Swimming coach is a challenging job. Teaching a sport that requires precision, discipline, and flexibility is a demanding job. You also have to coach children and be observed by parents. There are many attributes that you must possess to be a great swimmer coach. These are the key attributes that make the best swimmers.
Teaching swimming to all ages and abilities requires communication. First, communicating techniques in a way your students can understand.
It doesn’t matter if you’re showing a front crawl or a freestyle stroke. There’s lots of information to convey, especially if students have never tried these moves.
There’s an easy temptation to appear like the world’s greatest swimmer and use complicated phrases, especially if there are a lot of parents watching! However, speaking in plain English will bring out the best in everyone.
Body language is also important. It is the most important form of communication. Albert Mehrabian’s 738-55 Rule for Personal Communication states that body language is 55% of the way we communicate something. The tone of voice accounts for 38%, and words account for 7%.
Your body language is an external reflection of your feelings. Therefore, non-verbal elements such as posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, and hand gestures must convey control, knowledge, and empathy.
Communication is not complete without listening. This is a critical skill that will help you build close relationships with your students.
Talk to your students before and after class and show interest in their hobbies. You will be able to show your humanity and not just become a one-minded coach.
Motivator of the highest order
To be a motivator, you need to take your communication skills to the next level and combine them with people skills. Nothing is worse than being one of the “Tell and Yall” coaches who only instruct, rather than lead.
Giving orders to others will make them feel like cogs in a machine, and it is unlikely that they will feel empowered.
Students should feel that everything they do in the pool has an obvious and distinct benefit. This idea can be reinforced by encouraging them, giving praise and encouragement when they make mistakes.
You should also encourage students to be aware of their thoughts and feelings to help them create the self-direction needed to reach their goals. They will be able to think about the steps that are necessary to get to where they want to go, instead of focusing solely on the outcomes.
This is in line with the Self Regulation Theory model, which was pioneered and developed by Barry Zimmerman (an educational researcher at the City University of New York).
Self-Regulation Theory teaches students to look at things on a metacognitive (i.e. By being more aware of their thoughts and learning to learn, students will take greater responsibility for their own growth and be more motivated.
It is a part of your job to create a culture that encourages self-regulation learning.
It means being patient, understanding, and approachable. You can be there for your students, whether they are having trouble executing a move or lack confidence.
Your ability to provide direction and nurture your students, rather than just being a coach, could make the difference between a student succeeding in swimming or not. The mental benefits they will gain from swimming such as working under pressure, competing against others, and pushing themselves can be applied in their daily lives.
You have many options to build a relationship with your students and help them maximize their potential. You could do one-to-one training after classes, offer short-term incentives, and set them short-term and long-term goals. These are just a few examples of ways you can make your students happy and keep them interested in training with you.
Organized and meticulous
There is a lot to cover when teaching swimming, especially if there are multiple students with different abilities and ages. Poor performance can be prevented by prior planning, as the old saying goes.
You’ll find that every great swimmer has unique qualities, but there is one thing they all share. They have only gotten to where they are by hard work, paying attention to details, and having a clear goal. Their coach will have instilled these three qualities into them at an early age.
A coach who arrives at a session without any goals in mind and is unprepared is not the best role model. This type of coach is not likely to be a role model for others.
Students want a coach who is prepared to meet them and takes their learning seriously. Someone who plans not only for the session but for weeks or even months ahead. Someone who carefully plans a session around the timeframe, pool size, and equipment.
They want someone who will take a personalized approach to train and focus on each swimmer’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Willing to learn and be knowledgeable
This should be obvious, but it is important to remember that your students must learn from the best. You must have a deep understanding of the sport and a passion for it to be the best coach possible. You must be driven to improve and not see swimming only as a means to an ending.
You are most likely not the final product, just like your students. If you are looking to make it big in the teaching field, a Swim England Level 2 qualification should be on your resume.
An excellent swimming coach will see this qualification as just the beginning of their professional career and look to further their knowledge in other areas, such as diving, aqua fitness, parent and child teaching, or water polo.
It doesn’t matter what it is, there are always areas of swimming that you don’t know about yet. Increasing your skill set will help you gain more clients and increase your credibility over the long term.
Do not be afraid to fail
Ask any person who has ever been successful in their field how many times they have failed at a task. They’ll likely have a long list. How they handle setbacks is what determines their success.
It’s no different being a swimmer if you think about it. They are encouraged to take chances, to try the hard turns and maneuvers, and not to let it affect their ability to do it correctly the first time.
As a coach, it is important to practice what you preach. You might try something new, such as introducing creative exercises to your students or trying out different warm-up drills. It’s great if it brings out the best in your group. It’s okay if it doesn’t go according to plan.
It is not always easy to demonstrate every routine. Your methods may not work for every swimmer. You may not be liked by every parent, but hopefully, most will. You can.
Realizing that you can’t do everything perfectly is the most liberating thing. Failure is an indication that you are pushing yourself, and that you don’t accept a mediocre job.
You will be a great coach if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone.