Swimming Ideas Podast

A closer look at swimming lessons, swim team practices, swimming games, and why coaches and swimmers do the things they do.
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Swimming Ideas Podast





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Now displaying: October, 2015
Oct 26, 2015

Coach I work with talking about job history, philosophy of coaching


Fixed mindset, change mindset


Work hard and you will fail


Coach's role: games? No. Respect. Yelling doesn't earn it. Don't be feared.


Expectation of hard work and care.


Clarify and reword what head coach doesn’t address or explain well.


What makes a good swimmer? 

Instill and teach your swimmers to have a change mindset. They're going to fail. It will happen. How can we mentally and physically prepare them for that reality, and give them tools they need to do well. 

Constantly evaluate what swimmers are doing in the water and provide opportunities to recognize, adjust, and create new habits that lead to time and swimming success.

Create personal connection to inspire. Connection to swimmer to allow them to feel safe to say when they don't understand.

A good coach fosters a change mindset and provides the culture and environment that reinforces it. 

Hard work doesn't always = success. Real world lessons. Hard work doesn't always mean swimming success.  Coach effort. Coach excellence and get to failure and train that.


How to balance focus on times as rewards and effort.

Oct 19, 2015

How did I arrive at it?

Podcast: Art of Charm




What exactly am I talking about?

Encouraging swimmers to "think" about swimming as they do it

Promote "attempts"

Promote awareness of what you're doing, acknowledge difference and attempt change.


How does this connect to meditation:

Not stillness

Acknowledgement: Breathe with eyes closed, focus on breathing. When you become aware of yourself thinking of something else, make a note "Hey, I'm thinking of something not my breathing. Then go BACK to thinking about breath.


Same with swimming. I'm attempting what the coach said to focus on, I'm attempting to do something. When you realize you're NOT doing that. Think, "ahah! I'm not doing that." Then, attempt to return to focusing on what the goal is.


Appropriate for all ages? No.

Used more in a swim team or pre-swim team setting where you can hold the attention for longer. No harm in attempting it with younger swimmers, but games and play is better for beginners, or those between 3-7.


What do you think? Have you done it?



We have an arch or a theme for our swim team right now, a macrocycle if you're familiar with it. That theme is "Balance, Line, and Posture" and how that fits into swimming. Our goal is to be mindful and aware of those three things throughout our practices.


We did this set at practice:



{ 2 x 25 Freestyle


{ 1 x 50 Back Kick


{2 x 25 Fly Kick

Goals: Attempt to be the stacked soccer ball tower body, straight good posture, and when you're NOT doing it, recognize that, acknowledge your body not doing it, and attempt to do it again. You might realize multiple times that you're not in the good body posture, and that is okay, focus on realizing that you're not and attempt to go back into that position again.


Do the things correctly, as in do the freestyle swim at the right time and place, and distance, but during that swim, attempt to maintain the body posture, and when your body is NOT in good "Balance, Line and Posture" then attempt to correct and return to it.


The goal overall was to provide meditative experiences for each swimmer through repeated use of meditative techniques, without actually directly explicitly stating the link or connection (unless you think it will be beneficial). The hope is that through repeated mental training (focus on this, when you realize you're not focusing on it, dismiss what you were doing and attempt to go back on your set focus) swimmers will be better equipped to be more mindful of their own swimming because we are also building their own self-awareness.


Are you interested in more stuff like this? Let me know! Connect on twitter @swimmingideas

Email me at


Oct 12, 2015

Side Glide:


What are the benefits? Are there even good examples of side glide that effectively teach freestyle breathing?


If you can do a streamline, do that first, then roll over on your side, put your top hand on your hip, and stack your hips. Rotate your hips and your shoulder to lean on your side. Breathe, and then put your face in the water and do it again.


The idea, is that you rotate your body to breathe which later on in swimming is generally the goal: connect your hips and your arms as they move on freestyle to have the best swimming. You should breathe by connecting your head rotation to the side with your hips. Breathe when your hips rotate.


Side glide is a good tool to use to teach safety only: learn how to breathe the easiest? Or quickly while staying at the surface when you have no understanding of swimming freestyle well.



  1. Promotes head up, chin away from the body at the surface. This requires a lot of retraining later on when we're attempting to correct the head up, chin away from your body position. This makes the body sink, legs will fall down, and the head will raise up while swimming.
  2. Does not effectively teach face down position. This requires retraining when teaching freestyle correctly: body straight, face looking straight down where the crown or top of the head pushes the water, not the face.  When side glide is taught first, swimmers will lift their head and raise their chin away from their body causing their feet to sink, and make it more difficult to swim.
  3. When actually doing side glide, it promotes (and it encouraged by the teachers) to doggie paddle in order to breathe.  This actually encourages the participant to struggle on the surface. If you've head SIP 024 Why we never let participants struggle, you'll remember that this loses trust and confidence in the instructor and is one of the absolute worst things you can do as a swim instructor. Never let the participant struggle, and absolutely never encourage struggling to breathe.
  4. It does not directly correlate to good swimming posture.  Side glide is based off of the Head Lead Balance with Rotation drill.  We have an awesome video/post on our website already! :       This is a great drill for advanced swimmers, and appropriate for beginners when done on the back. We only introduce this when swimmers know how to swim well already. It is a drill to reinforce hip and body rotation and keeping the head still, unless breathing. It does NOT work and is NOT effective when swimmers get out of alignment.  Because this is a difficult drill to do well as an advanced swimmer, it makes absolutely no sense to introduce it to beginners. Beginners need to have proper body line and posture before attempting this drill, because when the head comes out of alignment, then the drill loses its benefit. When you struggle at the surface and when you lift your chin to breathe, the drill loses its entire purpose: reinforce body rotation and balancing at the surface.


Our goal is to teach swimming well. #1 focus is to have a safe swimming, and have all our swimmers get in a pool or water of any type and be competent enough to swim at will and then exit the water. We want all participants to be able to leave the water on their own. To survive. Side glide will teach someone to struggle to breathe and maybe survive for a little while longer, but it does not teach how to swim freestyle well. With Swimming Ideas, we want to teach swimming well, and when you can swim well, you are comfortable enough and strong enough to get to the side quickly well, and to struggle well enough to save yourself.


What do you think? Does swimming well translate to being able to struggle to the side? Or do you think teaching survival swimming side glide with a safety focus is better and despite retraining later worth it?


Let me know. Comment below, or connect with me on Twitter: @swimmingideas or send me an email:

Oct 5, 2015

What do you do with new staff that have been trained, but still need some practical experience before they start teaching classes on their own?


Do you like the new format of this podcast? Do you like it? Leave an honest review on iTunes, or on this website page.


Step one should be to go through a training session. We use the SLI Swim Instructor training workbook, which is a three day course where they are walked through all the 15 essential swim skills, then we review HOW to actually teach. They learn what waves are, the rotation method, and how to use command language.


Topic: Training new staff with "assistants" or teaching a large class with Assistants.


Large influx of new teachers. How do you train them? Give them the SLI Swim Instructor Training Workbook, online video supplement, finish their training with shadowing.


Shadowing lasts for a full class session. Stick with the same teacher and the same class for one full class (typically 3 weeks worth of lessons)


Main teacher dictates all activities, explains focus.

Main teacher does activity with each class member

Assistant does activity with each class member and reiterates/repeats what the main instructor said.


The shadow should take initiative and engage with the class mimicing what the


Co-Teach: switch off: not ideal not clear who is in charge. Not feasible for beginners: they don't know what to do.

Too many cooks in the kitchen.


How long do you have someone shadow? What circumstances?


1 full class length, or 1 month.


When you have difficult swimmers, sometimes better to keep together than to split the class.


Returning instructor is the "Instructor" and new people are "assistants"

Instructor is in charge of writing the report cards.

How to keep track: binder that has every kid at every area. Testing stations:

Returning instructor is the "Instructor" and new people are "assistants"