Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Areas For Improvement

In an earlier blog I went through the metrics of my group's short course season, and I looked at a 41% success rate for the short course season.

Looking at those numbers I'm left feeling satisfied that I'm meeting my bottom-line success metrics but it's not exactly the case that I blew my own expectations out of the water so I'm left wanting to do better in the long course season.

The group has more Easterns qualifiers then ever before and more Provincial qualifiers then before, which is nice but there's room for more.

My philosophy at this point is that improvement is a two-way street. Firstly, what can the swimmers do to improve and secondly what can I do as the coach to help each athlete improving and for those interested enough to read, I'll share my thoughts and what I feel (at this point in time) are the top 3 solutions I'm going to move forward with (I'll limit it to 3 for ease of read)...


1. Group attendance - it's too low, at 74% there are a few bad apples bringing the average way down but it's a non-stop struggle to keep attendance of a group of teenagers up over 80%. Ideally I'd love 100% but over a group of 36 I'd be content with a honour roll-esque 80%.

2. Hand technique - I believe the success of all swimmers starts with hand technique because strokes begin with the hand and if strokes start wrong at the beginning, they'll be wrong the whole way through. Hand technique and paddle work will be an emphasis over the spring and into summer.

3. Create more goal events - some of my swimmers come to meets with the idea that if they are going to qualify for a meet that it will be in 1 specific event and thus they look to that one and only event as the hinge point to whether a swim meet goes well... It's tough to put all one's eggs in a single basket. So the mentality has to be multiple goal events and train to succeed in multiple events and not just be so deterministic based on a single event.


1. Freshen up practices - I need new drills, new dry land, and new routines to compliment those that are working already. I have started with multiple time a week sets to improve underwater fly kick, which needs to be a skill that the group improves on significantly in the second half of the season.

2. Bring in experts - I know a lot but I don't know everything and given that I coach downtown Toronto there are a lot of swimmers both current and former that have access to that can bring a wealth of wisdom to my group and I need to leverage because I don't feel I'd be doing 100% of what I can do if I did not bring in some more experts.

3. Relentless positivity - There's a lot of dog days ahead, school gets tougher for the kids and schedules get stretched thin and focus gets distracted. It is the easy way to get angry and disappointed with student-athletes but to go negative and lash out at young men and women is not going to make it easier for them to come to the pool. I need to go relentlessly positive and make the pool a place where these young men and women need to be and want to be.

These are my thoughts, these are where I'm heading as a directive for long course season and the metrics will show whether I'm doing a good job or whether I need to search for better answers.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thoughts On Switching From Short Course Season To Long Course Season

Check out the Team Aquatic Supplies blog, I'm there with an article 'Switching Gears To Long Course' about the unique challenges of re-loading a group following an emotional end to the short course season and getting athletes excited for the challenges of long course season.

'Coaches Corner: Switching Gears To Long Course'

Monday, April 25, 2011

Check Out 'The Fantastic 4'

Taking a look at the momentum garnered by Canadian swimming coming out of the 2011 World Trials in Victoria, BC.

4 swimmers will lead Canada into Shanghai this summer, find out who they are...


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blogging At Team Aquatic Supplies

If you look at the Twitter feeds along the sidebar you will already see that I've teamed up with the people at Team Aquatic Supplies and I'm providing them with blog content.

I'm an active client of TAS and I appreciate the support they provide Canadian swimming.

Please follow the Team Aquatic Supplies Blog which features content from National Team members Ryan Cochrane and Julia Wilkinson in addition to myself.

Of course there will still be exclusive content and features here but I'll continue to link to good stuff posted over at the TAS blog.