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A coach can make or break a swimmer's experience with the sport.
Behind every great swimmer is a great swim coach. Whether you are teaching new swimmers or teenagers preparing for competition, as a coach you are looked to as a leader and mentor by your students. Though coaching styles range dramatically depending on the individual coach, the core objectives should remain the same.
Improve Technical Skills
Naturally, one of your primary objectives should be to improve the swimming skills of your students. A new swimmer will need to learn basic swimming strokes, how to breathe properly and how to be safe in the water. As students become confident and capable in the foundations of swimming, it is your job to help them improve their technique and move on to more challenging skills. Techniques should always be age appropriate and tailored to the individual swimmer.
Students will look to you for inspiration. If you are enthusiastic and passionate about swimming, chances are your students will feel the same and it will show in their performance. Your students are not going to improve by just showing up and going through the motions. Wayne Goldsmith of Swim Coaching Brain states that "engagement is key" -- hard work without intent and engagement is not enough to reach one's peak physical performance. You should encourage your students to reach their potential.
Provide a Safe Space
You'll need to be sensitive to the needs of each individual student, suggests USA swimming, which notes that some athletes need more praise than others. Your student should never feel bullied by you or, if you're working with a team, the other swimmers. You may need to step in if one of your students is being made fun of, as the other swimmers will likely not want to create friction with the coach, according to USA Swimming.
Make Swimming Fun
Swimming is hard work and sometimes the fun factor can be lost while preparing for a competition. It's important to keep a sense of enjoyment in the sport. Your students may feel this when they get to engage in a little spontaneous silliness or when they have mastered a new skill. USA Swimming states that fun is the primary reason young swimmers engage in the sport.