6 Tips for New Swim Team Coaches
So, you just accepted a position as a new coach for a swim team. Congratulations! Being a swim coach is a difficult job, but if you have experience in swimming, you’re already halfway there. Understanding proper swimming technique is a huge aspect of being a successful coach. But, understanding how to interact with youth– and motivate them to improve– is also important. Before starting your season, you’ll want to acclimate yourself with some of the more difficult parts of coaching.
1. It’s All About the Swimmers
Take yourself completely out of the equation. Even if you enjoyed a long, prosperous career as a swimmer, you’re now responsible for a team of your own.
This means prioritizing what works for them over what works for you. It’s important to learn the mistakes that your swimmers are prone to making, and help them to overcome these difficulties. Beyond that, you should advise swimmers based on the best possible form, rather than your own preferences. As a coach, you should not only hone your own swimming skills, but refresh your knowledge about why those skills are important. Purchasing custom sublimated towels for your swim team will help them to feel unified.
2. Be a Leader First, and a Friend Second
No, that doesn’t mean that you should treat your swimmers poorly. On the contrary, you should try to build a deep and meaningful relationship with your swimmers.
But, it’s important for your swimmers to understand and respect your position. If they see you primarily as a coach and not a peer, then they will be more likely to benefit from your advice. In the long run, demonstrating your authority might be better for them.
Helping them to organize a fundraiser without fully taking the reins will boost their morale and understand your role as a coach. Helping your swim team to raise money for custom sublimated towels makes you a mentor, friend and coach all at once.
3. Live Up to Your Word
With younger swimmers looking up to you, it’s imperative that you set a great example. For middle and high school students, a positive role model can have a tremendous impact.
When you offer an incentive or reward to swimmers for completing an objective, then follow through. For example, rewarding your team for a great season with custom sublimated towels will help establish the foundational respect you need. Allowing them to vote on the custom sublimated towel design is important, too. After all, your swim team will use the towels all summer long.
The other side of the coin is equally important. If a swimmer defies your rules with unsafe pool conduct or malicious bullying, then act accordingly.
4. Have an Open-Door Policy
The door to your pool is probably always open, but your metaphorical door as a coach should be too.
Swimmers who do not feel comfortable speaking with their coach are not going to improve their technique or speed. Whether they are having issues with another member of the team, your coaching style, or difficulty with proper technique, you should always be there to listen.
If a swimmer on your team is having issues with family or friends, they may talk speak to you about it for advice. Even listening will help them to overcome these issues, and resolve them.
5. Ask for Advice
For many former athletes, making the plunge into the coaching world is an ideal option, regardless of the sport. Swimming is no different.
Coaches with more experience– whether they are in your school district/organization or not– are usually willing to help. Whether you are curious about how you should handle internal conflicts or reinforce technique, other coaches can give you excellent advice.
Similarly, you should feel free to ask your students questions. For some coaches, swimmer feedback is the best way to reevaluate your coaching style or outlook. Speaking to the parents may help you to realize what the parents are too afraid to say.
6. Stay Open-Minded
For coaches, there are some things that will simply never change. Technique, discipline, and the thirst for improvement are central to all sports, and they always will be. But, continuing to evaluate your coaching style will help you (and your team) to improve.
As you come to understand your swim team and their habits, you should adjust your coaching method. Adapting to their sensibilities will help them to respect you, and build a better relationship.
Purchase Custom Woven Towels For Your Swim Team
There’s nothing that strengthens a team bond like custom sublimated towels. As you journey through your first year as a coach, keep all of these pointers in mind. And remember: you may have to pass this advice on one day, too.