If we were to examine the skills and abilities used by swim coaches when they work, you might well be surprised. Leadership and activity-specific knowledge, patience and perseverance for the successful achievement of goals, the ability to guide their swimmers towards success through an education-, psychology- and training-based approach, and inspiring passion-building strength – these are just a few examples of the many attributes that characterize qualified swim coaches.
When looking closely at the real world, we see that swim coaches do not generally enjoy the level of prestige that I personally believe we deserve in reflection of our skills. We consider ourselves to be qualified professionals with the skills necessary to do our job properly. We become disillusioned when our professional merit is eroded and annoyed by some of the things listed below:
13 Things That Annoy Swim Coaches
- When our work is undervalued, unappreciated or seen as something that anyone could do.
- We sometimes choose to share details about the training we provide to our swimmers with fans and executives, but that does not mean we are obliged to do so.
- In our opinion, the technical advice from those who do not live the day-to-day experiences involved in training the athlete and who lack first-hand knowledge of the hopes and disappointments of the swimmer does nothing to boost performance and that results are only achieved through our own efforts.
- We are enthusiastic professionals who are, in the majority of cases, beside the pool because we are passionate about what we do and would like to be recognized for it.
- With few exceptions, we receive absurdly low wages for the responsibilities placed upon us. We work as coaches, we plan detailed training schedules for our pupils, we often act as confidants and educators, we look out for their well-being and we stay up-to-date with the latest training systems; all with a view to improving their performance.
- We have no spare time on most weekends because of the many competitions we attend, which sometimes prevents us from enjoying time with our own families.
- If we want to make a living from our profession, become more highly valued and gain recognition for our work, we are sometimes forced to think about moving overseas.
- We cannot switch off, we take our problems home with us, we are constantly thinking about our mistakes and fail to realize that we subconsciously drag our families into things and that they often have to put up with our bad moods.
- We would like the most important jobs to be held by those with the corresponding professional merit and for economic factors to not be so important when choosing a coach.
- We are saddened when we become the target of all anger and blame when results do not fall in our favor.
- Generally-speaking, we condemn professional jealousy and acts of bad faith among colleagues within our profession.
- We are upset by how easily our work is sometimes discredited – often without any justification whatsoever; leading to the inevitable negative repercussions on our work that often affects our personal, employment and family stability.
- We are angered by the fact that certain journalists who write about our sport lack the aptitude and knowledge needed to do the job; with comments that dishonor the expertise of their professional colleagues and often discrediting the work of the athletes when results are not entirely positive without properly understanding the reasons why.
Our efforts are poorly recognized – economically-speaking, in society and in terms of the work involved. However, we must accept a share of the blame for this as our attitude in certain circumstances discredits the work of our colleagues. We often fail to realize the damage caused to the sport and our credibility by acts of professional jealousy and envy.
Fortunately, this is not always the case. We often feel blessed; we are doing what we do well and enjoying it. We share our professional skills with athletes who enrich our work and we often meet people who appreciate what we do, who duly value our effort and passion. We should be grateful to these people for their confidence.
Written by Agustín Artiles (“Champi”). Agustín has more than 35 years of experience as the Head Coach of some of the most important Spanishswimming teams He has been the Coach of the Spanish Swimming Team from 2008 to 2012, and has trained the 50 breaststroke Spanish national recordman, Hector Monteagudo Espinosa, from 2002 to 2013 Agustín has also trained several international swimmers from the Spanish National Team and from the European and world top ten, as well as paraolimpics athletes with medals and world records in all the different categories. He has also been accomplished with the award as the Best competition swimming coach in Spain 2006, as several recognition for professional merits.