The following tips range from technique, to motivational, to different ways to spice up your training. There is a little something in here for everyone, so enjoy the favorite swimming and coaching tips submitted by 8 different coaches from across North America:
1. Don Heidary - Head Coach, Orinda Aquatics. Challenge/support each swimmer to be better technically and personally every day. Address a technical issue and focus intently on it, and also talk to kids individually or as a group about concepts like leadership, work ethic, reaching out to a teammate, or helping in some way. This combined approach moves the team forward in terms of performance and culture, and connect coach to swimmer and swimmer to team.
2. Murray Drudge - Head Coach, North York Aquatic Club. Swimming is no different from school or the workplace, the most studious student doesn't always get the best grades just like the hardest worker doesn't always get the promotion. Success is talent & hard work, but first you have to enjoy the ride.
3. Matthew Donovan - Director of Swimming, Somerset Valley YMCA. One philosophy that we have here is we ALWAYS warm up with fins (not zoomers) - I truly feel that this is a major reason why we do not have shoulder issues on our team. Not one major shoulder injury in the 13 years that I have been at SVY. We warm up 800-1000 meters each day (13 and up) with fins (500 or so younger age groups). The general philosophy is that there is a lot of muscle in the legs and when the body is "cold" the legs should take the stress off the shoulders because (I feel) the shoulders take longer to warm up. We do some pretty high volume sets here at SVY and I think giving the shoulders a break early on in practice is the key to our success and lack of injuries.
4. Phil Parker - Head Coach, Laurentian University Voyageurs. I coach university aged swimmers (17 and over) so a big thing with us is training for their specific race. Throughout each workout I try and recreate some aspect of their race. One of our most popular sets is a 25 meter underwater swim immediately followed by a push 25 or push 50 where they are expected to be at their 100 or 200 race pace respectively. By doing the 25 meter underwater swim, we are setting them up physiologically to mimic the first quarter or first half of their race. They then need to focus and hit their pace 25 or pace 50 under these conditions….over and over again. We will likely do 4 repeats of these push 25/50 sprints with a small swim down after the 4 repeats. The 4 repeats are then done 3 or 4 times through. At this level of swimming, the vast majority of swimmers already have the technical aspects down pat. They spend 4 or 5 years with me learning how to train specifically for their race and how to properly recover from workout to workout. That is where the major focus of our training lies.
5. Patti Rothwell - Head Coach, Tempo Aquatics. "You've got to slow down to go fast." This references the value of a long, powerful stroke, even in sprinting...especially in sprinting...as evidenced by the star sprinter, Alex Popov.
6. Bill O-Toole - Head Coach, Toronto Swim Club. You will never see a successful athlete who does not have great technique. The development of proper skills will lead to great technique. Simply put, anyone can train central movements, the big ones, but great success lies in the mastery of the peripheral, the fine details and edges.
7. Alan Swanston - Head Coach, Newmarket Stingrays. I am just an Assistant Coach... the real Coach is inside each swimmer.
8. Steve Pickell - Head Coach, SoCal Aquatics Association. "Don't be late to the dance." Meaning make sure you're not out of the race before it starts. This is especially useful for a swimmer that tends to go out to slow in races.