Teaching Technique

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    Obviously you can’t swim fast without having decent technique. I want to improve on my coaching skills in this area.

    I saw two of my swimmers with pretty good technique this year start working hard to hit new race paces just over the last few weeks and they performed really well at sections. That was with not taking practice very seriously the first two months of the year. One of them was injured the beginning of the year. It was frustrating to my swimmers with not as great technique who worked really hard all year and got beat by the “slackers” at the end of the year. I know I failed them in the technique aspect a bit this year.

    Here’s my question. What are some good resources I can use to improve my technique coaching skills? When I first started coaching 3 years ago I was reading everything I could find on the internet, I bought the Swim Coaches Bible and Developing Swimmers, I took the ASCA stroke school which was helpful for coaching my younger club kids. I also bought a lot of DVDs but they all have a bunch of complicated drills that I have never found to help my swimmers. I’m sure it’s partially my fault for not implementing them correctly. I’ve found it most helpful to just tell my swimmers what I want them to focus on rather than doing most of the drills they recommended.

    Anyone have any tips or places to go? Do you guys agree with Rushall’s commentary on technique for the most part?

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."


    I disagree with Rushall’s technique as follows:
    1. Bilateral breathing – I say it’s not best
    2. Breath every 2 in fly – not for everyone
    3. No gliding in breaststroke – have fun with that in 200 br LC

    Other than that I like what he says.


    I totally agree! Drills are a complete waste of time. I’ve seen my fellow coaches spend all their time nagging on smimmers on how to perform the drill instead of focusing on the objective of the drill.
    And what is good technique anyways? Good technique changes with who holds the current world record.

    Three key features define successfull swimming; strength, ability to grab the water, and reduce water resistance = DPS and frequency = speed.


    I think most if not every coach would agree that technique is king, but not many emphasize it like it’s king. Dr. Rushall has an e-book on coaching pedagogy. It’s something worth looking into. I think how to teaching proper techniques is a great topic and would like to learn more from others here.

    I think some can do bilateral breathing but many are not comfortable it. A few of my swimmers can do it. Rebecca Soni doesn’t appear to have a glide phrase in her 200m br in London for the last 100m.

    I am still trying to implement all the techniques according to Dr. Rushall. I found using underwater videos for immediate feedback to be most helpful. I’m interested in what others have to say bec I have only been coaching for a little less than 2 years.


    Regarding breathing in fly, Sarah Sjostrom swam 50m fly without taking a breath. The idea is to limit the breathing to stay in streamline to reduce drag and therefore swim faster. I think it’s correct but not easy to do and, obviously, not for everyone.


    Swimming/USRPT aside, one thing I have invested in is my ability to teach/communicate effectively. From what I gather you already have the knowledge and it’s just a matter of imparting it. Sometimes it’s simple things like only teaching one thing at a time and teaching those things in a logical order.

    The problem is not a lack of knowledge. I can show my swimmers videos of themselves and they will be able to correctly assess themselves, yet they return to the same messed up technique.

    There are a lot of factors here to discuss, but I have found great value in working on my teaching skills e.g. clear outlines, opportunities for application, problem solving, etc…

    ? P2Life - Performance Nutrition


    I think Dr. Rushall might have written in his Swimming Pedagogy that it takes at least 3000 repetitions of the correct movement to become habit. Performing the EVF in freestyle is still a challenge for most.




    Early vertical forearm

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