How to pick your swimming coach

After doing some research, reading a few swimming books and having several training sessions by yourself, you might think that you barely need any help in improving your swim. That’s where you’re wrong! It will be very hard for you to make any progress without getting an expert’s opinion and input. So if you’re trying to push your limits or even just starting out, hire a coach and make the best of it! But don’t make your choice randomly, not all coaches are the same; here’s what you should look for:

Coaching experience:
If a coach has experience working with kids, it doesn’t mean that he will be suitable for working with you as an adult, and vice versa. Look for a coach who has worked with adults before, or for one who can adjust between coaching both age groups.
If you’re a triathlete, you want a coach who has worked with a triathlete in the past. Those who haven’t will probably know the basics, but they won’t be much help. If you can work with a Masters coach, it would be ideal.

Knowledge:
A good coach is always finding and pursuing new training techniques. He is constantly learning about the latest training methods, sports nutrition, recovery etc… Find someone who does that!

Swimming experience:
It’s not enough to be an instructor, it’s important to have been a swimmer at some point. Look for a coach with some college swimming experience, or someone who has once competed at a high level; it will be easier for him to understand your swimming goals and needs.
But at the same time, don’t be completely impressed by the fact that your coach is a former pro; that alone doesn’t make him a good instructor.

Personality:
You will be spending long hours in the swimming pool with your coach by your side. Make sure it’s someone you can click with and talk to about your goals and weaknesses. Find someone who is professional, patient, and friendly, with acceptable communication skills. A good coach wouldn’t give you the drill and go sit somewhere, he will be moving up and down the pool deck, commenting and correcting your technique, or even demonstrating the drills himself.

Make sure you have all the above checked before committing with a coach; and if you overlook some by mistake, don’t be afraid to end it and look for someone new who suits you better.

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