Best Practices

Coaching Resources: Planning and Delivery Best Practices Limiters and Fixes Drills Analysis Workouts


Best Practices

The following list was created from surveys of OS swimmers. Swimmers were asked to highlight what they liked most about their coach and ways in which the workouts could be improved. This is a living document and continued development and polishing is expected. By far the number one priority of swimmers: Individual attention and tips from the coach.


  • Personal Habits

    • Always on time

    • Knows all the names of the swimmers and uses them

    • Organized and uses time efficiently

  • Personal Qualities

    • Welcoming

    • Sense of fun

    • Patient

    • Positive

    • Approachable

    • Kind

    • Humourous

    • Warm

  • About Workout Structure

    • Logical and consistent structure with some variety throw in on occasion

    • Progression through the season that is shared generally with swimmers

    • Sufficient volume

    • Talk time is efficiently used as to not take away from active elements

    • Variety of strokes at some point in season

    • Use of video as a coaching aid on occasion

    • Clear communication of equipment needs

    • Drills that then lead on to swim sets in which drill elements can be practiced

    • Intensity:

      • A good mix of aerobic and threshold/supra-threshold sets at appropriate times

      • Push us out of our comfort zone

      • Challenging but not unpleasant pressure

  • Teaching Approach

    • Tons of encouragement helps to build confidence in the pool

    • Adapts workout to all levels

    • Presents a good balance of constructive criticism and positive reinforcement

    • Uses a variety of visual cues and explanations based on the learning style

      • If they don’t get it, find another way to explain

    • Clear explanations restated for clarity

    • Purpose is always clear

    • Demonstrations are clear including what to do and what to avoid

    • Connect drill purpose to overall stroke

    • Return to drills at times to refresh focus on given elements

    • Feedback is purposeful and useful but not overwhelming (not too much all at once)

    • Corrections are prioritized with most important first, working to others in time

    • Everyone gets feedback even if it’s simply to say ‘good job’