Cultivating strong leaders and competitors through superior instruction
The Baylor Swim Club seeks to help each student-athlete realize his or her full potential, both as a competitive swimmer and as a leader in the community. Team work and spirit are among the most highly prized virtues. To develop integrity and responsibility, coaches strive to foster a safe environment for all athletes, provide self-awareness in all stages of the training process and encourage athletes to take ownership of their preparation and performance. With the right inspiration, our kids can make their dreams come true.
My basic philosophy for age group swimming has many components. I have been fortunate to work with so many great athletes and coaches over the years, and I have taken bits and pieces from all of them. I believe in “Excellence Through Individuality.” When a training group of mine is really going, it looks like a multi-ring circus. Every person is different and “one training set fits all” will leave all short of their full potential. I use my vast experience to tap into each athlete’s imagination of where he can take his swimming. While there are common themes to any great program, there are no short cuts. Proper training takes planning, time and commitment!
From a physical standpoint, I believe in teaching technique, technique, technique at the beginning stages and continually refining the stroke through the years of training. It is critical to make sure kids have the fundamentals of basic body position and core body movement in all four competitive strokes. With proper technique at a young age, the kids will maintain their stroke integrity through periods of rapid growth and interest in other activities. As the children progress through the program, more aerobic conditioning is introduced as well as an excitement for trying new, many times longer events. I feel it is crucial to train all four strokes and not specialize at a young age because all swimmers develop at different rates; hence, emphasis on development of the IM is always stressed and praised.
I want mentally and physically fresh swimmers, as opposed to kids who have been hammered with no-purpose yardage at a young age. By the early teen years, I begin to try to change the swimmers’ perception of “fun” by getting them to see the work and commitment needed to excel as something to look forward to doing and doing well. Strong aerobic base and continued technique at a high level is stressed. I always build on each season but occasionally “hold out some plays in the play book” so that there is continued development of the swimmer – not a “too much too fast” mentality.
Mentally, my philosophy is based on the principles of self-image psychology. This discipline is concerned with guiding and directing individuals toward maximum development of their talents and abilities. I try to teach, train and motivate the kids to achieve their ultimate potential in swimming and to see that this experience will prove valuable to them as they grow. Developing an appreciation for such concepts as high self-esteem, personal accountability, self-discipline, goal setting and achievement is essential to success in training and competition. I want the kids to “dream the BIG dream,” but I also want them to understand that the process and chase of the dream is as beneficial if not more than achieving the dream itself.
Just as important in this philosophy is the education of parents (i.e., letting them know what to expect on each step of the swimming ladder). After all, the parents are definitely part of the ladder of success. In many ways parents are the true clients of the swimming business. Educating the parents on the philosophy of the program and then showing them how they can support their child’s progress makes all aspects of the club flow in a positive direction. I communicate with parents so they can be aware of their child’s progress and support him or her through successes as well as challenges.
Am I a sprint coach? Am I a distance coach? I think of my job as a developer of all talents. I have had success coaching all levels of swimmers at all distances and strokes. I enjoy helping the BB kid try for his first A time as much as helping top level athletes shoot for world rankings. Developing all the athletes’ talents is what I am all about. Making sure the athletes understand all the energy systems and the periodization of these systems is a big part of getting the athletes to take ownership of their swimming careers. I want kids to think for themselves and to use the knowledge I have given them to maximize their potential.
I believe in using dry land training to compliment the movements that swimmers make in all the competitive strokes but not to tear them down to where they have difficulty maintaining proper technique. I love the Barrowman medicine ball dry land program. I regularly test the kids on basic athletic standards: high jump, explosive power, etc. The goal is always to make them better athletes, which in turn will help their speed in the water. I will also use basic weight movements in a very structured setting, using proper technique and measured expectations to produce great improvement.
I believe in video instruction. Kids in the year 2007 are in general visual learners. Video games, movies, television, internet, and all the interactive computer programs have programmed kids to learn visually. Over the years I have accumulated a great video library to show each athlete examples of the proper way to perform what coaches are looking for.
I look forward to working with our swimmers to help them achieve their goals both in swimming and in life.
Baylor Swim Club