Are Coaches Preparing for Competition?

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    I was talking with my 16 year old son last night about swim coaches at least in South Florida. It seems like most of them (At least the ones we know of) Don’t prepare their swimmers for competition.

    Here are some of the things that are overlooked that would better prepare the swimmer.

    There should be time to work on starts, not just practice them, but actually work on them. How far out should they go? What position should they take on the blocks?

    There should be time to work on underwater (UW) speed. How many kicks should one do? Should they do 3 kicks or 8 kicks? Are we timing their UW to find out if they are getting faster with the amount of kick they are supposed to do? Are doing sets just for UW speed?

    What about flip turns?
    Are the swimmers making a good approach?
    Are the swimmer too Close to the wall or Too far from it?
    Race pace is the good for the swimmer because the can practice flip turns at race speed, which has a great advantage to swimmers doing traditional training.

    Are they working on specific events? For example the 200 free. Seems like every coach down here wants ALL their kids to be great at the 200 Free. Ask all of them what’s their strategy and you get about 2 or 3 answers; Long and strong, Sprint the 3rd 50, Go out hard. That’s their strategy.

    Why don’t coaches actually work on the event? You do one in practice for time. If the first 50 is too slow. Stop them. Do a quick recovery, and start again. Work on the 200 so that the kid actually knows how to swim the event for time.

    The last thing I have seen through observation is, that the swimmers all have goal times, that are aggressive, which is a good thing. However, there are at least 2 things that stick for me. That is, the coaches aren’t really doing any training with their swimmers goal times in mind. The other is, How the heck is a young swimmer supposed to reach their goal time, if they have never swam that fast before? If they have never been able to make that time, they have no clue how fast they have to go. That’s where race pace comes in. the swimmer can not only know how fast they must swim, but repeat it multiple times a week.

    The above topics mentioned are the ones that get overlooked. I have spoken to a lot of different parents on different teams, even some that were swimmers themselves and they agree about not preparing for competition.

    I have sat on the sidelines watching all of this and have finally started to take action. First with my son. Although it’s been hard finding swim time lately, due to pandemic restrictions, we are working on it.

    The main thing is I see you swimmers at age 13-16 getting bored or only showing up for practice because their parents make them. If swimming was fun and geared towards racing a lot of them would want to come to practice every day! I hope I can change that in the near future.


    Coaching a team means improving the biomechanical, mental, and psychological capabilities of athletes in a sport/race/competition. Improvement is prioritized – Work output is coincidental.

    Managing a team is simply showing up and giving athletes things to do to fill the assigned time period. Work output is prioritized – Improvement is coincidental.

    Sounds like the team has a bunch of managers. This is reinforced by swimming websites that post workouts from “top coaches” that are just sets and distances without any explanation of what was being instructed or improved. “World Champ coach says 10×100 k/d/s/blue zone is his favorite [random time of year] set for improving [any stroke].”


    Thank for the input! The old team use to do those sets all the time. They were his sprint sets….lol

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