7 ways Swimmers can help their Coaches

What makes a great team? No matter how complex your answer to this question is, one thing is certain. Coaches are the most important aspect of any team. Without a coach, the athletes would be lost and teams would not even be able to train or compete. As coaches are so important to sports in general, athletes need to show them some love. Although it can be easy to take their services for granted, there are all sorts of ways to make coaches’ lives easier.

1. Provide Honest Feedback

While coaches always look to do things the right way to benefit their team, mistakes do occur and any good coach would accept this. Because of this, it’s important that swimmers are not afraid to offer suggestions to their coaches that could benefit the team, especially if the coaches are seeking out the opinions of their swimmers. With honest feedback, things that perhaps aren’t working, or things that could use some tweaking for team function can be changed for the better.

2. Make Good Choices

While there are 24 hours in a day, team functions only last a small fraction of this timeframe. This is why it’s important to take care of yourself and others throughout the rest of the hours of the day. If you make choices that could perhaps knock you or your teammates out of practicing or competing, the team could be in shambles. This is a nightmare situation for not only the team but for the coaches. Eat well, sleep often, study hard, have fun, but know where to cross the line.

3. Support Teammates

Another terrific way to make your coaches’ lives easier is by supporting your teammates. With such a large quantity of swimmers and only a few or even one coach, it isn’t possible for every swimmer to receive the support they need exactly when they need it. Being a part of something where everyone is chasing the same or similar goals can open a world of possibilities.

4. Set up and Clean up

Whether it’s time to practice, compete, get off the bus, leave a hotel, or something else, there are always some sort of preparations that are necessary. Oftentimes, however, these preparations are left to the coaches. Setting up equipment including stretch cords or power towers for example, are good opportunities for swimmers to help prepare. 

When traveling with the team, if you’re getting off the team bus or departing a hotel, clean up after yourself rather than letting your coach deal with it. Coaches already handle the practice schedule, meet lineups, and all sorts of other logistics, so it’s the least you can do as an athlete to help with the little things. Be prompt, always.

5. Communicate

A major purpose of a swim coach is to guide swimmers toward reaching their aspirations in the pool, so actually sharing your ideas and goals and figure out a plan as to how to get there is critical. As coaches are there to guide you, it’s important to actually let them do so. Have those conversations, don’t be afraid to open up, and let your coaches know what’s going on in your life. Coaches want to be able to help you and whether it’s in or out of the pool, they are there for you.

6. Keep Your Head Up

No matter what your situation is with regards to how many practices you have in a day, how much sleep you get, what you eat, etc., you’re always going to have days where you do not want to be anywhere near a pool. No matter what it is that’s getting you down, though, it’s crucial not to let those negative thoughts impact your teammates’ attitudes.   

One essential skill is the ability to find something positive in a negative situation. If you aren’t having the best day in the pool, or your head just isn’t in the right place, try and encourage your teammates. Although your body isn’t always going to cooperate with you, you can still use your words and positivity to encourage others. This does wonders for the team, which any coach can appreciate.

7. Listen Up

Let’s face it, we all need that push, motivation, and accountability. While coaches help us achieve all of these, it can be easy to allow ourselves to not buy into what needs to be done. Coaches are there to help you move closer to what you want to achieve and to be fully engaged. This is only possible, though, if you buy into what they are saying and trust them. This not only will help you in the long run, but it is also much appreciated by your coaches who invest countless hours into their team.

Coaching comes with many benefits, but the importance of coaching lies in its depth. Coaches help us swimmers to find our paths both in and out of the pool. They help us see through the chaos and aim in the direction of the end goal. With such helpful services that come from our coaches, it is critical that we as athletes are there for them as well. Collaborate with them, converse with them, help make their lives easier. The team will be in a better place, and harmony can ensue.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nerv Smith Swim Squad nor its staff.

Peter Martin | Swimming World Magazine

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