(coaching applications and background checks are to be completed first)
In so many ways, "COACHES" are the life-blood of sport. It is especially so with the sport of SKWIM. Great athletes can increase popularity of a sport temporarily, but it is the coaches that cement a sport into culture. Coaches help chisel character into our youth and young adults; guiding them to new heights in play, by impacting who they are as people. The “Spirit” of SKWIM therefore lives and breathes through good coaching. Like the steeple of a cathedral, a good SKWIM Coach is the “Spire” of the local SKWIM community; easy to find, “inspiring” great teamwork, and helping save lives.
SKWIM is loads of fun but always balanced with safety, and tempered with respect for the welfare of everyone in the water. It’s tragic, but on average, each day in the U.S. alone, 10 people drown due to a water related accident and another 40 are hospitalized, many of which are left with a permanent disability, (CDC 2007). Some of these accidents could have been avoided if the person had been an experienced swimmer, or better understood his or her limitations around water. Coaching SKWIM is all about building water-safe, water-smart, water-strong community; it s about helping save lives!
Coaches that develop out a quality SKWIM program understand the balance with fun, fitness and safety, and the temperance needed regarding play. SKWIM is a fast paced, non-contact sport, similar in tempo to basketball or soccer. Key aspects of temperance in SKWIM include: Disk Play, Defensive play, and Offensive Play, which will be covered under the Safety and Coaching sections.
Who can coach SKWIM?
Do you hear the call to help coach SKWIM? Coaching does not require great swimming skills. A separate lifeguard is required on deck during all SKWIM practices and games, to supervise the pool use. Coaches can focus on coaching. If you have a passion for the water, reasonable swimming skill, and some previous coaching, mentoring, or counseling experience, you may qualify! If you have not been swimming lately but want to coach that’s OK. SKWIM is designed for the greater population which is not in the water regularly. You will need to start playing SKWIM yourself to understand the nuances of the sport. You will gradually become stronger along with your team, while you enjoy this fast-growing sport.
SKWIM is played with comfortable customized swim fins (Positive Drive Fins or “PDF”) for your feet that enable beginning and average swimmers to compete with confidence, and good swimmers to perform at much higher levels! Coaching with PDF Fins will enable you to swim with ease while you coach.
Experience is not necessary, but communication and enthusiasm mandatory! In just a few hours a week, you can improve lives and help blend water-safety with an exciting sport. Historically, water sport competition has been for the elite few. The majority of the population has been left out of competitive participation in the water. Now there is a dynamic team water-sport which enables all members of community to play! Its not about being the fastest, its about being one with the team. Its SKWIM! But we need coaches like you to help it grow.
What will I need to be a great SKWIM Coach?
1) A completed background check on file with your chosen pool location
2) A desire to make a positive difference in other people’s lives
3) A growing “spirit” for the sport of SKWIM and its core principles of Grace and Excellence
4) A great passion for aquatics and water safety.
5) Enjoyment and satisfaction from teaching physical education, kinesiology, and ergonomics (the basics, no kinesiology degree mandatory J)
6) Growing knowledge of offensive and defensive strategies of SKWIM
7) An understanding of SKWIM rules and regulations
8) Familiarity with SKWIM equipment, set-up, and care
9) Familiarity helping players with PDF fin sizing and “fit” and adjustment
10)A growing network of local pool owners, managers, and aquatic directors
11)2-6 hours a week available for coaching, studying and SKWIM networking
Where can I go to coach a SKWIM Team?
1) If your local pool has a SKWIM team started, they will very soon need a second coach for an additional youth, teen, or adult team. Inquire within and be enthusiastic. Play in a few adult games and get your feet wet.
2) For a new SKWIM prospective location, pick the pool that is closest to your home or work. Make coaching a convenient way to get both your exercise and participate in community service.
3) Its best if the pool has 6 or more lanes and at least a 25 yard course, so the pool can be shared. If only 4 lanes, it can work, but SKWIM will take most of the space.
Starting SKWIM in your area !
1) Drop by your local pool and tell them about SKWIM. Once you reveal the Advantages of SKWIM Programming, the SKWIM wheels begin to turn!
2) Direct them to the SKWIM Website and show them around.
3) Your local pool staff may have already heard of SKWIM….and waiting for someone like you to volunteer to coach!
4) Offer to host an in-service game for the pool staff so that they can experience SKWIM. An In-Service is a monthly training meeting for the pool staff. SKWIM is an excellent “team-building” sport for pool staff in-service events, and a great workout! You can participate as player coach and/or Be the Official. It will give you practice applying the rules and implementing calls. Be strict on aggressive play, but be lenient on other rules to start. Like any sport you have to allow some “innocent” rule violations at the beginning. (Just imagine a group playing basketball or soccer for the very first time J) Gradually as the game progresses in the first 10 minutes, you can gently reinforce and explain more rules.
5) Offer to facilitate SKWIM for your local competitive swim team, as a team-building reward from swim training. Invite the swim team coach to observe, or to play in the staff SKWIMMAGE.
6) Once people have played, suggest a time slot for SKWIM each week at the pool.
7) Start with asking for just 3-4 lanes, one hour a week, in the afternoon or early evening during open or public swim time.
8) VERY IMPORTANT: Piggyback SKWIM ! Start SKWIM in just 3 or 4 lanes wide. Be sure to share the pool with an existing program, such as public swim, open swim, lap swim, so that SKWIM has an audience! Therefore SKWIM can “share” an existing recreation program and does not need its own time slot to start a program. This sounds tough to do but it is a sure-fired way to make SKWIM visible to the community. Work with the pool director to pick a time that can fit SKWIM in, without compromising the other program. You may find a few early evening programs that under-utilize the pool space. It may ruffle some feathers the first time. Remember, you only need 3 lanes for 45-60 minutes once a week, to start the program.
9) Make sure you have someone designated to help you set up the SKWIM system. If so, set up time can be 5 minutes.
10)SKWIM will start to grow in the very first session. Invite anyone at any age to play; families, individuals, groups and friends. Take the time to explain the use of the fins and the disks.
11)SEE SKWIM RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR COACHING DETAILS
When can I start Coaching SKWIM?
12)You can start today. Call us to discuss your interest and the opportunity.
13)SKWIM equipment is distributed though Surface Water Sports, www.surfacewatersports.com
14)The online coaching support is here at www.skwiminternational.org or for Northwest U.S. residents, view www.skwimnorthwest.org
15)Start with our condensed “RULES and REGULATIONS” page.
16)View our online videos and photos and study the nuances of SKWIM.
17) Tap into the techniques and drills of SKWIM and understand why SKWIM is the fastest growing water-sport in America.
Why Coach SKWIM?
1) In just 2-3 hours a week, you can help build water-safe, water-smart, water-strong community! Without being a lifeguard, you can help save lives.
2) The sport of SKWIM is designed to help people, young and old, learn to compete in the water. Interactive competition is perhaps the single best way to gain strength, stamina, confidence, and experience in the water. As coach, you facilitate and encourage the team to learn SKWIM and therefore enhance their swimming expertise.
3) You can share this coaching experience with a special player: your child, your spouse, or a friend, and make it your time together!
4) Your time is extremely valuable! That is why we encourage coaching from the water. As coach, this water-class is free to you. Get your weekly exercise as you coach. There is no better way to get a balanced workout than to Swim with SKWIM fins. A lifeguard will always be on-deck for you, monitoring all participants. Teach the drills and techniques by example. SKWIMMAGE with the team. No matter what your skill level, attempt to lead by example. Before long many of the players will surpass you in skill, grace and excellence. That is a great day to behold, and a time to measure and tune your coaching style. Congratulations!
How to Coach?
1) SKWIM is coached, officiated, practiced and played with Grace & Excellence!
a. Grace….learning to use the gifts we have, with respect for the game, and all participants
b. Excellence....striving for the best in others, and yourself, at all levels of play.
2) Get to know the Rules, Regulations, and Equipment of SKWIM
3) Coaching SKWIM is very similar to coaching other team sports such as soccer, basketball, and many of the same techniques and drills can be applied.
4) You will have access to short online weekly coaching tips that are fast and easy to learn. SKWIM is designed to be intuitive.
5) Be committed. Give it all you have for those few hours per week. Be a little early for practice and leave a little late. Parents and friends of SKWIM will want to get to know you, so offer some time. Show Grace & Excellence always, and it will rub-off on the players! It will also rub-off on the rest of your day!
6) Whether coaching youth or adults, offer your background check information early-on in your discussions with a public or private pool, or aquatic facility.
SKWIM is about Grace & Excellence both in and out of the water. These two attributes are reflected in the way the game is coached, officiated, practiced and played. SKWIM is a non-contact team sport, yet, also a full-mind and whole-body competition, with oneself and one’s opponent. Coaching with Grace & Excellence sets a high expectation for each player’s behavior and performance. Expect the very best from your players. Youth and adults tend to rise to expectations and are attracted to grace and excellence and a positive attitude. Look for the best in all your players , and instruct for the best. Coach the positive in what gains results for the team. Spend little time discussing poor behavior or technique. Always correct with the positive and Toward Grace and Excellence . You have little time with your team. Use it wisely.
Great coaches care about others, can convey a simple message, live by example, and find joy in hard work. You may be a parent, a friend, a lifeguard, a teacher. If you are interested in joining our coaching or officiating team at SKWIM Northwest, or SKWIM International, please contact us at the above contact icon.
SOME REASONS WHY SKWIM HELPS SAVE LIVES
SKWIM is more than just a fun easy-entry water sport. It is also a precursor to live-saving. The following are the ways in which SKWIM skills can carry over to live-saving and water-safety technique:
1) In SKWIM, players are required to be highly aware of all other players in the lagoon.
2) Players swim predominantly “head-high” so as not to loose sight of the disk and other players.
3) Players are often required to sprint to the disk side by side, in close proximity with others in the water.
4) Players are required to work cooperatively in the water with teammates in sometimes difficult conditions and sometimes in a state of fatigue.
5) Players press their limitations in the water and understand when it is wise to ask for support or substitution. Limitations in the water are experienced and expanded under lifeguard supervision.
6) Players learn to pace themselves and to understand aquatic anaerobic and aerobic function.
7) Players learn to work above water and underwater, installing the goals and securing anchorage for the goals.
8) Players learn multitasking and dexterity in the water playing with the disk, while also swimming.
9) Players learn to swim with swim fins and understand the safety advantages thereof.
BUILDING WATER-SAFE, WATER-SMART, WATER-STRONG COMMUNITY