How To: Coach Adult Swimmers

If you are coaching adult swimmers, it is surprisingly easy to elevate your coaching game.

If you are a swim coach, you probably know how hard it is to create workouts for each of your students. What you will teach a new swimmer is different from what you will teach an advanced swimmer. And when it comes to teaching adult swimmers? That is a whole new challenge!

Fortunately for coaches everywhere, a trio of researchers recently published their comprehensive study on coaching swimmers between the ages 45 to 65. The researchers discovered some interesting insights:

1. Adult swimmers have an especially great appreciation for their coaches' professional certifications. The swimmers also appreciate when their coaches share “evidence” when giving instructions. In other words, coaches should talk about their own accomplishments and share information about the sources for the techniques.

2. Adult swimmers like coaches who demonstrate certain personal characteristics. Specifically, adult swimmers like coaches who are: Professional, reliable, relatable to athletes, friendly, wholly involved, and who encourage mutual loyalty and caring.

3. Adult swimmers want to be held accountable and pushed to their maximum effort. The swimmers also want their coaches to make use of all the pool time, and do so efficiently.

4. Adult swimmers expect certain feedback from their coaches. Overall, the swimmers want the feedback to be positive, constructive, personalized, and challenging.

5. Adult swimmers like it when their coaches use specific strategies in their training. Coaches should consider getting in the water and using equipment – especially video cameras! Coaches should also explain the “why” of drills so swimmers understand the “intellectual” aspects of the practice.

6. Adult swimmers who compete want their coaches to give tips and support before competitions, and want them to follow up with post-competition debriefs.


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