewed by Garry Linneker on BBC Olympic Sport, David Brailsford of Team GB cycling on Wednesday 8th August spoke of his approach to seeking out the way to get the best performance from someone and how this could be applied to any sport, as well as work whether a lawyer or accountant.

take cycling out of it
best at anything: lawyer, dentist.
a philosophy
best that a person can be
sports theme park


I should be able to remember the session – I’m traumatised enough from the experience (in agood way).

200m FC Warm Up
6x50m on 1:10

BC Drills
4 x 50m BC single arm
2 x 50m BC Torpedo kick
2 x 50m BR kick on back
2 x 50m Old English (the only one I enjoyed)
6 x 100m FC on 2:20
6×75 as FC and alternative stroke (I did BR)
100m swim down

I was warmed up enough for the 6x100m to go out first and compete. I got well into the grove or zone on the first, boyed up by the tips and support I’d had from the coach on head position and positive remarks a out the fluidity if my stroke. I even did flip turns. If I can retrieve this level of fitness to continue throughout the session THEN I’ll get fit and find my form (for a fifty year old)

Constructive criticism and positive feedback delivered in the right way works wonders, David watches his swimmers and has some useful pointers which I apply, slavishly, however awkward it may feel.

NOVA Centurion 1 HOUR SESSION (8pm 25 NOV 08)

T1/T2 NOVA 1 HOUR SESSION         (8pm 25 NOV 08)

Swim 4 x 50 FC     @ 1.00/1.15
as     25m                FIST        (Hands in fists drill)
25m         CUP        (Catch Up)

Swim 3 x 50m BC     @ 1.00/1.15         High REC

Kick    2 x 100m     @ 2.00/2.15
as 25 FC, 25 BC

Tumble on kick & tight streamlining & perfectly executed turns & transitions



6 x 100m    @ on 1.30  PB + 15  Hold SC Inc: last 25m
1 x 200m IM    @ 3.30
Slow FLY
Fast BC, BR & FC.

Last 25m FC to be same as last 25m on 100s

100m     Easy     BC

2nd Repeat 4 x 100m

3rd Repeat 2 x 100m

900m + 700m + 500m = 2100m


2 x 50 FLY            @ 2.30
2 x 50 FLY Kick on back    @ 1.30
2 x 50 FC MAX


TOTAL  550m + 2100m + 300m = 2950m

Goal Setting

For squad swimmers, coaches … and parents of squad swimmers, it helps to set some goals. This is how. Make sure they are: