In order to find out more about how we coaches function, what motivates us, I prepared an article some time ago which asked a series of questions about the coach and the program. There were no answers, just questions.
The article was divided into the following parts: facilities, training time, and number of swimmers, responsibilities, personal goals, coaching staff, other personnel, program, parent organization, and booster group and coaching.
The questions were as follows:
FACILITIES – What kind of facilities do you have? Are they adequate: Do you have to travel to get to your facility? Do you have to rent your facility?
TRAINING TIME – How much time can you get a swimmer in the pool? How much per day? Do you share your time with diving, synchronized, water polo, scuba, etc.? Do you have a weight program?
NUMBERS OF SWIMMERS – How many swimmers can you carry in your program? 20, 50, 100, 200 or 400?
RESPONSIBILITIES – What are your responsibilities? Do you coach a high school team? Boys and girls? Do you coach a diving team?
What other responsibilities do you have? Do you have a good base for an instructional program? Does your availability limit you from individual and group consultations with team members?
IF INVOLVED IN HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM – Will you have sufficient student body to draw a team from? Do you have to share the available boys with other sports like football or basketball? (In Oregon our swimming season is in the Fall). Do you have separate coaches for the boys and the girls? If not, why not? Will you provide for all levels of competition in your age group program? Are your meets too large? Should you provide for Band novice competition in your area?
PERSONAL GOALS – Consider your own goals, are they age group rather than high school level or senior? Does your age group program push out older kids so that they drop out of the program? Do you emphasize national level competition? Do you provide for the average or poor swimmer to stay in your program? Do you have a pre-competitive program? Do you provide pre-season work prior to the start of the regular high school?
COACHING STAFF – Have you thought about the relationship of coaches in the football or basketball program compared to yours? What is your coach to athlete ratio? Is it one coach for 50 or one to 100 swimmers? Do you have separate coaches for water polo, diving, synchronized, etc.?
OTHER PERSONNEL – Do you have a paid secretary to handle routine club matters? What is your relationship with the pool personnel? Have you control of the Water conditions?
PROGRAM – Will you demand certain things from your program? What is your relationship with agency controlling your facility?
PARENT ORGANIZATIONS – Do you have a parent organization? Is it run by responsible persons? Do they work in the area of fund raising, meet management, and stay out of coaching responsibilities? Do your parents have similar goals to yours?
BOOSTER GROUPS – Will you have a booster group? In the high school do you have a student booster group? Do you have your own group of student supports at your home dual meets? Do you have a band or some form of entertainment at your home meets?
COACHING – Do you have a filing system on technique, strokes, coaches associations, college programs, personnel, income, expenses, parent organizations and new equipment? Are your meets well planned in advance? Are the schedules handed out early in the season to swimmers and parents? Do you schedule tough meets to prepare for a championship or do you have your team meet easy opponents so that you will have good won-lost record? Do you stay current on technique? Do you purchase films? Do you attend high caliber meets? Do you get swimmers into condition?*
By answering these questions, your own goals will be clarified. Try it, it really works.
As far as my relationship with my parents, I would like to make a few remarks. I like to be with them. Sometimes I’ll even play golf with some of them. I allow them into the workouts any time. I usually have some coffee brewing for them. However, at a meet I never spend time with them, I would just never go away drinking with them at that point. Because of my open door relationship with the parents, I never have any problems with them.
With my swimmers I have a few squad meetings. I don’t like group meetings so I have as few as possible. When I do, I want all eyes on me so I can determine how they feel and react to my talk. I am at the pool all day so that if any swimmer wants to talk, I am available. This way I am not bothered at home or after hours. I am involved in several outside activities, one being the Kiwanis and I also have done some work with handicapped children.
This past season I had my team involved with the explorer post. We formed a branch at the David Douglas High School in the Fall of 1971. The ultimate incentive was the explorer post Olympic Championships. Several of my younger swimmers made that their season’s goal. As it turned out, we won the Oregon title and later the National one. This meant that our team would be sent to Munich to represent the U. S. youth and the President in the World Youth Games.
So instead of one girl swimmer at Munich, we had a total of 31 from our team. They were able to spend time with 1800 other youngsters from around the world. I can tell you that they have been completely turned on, totally excited and committed to do a better job in the water.
When it comes to setting your own personal goals, remember not to set goals that you have already achieved or are certain of achieving. Aim for long term goals, one that will challenge you for a very long time, maybe forever.
My own personal philosophy-my long term goals:
- To encourage youngsters of all abilities to compete in the program, allowing for each individual to develop into his or her full potential.
2. To run the kind of program that causes self-motivation and goal setting within each individual.
3. To spend as much time as possible on a one to-one basis with each youngster in the program on goal setting, long and short term-future plans in life or anything they want to discuss. Emphasizing that the “whole” person is one who is physically, mentally, spiritually and morally sound.