Online Coaching – A New Dimension for Swimming Training

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time world record holder, 3-time Olympian, American flag bearer in the 1976 Olympics and co-founder of the Race Club.

Advanced communication technology

Coaching a swimmer online, rather than on deck, is a relatively new form of training, made possible by today’s advanced communication technologies, such as Skype and FaceTime. After many years of using online coaching for swimmers around the world, we have been happily rewarded with every swimmer (and their parents, if applicable) expressing the benefits they have received from our remote coaching service. Today, all Race Club coaches train online swimmers around the world. The demand for this service has been incredible.

Several goals are achieved through online coaching, which typically involves a 30-minute session every two weeks throughout the season. First, it is important to establish a plan for the swimmer, including goal times. It’s surprising how many swimmers go to practice every day, but don’t even know when their practice or championship meets will be, where they’ll be held, or what events they’ll be competing in. Without a plan, it is very difficult to achieve goals in sport or in life.

While most coaches would be fine with establishing a seasonal plan, it is extremely difficult for a coach to sit down with every swimmer on the team and plan the season, including all meets and goal times. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for coaches to do this for every swimmer on the team and complete all the other coaching tasks.

Responsibility and affirmation

Second, we like to hold swimmers accountable. When the plan is established, we make sure that the swimmer sticks to it. It’s easy to lose focus during the season, so we try to keep swimmers on track. We go over what went well and what didn’t go so well in practices or practice matches. We review and critique dating or workout videos. It is important to turn every experience, whether good or bad, into a positive learning experience. We remind swimmers that they reach their goals one step at a time, and often with obstacles and stumbles along the way.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, we remind swimmers how good they are or how great they can become. Swimmers need to hear this often, but it’s easy to forget to tell them. Hearing this will motivate them and keep the fun of the sport to themselves. Building confidence and self-esteem is what sports are supposed to teach athletes, but without hearing enough positive affirmations from coaches and parents, they can fail.

Program improvement

At Race Club, we always take precedence over the head coach and make sure our role is crystal clear to every swimmer and the parents. After all, there can only be one head coach and we are only looking to improve the current training program. If there is a disagreement about what is said to the swimmer, we always ask to communicate directly with the head coach, rather than through the parent or swimmer.

However, by lending extra ears to listen to swimmers, we help solidify missing elements of the program or provide advice on technique and become a valuable part of the swimmer’s team. In many cases, we act as an assistant or additional coach to the head coach. In other cases, when there is no head coach; we provide the entire training program including swim cycles, strength training, stretching sets, mental training program, nutritional counseling and a recovery program.

This week we helped coach a 10 year old girl from Nigeria, a 14 year old girl from New Zealand, a 16 year old boy from Virginia and a 55 year old lifeguard from South Carolina….all from our chairs offices in Coronado, California and Islamorada in the Florida Keys. It’s a typical week for us. In providing this online coaching service, our goal is to define the swimmer’s goals and then help them achieve those short-term seasonal and long-term goals in their career.

So far it seems to work.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Like the Race Club on Facebook

Gary Hall, Sr., Race Club Technical Director and Head Coach (courtesy of TRC)

Follow the Race Club on Instagram

Follow Race Club on Twitter

Connect with The Race Club / Gary Hall Sr. on Linkedin

[email protected]

View the Race Club headquarters here.

Because life is worth swimming, our mission is to promote swimming through sport, lifelong fun and health benefits. Our goal is for every Race Club member and participant to improve their swimming performance, health and self-esteem through our educational programs, services and creativity. We strive to help each Race Club member overcome challenges and achieve their individual life goals.

The Race Club, logoThe Race Club provides facilities, coaching, training, technical instruction, videos, fitness and health programs for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Race Club swim camps are designed and tailored to meet the needs of every swimmer, whether trying to reach the Olympics or simply improving their fitness. Our programs are suitable for beginner swimmers, recreational swimmers, fitness swimmers, US or YMCA swimmers, or triathletes; anyone who wants to improve their swimming skills. All of our Race Club members share the joy of being in the water and use swimming to stimulate a more active mind and body.

Swimming press release courtesy of The Race Club, a SwimSwam partner.

Comments are closed.