If you have been a lifelong fan of swimming, you might want to take your passion for the sport to the next level. Becoming a swim coach can be a rewarding experience. You'll get to work with young people and teach them about the value of teamwork, and perseverance. It doesn't matter if your goal is to teach your four-year-old's peewee team, or help train a future Olympic athlete; you still have to start from exactly the same place. Here is how to become a successful swim coach.
First, learn the rules of the sport. In swimming there are four main strokes that are used in competition: freestyle, the butterfly, the breaststroke, and the backstroke. It is very important to learn the mechanics of each stroke, especially if you are planning to teach novice swimmers. If your pupils are taught how to perform these strokes improperly, they may be disqualified from competition. If you are having trouble, it's a good idea to locate the handbook for your local swimming league. There, you will find exact instructions and rules for every stroke.
The next step you'll need to take to become a swim coach is to learn proper coaching technique. There are courses in several states for anyone who is very serious about their craft. These classes are a good idea, but not a requirement. There are also several DVDs and books available that cover this subject matter. In them, you'll learn about the physical and psychological aspects of coaching, and how to use these ideas to motivate your team.
Now that you know the basics, it's time to hold your first practice. If you are concerned about this, don't be. There are also CDs, DVD, and books that deal with this subject matter. During these initial practices, keep an eye on the strengths and weaknesses of each individual swimmer. This will help you determine which event will best fit each of your students. This is also a great time to teach the kids, and yourself, about the value of patience. You'll all have to suffer through a few mistakes, and potential losses, all the while learning how to become a team.
The last part of becoming a swimming coach is to support and motivate each swimmer. It is equally important to help foster a feeling of camaraderie amongst the team. Swimming is a mainly individual sport, so many times athletes become engrossed in their own event. Encourage your individual team members to rally around each other, and cheer one another on to victory.