ZAP employs professional coaches with extensive backgrounds in the sport of competitive swimming, education, and behavioral sciences. ZAP coaches plan and oversee the overall operations of ZAP which allows us to always focus objectively on the betterment of the team by tuning into the needs and wants of each individual swimmer. While national averages show that 7:9 youth athletes quit their sport by age 13, at ZAP, our retention rate is over 85% and currently, our Premier Team boasts a 60% age 13-18 membership.
All ZAP coaches are members of United States Swimming, the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA), and are highly educated. Three of our full time coaches all have advanced degrees and our entire staff has or is in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, all coaches have extensive backgrounds in swimming either as athletes, coaches or both.
ZAP coaches are committed to providing the best and safest environment for all of our swimmers while keeping an objective view of what is best for the overall team. Our program is designed to empower all our swimmers to become champions both in and out of the water while learning to enjoy and value the process. Regardless of age or duration of swim career, each swimmer is an important and valued part of our team. We count on all members (swimmers and parents) to contribute to the betterment of our program and uphold the strong traditions of excellence and integrity that we have within our program.
Our carefully structured training program affords each swimmer the opportunity to experience personal success and improvement. The basis of our strategy is producing long-term participation and success in our sport, rather than overnight stardom. Our coaching staff has established a plan designed to provide a structured route that each swimmer travels leading to development as a whole person; physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. It also empowers and motivates each swimmer through progressive levels towards final fulfillment as a young adult. Each swimmer has a different plan, hence the approach towards their training will differ from others accordingly. Group placement and training plans are decided by the coaching team and reflect the goals and agenda of each individual swimmer resulting in a positive and productive environment for all.
Communication between the swimmers and coaches is vital to their personal success, as is communication between coaches and parents. 99.9% of all communication is via email and swimmers and parents are encouraged to check emails daily for updates. ZAP coaches are available for consultation via email any time, phone during office hours (10 a.m. - 1 p.m.), or in person by appointment, free of charge. We want to give all conversations the full attention they deserve but this is impossible while coaching or when walking into or away from a practice session. Email is the best way to reach us as we may respond during lulls in the day or evening and give full attention to the matter at hand. Parents may observe Friday practices only. All other practices sessions are closed unless otherwise noted.
ZAP coaches are dedicated to providing the best program for our all of our swimmers. ZAP affords swimmers the opportunity to strive for personal success with heavy emphasis on helping and contributing to the success and growth of the team through personal accountability. ZAP has and always will evolve according to the swimmers we serve. Our coaches constantly evaluate and update and improve ZAP according to the needs of our current swimmers.
ZAP offers different training groups to accommodate the different ages, abilities, goals and commitments of our competitive swimmers. Additionally, we offer a non-competitive program for swimmers who want to swim but do not want to compete and Jr. Lifeguard Prep classes. The training regimen and competition schedule for each group are designed to cater to each swimmer within and help continue their growth and development. Regardless of group placement, each swimmer matters and is an important part of out team and we need everyone on board, working together, to be our best. Together Everyone Achieves More!
Coaches are in total control of matters affecting both training and competition. In older age groups, as each swimmer matures and swimmer/coach trust and communication is developed, decision making will be soley between the coach and the swimmer. It is their education and experience with young athletes that allows our coaches to make the best and most objective decisions for the development of each swimmer. Group placement is based on the age, ability level and the amount of commitment demonstrated by each individual. Once assigned to a training group, each swimmer is expected to complete the developmental skills within their group in order to progress to the next level. Advancement to the next logical training group will be made upon completion of requirements and when it is in the best interest of a swimmer and team.
ZAP coaches accept sole responsibility for stroke instruction and training regimes. Practices are based on sound scientific principles and are geared to the specific goals of each group, as well as the team goals set each fall at training camp. Training and learning groups are established using a combination of age, ability and commitment criteria. Each group has a minimum standard that must be met prior to moving into the group. The ZAP competitive groups require each swimmer to regularly attend scheduled competitions in order to maintain eligibility in the competitive team. As swimmers progress at higher levels, the level of commitment increases as well. Once a swimmer begins to compete at the senior level, they are expected to compete at the highest level they qualify for. All swimmers are encouraged to attend practices regularly with the number of practices increasing each week according to age and duration of swim career. The spirit and will to win are important, but not as important as the spirit and will to PREPARE TO WIN.
All swimmers, from the moment they join the team, will go through three levels of leadership in each training group. Upon entry into a group, swimmers begin learning the "ins and outs" and expectations of the group by watching, following directions, following other swimmers, making mistakes, and asking questions. Once they get a handle on the basic workings of the group and they understand the expectations of each set with minimal clarification from the coach or fellow swimmers, their confidence begins to increase and they begin to move into the second phase: doing the assigned sets, drills, etc.. and focusing on their individual improvement. Once a swimmer is solidly in the group and regularly demonstrates clear understanding of all involved in the group and a willingness to follow directions, they then step up into the third phase of leadership. This final stage is "earned" by going through the first two steps and gaining credibility and respect from the others in their group. Once this happens, the swimmer becomes a clear standout verbal and visual leader in the training group, helping reinforce directions and expectations to their teammates in the first two phases of the group.
The coaching team sets the meet schedule in accordance with SCS AND WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR TEAM. Events each swimmer enters, and relay team selection, are at the coaches’ discretion, but are selected based on both team and the individual swimmer’s goals. At meets, the certified coaches supervise the team warm-up (per USA Swimming rules/insurance). Swimmers are expected to check-in with their primary coach before and after each race. After each race, coaches offer encouragement and feedback regarding the swimmer's performance. It is not necessarily what place the swimmer finishes that is important, but rather what the swimmer (and coach) learned from the race experience. Racing is just as much of a skill as learning the strokes. The final time and place in a race are just a portion of the total performance that is critiqued and valued.
Our swimmers and parents must take responsibility for making the most out of the outstanding environment that ZAP provides. Swimmers must be committed to attend practice sessions consistently as well as competition. In addition to the swimmer, the family must be committed to helping the swimmer reach his/her goals, as well as helping ZAP reach the team goals. The parents’ role to offer love and support regardless of their child's performance, and to emphasize communication between the coach and swimmer based on trust.
Clinics and Private Instruction
CLINICS: Throught the season, ZAP offers stroke and dive clinics to supplement regularly scheduled training sessions. Stroke clinics are optional and are intended to benefit each swimmer by providing them with additional instruction on strokes, turns, starts, race strategy, and/or other appropriate topics. Attendance is recommended for all participants and a clinic fee typically is assessed to help cover costs.
PRIVATE LESSONS: Although private lessons cannot take the place of a missed practice, they can help swimmers master skills that they may be having trouble learning in a group setting. Many of the current coaches are available for private instruction; parents should contact the coach to set up an appointment for a lesson. Private lessons are paid to the coach directly.
Parents and swimmers are discouraged from seeking private instruction from outside the ZAP coaching staff without consulting the primary coach first because there may be misinterpretation of information or it may conflict with the club’s method of instruction for fast swimming. This can cause more confusion than improvement and defeats the whole purpose of getting extra help!