Is it OK to change your mind over a session you had planned?

How I involve swimmers in the planning process? What’s the benefit of this?

Get them to complete a goal sheet or assessment sheet and from this consider personalising the plan, either adapting what they would do as part of a squad or think about a individual set and scheme of work. They buy into something if they feel responsible for it – this kind of intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic motivation.

When I change my mind.

I hadn’t appreciated that most of my swimmers would be taking part in a massive internal gala the following weekend and they naturally wished to practice starts and turns rather than drilling on specific strokes. I was more than happy to accommodate so after a warm up we worked on starts, turns, streamlining and transitions for all strokes from the deep end and shallow end.

Expecting a group of seven swimmers to turn up for a session that was earmarked for BK I found I had only one swimmer. Looking at his notes I knew this would be a great chance to work on his dive and BR so that is what we did.

Working with a group of young adolescent swimmers who were having problems with the rigid sessions being delivered by the former coach and knowing that fins would engage them we did a programme geared around dolphin kick and drills into FLY.

The aim is not always to get the planned result from the session, but to get a result or the best result from the session you end up taking. This might change because of the mix of swimmers or additional info: such as a event coming up or once in a while the need to shut close the pool for emergency repairs resulting in a need to do something else.

Content to push the training group hard whenever I took them to cover for someone else I was surprised to learn that half of them had just come from an hour long land based training session so were not only warmed up … but actually pretty tired out too! The session I had for them that included an 800m warm up then 1600m VO.

Swimmers have goal sheets that invited them to assess their strengths, weaknesses and goals.

They discuss this with me and this will then be reflected in the kind of sessions they do. They are asked to remind their coach of their individual ambitions/plans which may simply mean a swimmer ding more arms only work, or working on a combination of strokes or specific drills with a set that all can follow.

 

How to bring about optimal performance in relation to factors at a competition that can affect an individual’s performance

How to bring about optimal performance in relation to factors at a competition that can affect an individual’s performance

Factor Your Strategies

Hydration

 

Educate athletes to understand why the need to be hydrated during training and at competitions is important. This ‘education’ ought to include a classroom/conference style presentation, with supporting literature and perhaps drink samples provided by a sponsor. As well as publicity for the event going onto the club website, in the club newsletter, on the club notice-boards and in swimmer’s log books, a sheet outlining hydration principles would be used to make the information readily available to swimmers, coaches, parents & team managers. Ensure that swimmers have drinks poolside and that these are suitable to their needs – some energy drinks containing too much glucose for example.

 

Team Spirit and Unity

 

How swimmers get on with their ‘colleagues’ is vital, the lane dynamic can go wrong, as can the mood of the squad or certain swimmers in it, even affecting the entire team depending on who is involved/responsible. From the outset club members, squad or not, need to understand the need to abide by certain club rules, but more than that to participate in some of the charity & social events the club puts on that creates a sense of belonging and combined pride and commitment.  Attitude of parents, committee, coaches & teachers all counts her … even the presence of Club Flyers & Posters around the ‘home’ facility, as well as the wearing of club swimming caps, costumes, tops, hoodies, t-bags & so on. This team ‘spirit’ is also enhance through internal & external PR, posting of results, writing up of event reports, appearances in local papers and putting laminated cuttings up on notice-boards and linking to news on the club website and sharing stories in the club newsletter. All this creates ‘unity’ at an event, as does sharing a coach, and staying at the same location, eating together …  and staying together in a poolside ‘corral.’

 

Environmental Issues

 

Travel distance to the location. Outdoor, v.humid poolside, poor seating, nature of warm-up arrangements – is there a separate pool for warm ups & swim downs? 25m or 50m. Local weather and time zone, time of year (hot, cold, wet, snow etc) Changing rooms/cubicles, team changing, quality and cleanliness of toilets/showers. Access to appropriate food & drinks. Lighting, distance from changing rooms to pool. Temperature away from the pool. Crowding. Bins.  Ease of reading electronic boards. Ease of greeting parents/friends. Sound.

 

Length of Competition

 

Over a day or days, how long during the day between warm up and heats and events. Heat declared winners or finals. Award ceremonies during or after events. Electronic timing or officials … or both.

 

Format of Competition

 

Suitability or otherwise of running order and the events chosen by individual swimmers who may or may not feel good or otherwise about the choices they originally made and the competition they now face … or don’t face. Some events become a non-event if there are few entries …

 

Level of Competition

 

Just as swimmers competing in events where they could appear to do so badly they are humiliated so swimmers that run away with the events won’t gain anything if they are just swimming against the clock and if they mock the event by swimming slowly it does them and the club harm.

Small Teaching club autumn teaching programme

PROGRAMME OF WORK (Autumn)

For a small teaching club. A 4 x 25m pool. Aimed at Level 2 teaching qualification.
September Session 1

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float for 25m Reminder of rope rules All able to push, glide then swim 25m showing basic technique Emphasis on getting the head down

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME FRONT CRAWL / BACK CRAWL

Demonstration Push and glide on front + kick + arm Stroke analysis and correction  Second stroke (Breast Stroke)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Kneeling/Crouch dive/Lunge dive

September  SESSION 2

Introduction of best practice for Breast Stroke Reminder of rope rules All able to demonstrate leg kick on side. All know correct arm position for a push and glide.

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – BREAST STROKE

Demonstration Float exercises back and front.

Stroke analysis and correction

Second stroke (Front crawl / Back crawl)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Fetch diving stick (Shallow end)

September SESSION 3

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float for 25m front and back All able to push, glide then swim 25m showing basic technique Emphasis on getting the head dow

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – FRONT CRAWL

Push and glide on front and back Introduce Dolphin Kick Stroke analysis and correction Second stroke (Back crawl)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Crouch dive/Lunge dive

SEPT SESSION 4

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float All know correct arm position for a push and glide Rules on two hand touch Able to tread water using breast stroke kick.WARM UP Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – BREAST STROKE

Float exercises, arm pull and glide into it Stroke analysis and correction  Second stroke (Front crawl / Back crawl)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Treading water/Sculling

SEPT SESSION 5

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float for 25m front and back All able to push, glide then swim 25m showing basic technique

SEPT SESSION 5

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME BACK CRAWL

Demonstration Push and glide on front and back Stroke analysis and correction Second stroke (Front crawl )

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Safety in water/Life jackets

SEPT SESSION 5

All able to demonstrate leg action for each stroke. All able to push, glide then swim 25m doing correct arm pull for each stroke All adhere to breast stroke rules for turns and touch

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – ALL STROKES

Racing starts and finishes Stroke analysis and correction

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Surface dive for sticks

SEPT SESSION 5

Introduce breathing for Front Crawl

All able to demonstrate leg kick and breathing from rail. All can push and glide into kick All know correct arm position for arm pull and breathing

October  SESSION 6

WARM UP

Front crawl, then back crawl

MAIN THEME – FRONT CRAWL

Demonstration + Whole part whole front crawl Single arm action with float and fins Second stroke (back crawl)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Dive and glide

October SESSION 7

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float All know correct arm position for a push and glide Rules on two hand touch Able to tread water using breaststroke kick.

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – BREAST STROKE

Demonstration+ Float exercises, arm pull and glide into it Stroke analysis and correction

Second stroke (Front crawl / Back crawl)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Treading water, Two hand touch

Otober  SESSION 9

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float for 25m front and back

All able to push, glide then swim 25m showing basic technique Work on leg position

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – BACK CRAWL

Demonstration Push and glide on front and back Stroke analysis and correction Second stroke (Front crawl )

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Back crawl start, glide & kick

October  SESSION 11

All able to demonstrate leg action for each stroke. All able to push, glide then swim 25m doing correct arm pull for each stroke All adhere to breast stroke rules for turns and touch

SEPT SESSION 12

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – ALL STROKES

Racing starts and finishes Stroke analysis and correction

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Surface dive for sticks

SEPT SESSION 13

Work on breathing for Front Crawl All able to demonstrate leg kick and breathing fro 15m All can push and glide into kick All know correct arm position for arm pull and breathing

November  SESSION 14

WARM UP

Front crawl, then back crawl

MAIN THEME – FRONT CRAWL / BACK CRAWL

Demonstration Whole part whole front crawl Single arm action without float with fins Second stroke (back crawl)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Dive, glide, kick, full stroke timed.

November  SESSION 15

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float All know correct arm position for a push and glide Rules on two hand touch Able to tread water using breast stroke kick.

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – BREAST STROKE

Demonstration+ Float exercises, arm pull and glide into it Stroke analysis and correction  Second stroke (Front crawl / Back crawl)

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Surface dive/

Dive from side for sticks

Novemebr  SESSION 16

All able to demonstrate leg kick with float All know correct arm position for a push and glide Able to tread water using breast stroke kick.

WARM UP

Front crawl/Back Crawl

MAIN THEME – ALL STROKES

Relays & Fun races Stroke analysis and correction

CONTRASTING ACTIVITY

Sculling

Coach training with Bill Furniss, Nova Centurion

Saturday 25th October 2008

After yesterday’s efforts today I make it to the pool in good time … in too good time, I’m there 30 mins early and try to catch up on lost sleep in the car. It is too cold, the rain to hard, the wind too strong even for the radio to drown out

Poolside we have the Nova Centurion A1 squad across all eight lanes of this 25m pool.

Bill Furniss talks to us during the warm up, we then take down the main set and go and deliver it.

I picked out the swimmer whose technique I most liked, a guy called Andy Mayor who was going up and down FC in 16 strokes.

He had in the lane with him the Paralympic swimmer Sam Hynde. I woked with M. We introduced ourselves then assisted them to meet the various targets on the set.

Level 3 Senior Club Coach. Unit 1 with Olympic and Nova Centurion Coach Bill Furniss

Friday 24th October 2008

Level 3 Senior Club Coach. Unit 1 with Olympic and Nova Centurion Coach Bill Furniss

Unit 1. The Senior Club Coach.

Arrive in ludicrously good time as I was uncertain of the route to Nottingham or how to find the university & specific lecture room. Just as well! I made the mistake of going through Nottingham during the rush hour, end up back on the ring road going south to the M1 so if I hadn’t given myself an hour or more to play with I would have been late.

Park next to a guy stepping out of soft top Black Porsche with the registration H20.

Trim, Mark Foster in his Fifties fit looking with grey hair. He had a bag with a projector in it so I guessed he was the guy. Half an hour later I meet Bill Furniss, the GB & Nova Centurion Swimming Coach who helped Rebecca Adlington to a couple of gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Colin Huffen introduced himself.

The voice on the phone didn’t marry with up the young, preppy, clean-cut tall young man who introduced himself. His excuse for my hearing back from the IoS about the course work I submitted in June is that they have 250 in the Coaching Programme but had planned for only 100. So they’ve taken on more than they can manage. They’ve had £25,000 in registration fees alone so they ought to have a administrator at least. Colin trained under Bill.

Immediately felt I was with the right person.

Bill. Early 50s. Athletic. Looks good in a T-shirt & shorts & drives a black soft top Porsche.

Like anybody I am inspired by and inclined to listen with a more attentive ear to somebody at the top of their game, someone with 28 years experience, who proves his ability with athletes in the pool and has gone through all the academic hoops:

Coach, Club Coach, Level 4 & Level 5 … as well as picking up a Sports Science Degree from the Open University on the way.

He was a competitive swimmer in his day (200m Fly), and for a period was a successful salesman (he says) before getting into coaching. He was an assistant coach for a mere 4 months and has been with Nova in Nottingham for 28 years. A County Council funded role which has enabled him to produce 300 internationals over 20 years and 10 Olympians. 13 of the 24 in A Squad are internationals.

“Knowledge is nothing if you can’t apply it.”

“It sticks a lot better if you do it.”

“I’m a Devil’s Advocate. You will knock it around.”

“I need you to make the connection.”

Which can mean they have no plan and from past experience could mean long breaks and a good deal of waffle, or simply reading from the manual. BF was quite the opposite, he is in command of the subject, talk in detail without notes and has the authority to question what the ASA is putting out.

“If I think there’s nothing more to learn I’ll give up and become a milkman.”

The Group

A A mum whose son swims. Leicester County Development Coach  & Occupational Paediatrics. Coaching 8 years.

J Northampton SC Took over from Mark Perry Admits to being pushy and finds it hard to resist palling up to BF and plugging  her brilliance.

M An Ex-Swimmer and Coach from Birmingham. Early or mid twenties and got himself digs in a Nottingham Uni Hall of Residence. Jackie wants him to join Northampton SC as an assistant Coach on £18k.

A Level 1 in 1998. A parent. Coaching 6 months at City of Coventry. Formerly Int. Trampolening & diving.  A Qualified Teacher.

M A milkman from & an assistant coach and ex-footballer. Parent, committee, chairman, poolside helper & assistant coach. Taking time out of work, i.e. holiday,  to do this. Usually gets up at 2.30am. Hopes to quit his milkman job in April 2009.

A group of parent poolside helpers, teachers and wannabe coaches. A few have it, several don’t. Some have the personality, several don’t.

J Hoddoston SC. (As Michael I think). 15 National Swimmers, I think. Ex. County Swimmer herself. Secretary & conference Organiser. 2004 Club Coach & Diving Level I. Has a sports study degree.

T Glossop. Coaching 10 hours week. Rugby Player. Til          daughter born. Teaching/coaching rugby.

J Lives & breathes swimming. Father was terrified of water. (Dropped in the deep end as a child). Raised in Swansea where she swam competitively to age 13. Dropped it for 10 years +. Now back with a vengeance as a volunteer with a local development squad.

H Retired bloke with an IQ of 90 who looks like he used to smoke, lives in a mobile home & will soon need a zimmer frame & a hearing horn.

As a set up this bunch of characters reminds me of the Vicar of Dibley. Just as we rarely see the Vicar with her congregation, we rarely need to see the coaches/teachers poolside with kids.

Joined by Olympian Mel Marshall who is thinking of becoming a coach.

She is part of the programme ‘Athletes into Coaching’.

Initiative directed at young athletes coming out of their sport orientated to what they’ve just done and will be doing with a mind set to suit them rather than the oddballs from the amateur/volunteer club based circuit).

 

How long does it take you to swim the English Channel?

Do you keep a log? Do you blog? Do you know how far you swim each session, every week and every year?

It helps you and your coach to know what you’re doing. It is never enough.