Ideas On Building An Awesome Club

by SwimSwam Partner Content Off

June 26th, 2020 Training

We all want to coach Olympians and visit with world record holders. But the fact is 95% of clubs deal in “regular” swimmers. Of course, there’s nothing regular about them. They train hard, race fast and do their best and deserve the best any coach can offer. Here are our thoughts on what coaches and clubs can do to make a community changing team in their slice of the swimming world.

Hard questions for coaches to consider:

  1. What is the purpose of the club?
  2. What is the vision for the future?
  3. What is everyone’s job description? Coaches, swimmers, parents.
  4. What’s your (coach) delta value? Why should parents put their kids on your team rather than train on their own at the rec pool?
  5. Would all the kids show up if you didn’t take attendance?
  6. Do they come to be part of the team or just to train?
  7. What do you do to build the Team? Culture?
  8. Can you explain to the kids how a set directly helps them improve their race?
  9. What do you do to improve kid’s character?
  10. Do the parents see your team as a place for their kids to learn life lessons or just to swim fast?
  11. If your swimmers had a bad season, would they leave your club looking for something else?
  12. What’s your swimmer bounce in/out rate? Do kids bounce in and not bounce out?
  13. Can you make your meets bigger and better run? More fun? Attract more fast clubs?
  14. What do you do to improve yourself and assistant coaches?
  15. What do you do to build better relations with local clubs?
  16. How do you define a “good” swimmer? Is it different from “fast” swimmer?

Building a Vision

  1. Why: Make badass kids
    1. This is your team’s purpose
    2. Would you hire this person?
    3. Would they make a good spouse/sibling/leader/parent/employee/student/professional?
    4. Do they care more about their teammates than themselves?
  2. How: Create a team environment everyone wants to be on
    1. Collective suffering
    2. Everyone who can get across a pool can be a part of the team
    3. Team dinners, movie night, community volunteering…
    4. Team caps at practice
    5. Behavior at meets: sit together, cheer on…
  3. What: Grow the club and swim fast
    1. How do kids build mastery of their skill?
    2. Win state, sectionals, juniors. Qualify trials.
    3. Use training sets to work on weakness and train for the race rather than training for the sake of training.
    4. Do your kids do their best on the set because you inspired them to or because they operate by “carrot/stick” motivation?

Suggestions on taking the next steps:

  1. Simplify and consolidate groups to create a more team-oriented atmosphere. Also simpler on parents and coaches.
  2. Age based (not ability) based groups (kids come to practice to be with friends. Swimming fast and training is not why they show up).
  3. No attendance requirements until the club is big enough it has to turn people away

Novice Group: 8 and unders

  • Early elementary school
  • 3-4 workouts per week
  • 45-60min long workouts
  • 12 kids per lane max

Age Group: 9-10/11

  • Late elementary school
  • 5-6 workouts per week 1.5 hours long
  • 10 kids per lane max

Pre-senior Group: 11-13.

  • Middle school.
  • 6-8 workouts per week
  • 2 hours long
  • 8 kids per lane max

Senior Group: 14+.

  • High school
  • 7-9 workouts per week
  • 2 hours long
  • 6 kids per lane max
  1. Clarify the desired technical and conditioning goals for each group
  2. Develop a systematic plan (template) to work on those goals
  3. Write workouts that target the goals
  4. Explain to kids, parents, coaches how each set fits into the larger picture.
  1. Grow the club
    1. Learn Instagram/Facebook
    2. Post about the “why” the most, “how” next, “results” last
    3. Go to meets and display a team everyone wants to be on
  2. Grow kids
      1. Plan what you want to teach them (not swimming related)
        1. Grit, self-control, nutrition, biology, perspective, history…
        2. Read and teach, read and teach…
        3. Schedule time for yourself to talk to the group before/after practice or during dryland
      2. Team events, community volunteering…
  1. Grow Parents
    1. Clear expectations and rulebook
    2. Weekly emails about what is going and direction of the team
    3. Build a base of good officials to run efficient meets
  2. Grow meets
    1. 50s of stroke, 100 IM for old kids
    2. Recruit masters and college swim club kids to race
    3. Prelim/final days with walk-out music for finals
    4. Recruit business sponsors to provide hospitality food/coupons in meet packets in exchange for advertisement
    5. Call up clubs and invite to your meet
    6. Make a social event for out of town clubs/coaches visiting Wichita

Swim Smart was founded by Karl Hamouche and Mike Peterson. We are coaches fixing swimming problems. Every product we created was to help our own kids improve and we hope they can help your swimmers too! At the core of everything we do, we just want swimmers and coaches to be more engaged in workout.

We would love the chance to Partner with you and your team (and vendors) to get you want you need and get your athletes swimming smarter!

Courtesy: Swim Smart, a SwimSwam partner.

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