How to lead your swim coaches to success
Swim coaching is an art as much as it is a science. As you set about helping your team perfect their in-water skills, you are called upon to rely on more than the stats and the strokes that make up this exciting sport.
In the words of one of the greatest coaches in the history of American football:
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
- Vince Lombardi
As important as it is to understand the mechanics behind the techniques in swimming, what truly separates the best swim coaches from the rest is their ability to understand their swimmers and work with them to optimize their potential in the pool.
If you want to lead a team of coaches who can get the most out of their classes, your plans will need to revolve around the strategies that will make your coaches more efficient and receptive to their students.
How do you help your swim coaches step up their game?
There are a number of strategies that can be adopted to support your coaches in their role:
- Coach development programs
- 1:1 planning with coaches
- Prioritize member needs
- Coordinate schedules
- Optimize communication
Let us now take a closer look at each of these strategies in detail and how they can help improve your coaching team.
1. Coach Development Programs
Swim coaches come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing that sets the best apart is their expertise as a coach. So, how do your coaches gain this expertise in the field?
Every professional coach in a USA Swimming program is required to be certified by the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) following a professional course on Foundations of Coaching developed jointly by the ASCA with USA Swimming. After they successfully c the first level of this course is essential for every coach and will provide them with a basic swim coaches' certification from the association.
There are also safety training requirements to becoming a USA Swimming coach. Your coaches will need to finish safety training courses including the Red Cross' Safety Training for Swim Coaches course or a lifeguard training course and also equip themselves with first aid and CPR training.
You can encourage further training for swim coaches through any additional certification course like the ASCA's Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) that will equip them with skills not easily available in the market. This will attract more swimmers to your facility and allow you to organize a wider variety of programs.
2. 1:1 Planning with Coaches
As your swimming coaches grow in knowledge and expertise, they will begin to shape their own coaching outlooks and training programs with swimmers. This will allow them to make the best use of their individual abilities as coaches and leaders as they teach their students.
When you're working with a team of coaches conducting a variety of drills, training programs, and other practices to support swimming performance, keeping track of how each coach is going about their process is important. You would be able to offer a bird's eye perspective on their plan and with the context you pick up from the rest of your team, you would be best placed to help them improve their program.
3. Prioritize Member Needs
Even as you plan with your swimming coaches to optimize and refine their programs, you will need to watch out for what your swimmers are looking out for. Keep an eye on the programs and coaches who are doing well and those who aren't. This will allow you to work more closely with them to identify what needs to change and what can be improved further.
Make sure you are actively taking feedback from students on their programs and coaches and what they would like to be doing more of. This will make you and your coaches more accessible to the students and encourage more people to sign up for your programs.
4. Coordinate Schedules
For coaches to work effectively in a team, it is important for all of them to be in sync with each other's schedules. This will allow them to avoid overlaps and provide more opportunities for students when they're picking the program of their choice.
With a bigger team of coaches, however, coordinating calendars is easier said than done. It's easy to miss classes taking place at the same time and it would also be harder for swimmers to pick the classes of their choice.
This is where technology can be brought in to support the coaches as they plan their schedules. Online scheduling software like Omnify will not only help your team organize their calendars on the cloud, but it would also keep each coach updated on other classes taking place at any given time slot.
More importantly, using a smart, cloud-based pool reservation system will allow students to book the classes and time slots of their choice depending on their real-time availability. This will minimize the work that your coaches need to do and allow them to spend more time on their programs and students.
5. Optimize Communication
Another key element that contributes to your coaching team's growth is effective communication. Your coaches need to be able to have healthy channels of communication within the team and with their students.
This will allow them to keep themselves updated on any changes to the team's schedules and also help them stay in touch with their students and form better relationships over time. This is where you can support your coaches again with technology.
With an all-in-one solution like Omnify, your coaches will be able to receive regular updates on their classes and stay updated on any changes. They can also reach out to their students directly and maintain a personal connection with each of them. With faster and smoother communication, your team will be able to deliver better results to their students over time.
When you're working with a larger group of swim coaches, it can be difficult to stay organized at all times or to keep track of everyone's classes at the same time. This is where a solution like Omnify can make all the difference for your team. Omnify's intuitive solution is designed to help you streamline bookings for your coaches, automate and personalize communication, and store and analyze student information so you can deliver a better experience at your swim facility over time. If you'd like to know how Omnify fits your needs, sign up for a FREE TRIAL and get started today!