A friend once told me, "You don’t need to be a great swimmer to be an amazing coach, but it sure does help." The athletic experience is earned, and easily relatable to immediate challenges any swimmer faces. But coaching is about sharing what we've learned. So while initially, I understood a great deal about swimming, breaststroke had never 'come easily' - nor been taught to me.
As a high school swimmer, coaches would constantly refer to the need to build an 'aerobic base' for future swimming success in college. As a coach, I heard the phrase shift from 'base' to 'capacity'. The clear sustained implication that copious amounts of 'work' were a pre-requisite to reap long-term benefits that may or may not be correlated. Only now do I understand that the aerobic capacity'is a function both of cardiorespiratory performance and the maximum ability to remove and utilize oxygen from circulating blood.'
Augmented reality (AR) is opening up nearly endless possibilities to communicate and engage with our world. And with AR on a swim paddle, you can experience just about anything you can imagine at the pool. Break down the swimming mechanics of freestyle before diving in. Or have a coach walk you through the most important parts of a workout before you push off. The boundaries for coaching anyone, including yourself, are virtually limitless.
Transformative coaching works with you to create the best version of your swimming. A great coach knows when to use any piece of equipment, to change tone to motivate, to adapt a workout ‘on the fly’, and generally inspire individual athletes with specific messaging.
Perhaps it’s a penchant for coffee, but Voltaire would have made a fantastic swim coach. He realized that perfect is the enemy of good. Winning a race is not time standing still, its a compilation of processes over time that put an athlete in position to accomplish their goals. And training is about making the most of those opportunities with the time and resources at our disposal. Athlete engagement takes precedent over coaching genius.
The Charlotte Ultraswim was the last meet I ever raced and, despite a brief dalliance coaching my former high school last year, was the last meet I ever coached. Both times I recall sitting in the stands and wondering if athletes, coaches, and fans saw the event the same way?