Should you question your coach?

The relationship between a coach and an athlete is certainly unique. In the best situations, the coach and athlete are not related, but their relationship is often like that of a parent and child. But yet, the relationship is still different than that. The goal of the coach is to prepare the athlete for success, both physically and mentally. Especially in swimming. In the best-case scenario, the coach understands the game from several perspectives and can steer the swimmer in the direction that is best suited for his or her ability in the water. When this is the case, the swimmer rarely has to question the coach. But, there are moments when questioning the coach is in the best interest of both parties.

Walking a Fine Line

When it comes to questioning the coach,coach there is a fine line that the athlete should walk. Coaches feel like they know what is best for the athlete and they trust that the athlete sees this. But, there are times when it is acceptable for a swimmer or any other athlete to question a coach’s decision. Swimmers should know that there is a right and wrong way to go about questioning a coach. And an athlete should take time to consider whether or not questioning the coach is the right thing to do in any situation.

The 24-Hour Rule

A swimmer should wait to question a coach for a few reasons. The first is that many athletes get caught up in the moment and they might say something to the coach that will be regretted later. By waiting, the swimmer can also reflect on the situation to see if it is necessary to discuss it with the coach. Many coaches appreciate when their athletes wait 24 hours before questioning a situation. This 24-hour rule has helped maintain many relationships.

Talk about Goals

One of the most important questions to ask your coach is what your coach’s goals for you are. If the goals are different, then it is time to have a heart-to-heart talk. coach3The goals should be realistic and reachable through hard work and dedication. If you feel like the goals are too far-fetched, then the relationship will suffer and your swimming will, too. If the goal is too easy, then what is the point of having the coach in the first place?

Talk about Listening

Another reason to question a coach is when the coach does not listen to you. Coaching not a one-way street for the coach to deliver and you to accept. The coaching relationship needs to have good communication where the coach listens to you, too. If you feel like the coach is not doing this, then you need to speak up. Your coach needs to understand your value as an athlete who knows his own body.

Work with the Coach

You should not question your coach when he is trying to get you to swim hard or to fix an aspect of your stroke. It is never appropriate to talk back to your coach or to give your coach attitude. Unlike your parents, you coach can easily stop working with you and find someone else who is willing to work hard and get to the next level. It is never appropriate to disobey your coach during practice or at a meet. The best attitude to take with a coach during practice or a competition is to do what the coach says and work hard to be the fastest.

How to Ask as a Parent

If you are a parent of a swimmer and you noticecoach2 that your swimmer is not progressing, the best thing to do is to talk to the coach without blaming the coach. The best way to question the coach is to ask what the swimmer can do to improve or what can you do to help your child swim faster. The coach will be more than willing to offer suggestions and it might even get the coach to spend more time with your child.

7 Great Rules for Parents to Live By

Ohhhhh, the swimming parent. Without the swimming parent, the swimmer would not be in the pool. But, this does not mean that the swimming parent need to get overly involved to the point of distraction. Swimming parents, like all parents of young competitive athletes, walk a very fine line. All too often, that line is crossed. To avoid becoming a nuisance and a distraction during training, parents should heed some advice:


  1. Let Kids Develop Independence. Eventually, children will become adults who need to take care of themselves. Therefore, it is important that young swimmers learn to take care of themselves in age appropriate ways. This does not mean that young swimmers should illegally drive themselves to practice or get jobs to support their swim training. What it does mean is that young swimmers can learn to pack their bags, prepare their snacks, and get their water. Parents who do this help their children become independent and who doesn’t want that?
  2. Let the Coaches Coach. Swimming parents hire coaches for a reason: to coach. It is important to let the coach do the work that he or she was hired to do. Parents should not overstep the boundaries of the coach, especially when it comes to technical aspects of swimming. Unless the coach asks parents to help out, it is better than parents stay on the sides and watch their children, not coach their children.
  3. Keep Conversations Positive. A gossiping parent can be the death of a swimming program. If parents have issues with anything happening in and around the pool, they should speak directly with the coach, not nitpick over it with the parents.       
  4. Talk to Kids About More than Swimming. imagesWhen kids are involved in a competitive sport like swimming, parents think it is best to completely submerse their children in the sport. So, they talk about all swimming. All the time. This is a big no-no. Children need to be exposed to life and everything it has to offer. They should go to movies. They should read books. They should go on hikes. They should spend with friends. When parents overdo swimming, kids can get burned out and they can fight back by not wanting to swim. Teenage retirement occurs when kids do not get to do anything else and they get sick of their sport. Parents need to let their children live and enjoy life with them.
  5. Recognize Ups and Downs Will Occur. Young swimmers will win races and they will not win races. Every race does not have to be completed in a world record setting time. Parents who do not accept the fact that wins and losses will occur will have a miserable time being swimming parents. Young swimmers are growing mentally and physically, which can show up in the pool. Parents should relax and trust the coaching process.
  6. Understand Athletic Develop and Age Appropriateness. One of the most important factors that parents need to consider is age appropriateness. Young images-2athletes have bodies that are constantly changing, so their strokes and times will change, too. When children are trained at a level that is not developmentally appropriate, that training could actually backfire. When parents get too involved in pushing their children to swim at a level that is beyond their age and body development, they are not setting up their children for success. They are not helping the coach either.
  7. Love Their Children Unconditionally. Watching your child win or lose a race should never dictate the way you feel about your child. They should get the same hugs in both situations. Parents should never withhold privileges if their children lose and they should not give more privileges when they win. Sure, it can be fun to get an ice cream cone or enjoy dinner at a favorite restaurant to celebrate a big win, but that should not be the only time that children get a special treat.

Parents are incredibly important to young swimmers, but parents should not overwhelm their children to the point that their children want to quit. Support is important and it needs to be given unconditionally, but within reason.



What is “cupping” & is there an advantage for swimming?

The Olympics has brought swimming back into the forefront of sports media. And with it has come a plethora of questions about the circular bruises on Michael Phelps’ back. These perfectly circular bruises are not injuries or anything troublesome. In fact, those bruises are the result of a therapeutic technique called “cupping.”

What is Cupping?

This therapy is not just used by swimmers, but by other elite athletes as well as non-athletes. cuppingCupping is used to manage pain and soreness in the muscles. The technique is not often seen in Western media, simply because it originated in ancient China and is considered an alternative form of therapy. It is favored by elite athletes because relief is felt quickly and it requires no medication.

Small jars, usually made of glass, are heated from the inside with a small flame. The flame extinguishes before it can touch the skin and the glass develops a strong suction on the skin. Oil is placed on the skin to keep it supple during the therapy. The cups are kept in place or moved around the skin, usually for a minimum of five minutes.


Why Do Swimmers Use It?

Cupping is also known as myofascial decompression. It is often used when swimmers have issues with their latissimus dorsi and teres major, especially when they are freestyle swimmers. Cupping provides a release between the cupping-2muscle and the fascia, so swimmers can lengthen their strokes and speed up their times. During the therapy, swimmers might be asked to gently replicate their strokes to help the fascia release. In most cases, cupping does make a difference in performance.

Along with helping to release fascia and muscle tension, cupping can also be used as a form of relaxation. In this case, cups are placed along the body’s meridian lines. It can help relax the back to relieve soreness and it can also be used to help with emotions and psychological health. It is difficult to think of an uncomfortable therapy actually being relaxing, but cupping, done the right way can be incredibly relaxing despite the discomfort.


How Does Cupping Help Swimmers?

Olympic athletes, like Michael Phelps, appreciate the benefits of cupping. Lactic acid can build up after intense races and practices. The cupping can help speed up detoxification in the muscles. It can also relax muscles that are spasming. Inflammation is also decreased with cupping. Even swimmers who are not potential Olympians can benefit from cupping since it increases circulation and drainage in the lymph nodes.


What Precautions Should You Know?

Cupping does have benefits that make it popular with athletes and people who are interested in alternatives to Western medicine. But, there are some cautions that come with it. The cup marks can last up to a week. Since the cups open up the pores, it is recommended to avoid moving in and out of extreme temperatures. Pregnant women should not have cupping performed on the low belly and back. It is also not recommended for people who are taking blood thinning medication or if they have sensitive or damaged skin.

For people who are healthy enough for cupping, the benefits are extraordinary. The relaxation response is like no other. Cupping increases oxygenation, which relieves pressure in the muscles. The

cupping-3detoxification effects are noticeable – up to four inches deep into the tissues. Range of motion increases as circulation increases to break up any scar tissue and adhesions where injuries have happened.


Cupping is available for people all over the world. It should be performed by a therapist who has been trained. It is also recommended to speak with your doctor before you decide whether or not to try cupping and if it is an appropriate treatment for your physical conditions.

Training After an Injury: How to Prevent More Injuries

An injury can wreak havoc on a swimming season and it can devastate the body. When injuries keep swimmers away from the pool, they suffer not only physically, but mentally as well. Even though pools are often used as therapy for recovery, there are certain things that swimmers should do when they get back to training so they do not injure themselves again.

Take Your Time

Instead of diving in the pool and going all out, recovering from an injury can take time. Swimmers should know that there will be good days and bad days, or even good laps and bad laps. It is wise to not take those good laps or good shoulder-pain-1days too seriously, because overdoing it on the days when you feel good can lead to more injuries. It is best to strive for a middle ground by taking it easy until you are given the go-ahead to go all out. When you jump into the pool and start moving around, you might find that you will need to return to physical therapy a few more times. Don’t let it bring you down – this is the way it goes in real life.


Don’t Let Your Down Time Affect Your Recovery

Don’t forget about your other activities. While you are recovering and recuperating, it is important to work on your nutrition and sleep. You won’t help yourself if you eat junk food and get minimum amounts of sleep. Your recovery could be shorter if you stay healthy outside of the pool. Don’t go too crazy on the weekends. If your goal is to get back to swimming, then you should focus on getting back to swimming not on activities that could aggravate your injury or set you back in other ways.

Stay Mentally Strong

Mental determination is important. If you let down your guard and succumb to the frustrations of being injured, you might not ever get back into the pool competitively. Many of the best swimmers in the world have suffered through injuries, but they did not let the injuries get them down. They dealt with it and did what they needed to do to overcome the issue. The important part is being able to do what you love, but when the body doesn’t always cooperate, it doesn’t mean that you will never get back to swimming. You might not be able to swim as quickly or for as long, but that’s ok. You are still swimming.

downloadListen to Your Medical Professionals

Learning about the cause of your injury can help make your return to the pool more successful. The best source of information will be your health care professionals. They will be able to tell you what caused the injury, especially if you have some memory of the first painful experience. They will also be able to tell you what not to do to bring back pain. You might have to avoid certain strokes or you might have to put your flip turns on hold for a while. If staying in your pool is the goal, then you will need to do what you can to Stay. In. The. Pool. You might even have to take on a new physical activity to balance out your pool time. Something like yoga or pilates could be the balance that prevents injuries.

Get into a Routine

It can be helpful to have a routine that gets you working on your injury so it doesn’t happen again. Your routine might have stretches or gentle exercises that slowly, but surely strengthen the area of the body that was injured. It is a good idea to do those exercises and stretches so you can get back into the pool quickly and successfully.


I Need a Holiday: The Effects of Two Weeks Off

There are going to be moments when you simply need a break. When you feel like you can’t stand the sight of water or when you can’t stand the smell of chlorine. If you need the time off, take it. But, try not to stay away from the pool for more than two weeks.

Subtle Changes After a Two-Week Holiday


After a two-week hiatus from the pool, you will (hopefully) feel a renewed desire to get back in the water. But, you might notice a few subtle changes. Fortunately, recovery from the two-week break will not take long. The longer you stay away from the pool, the longer it will take to get back to the level of fitness you are accustomed to having.

First, after two weeks, you might find that you get a tired a little faster than usual the first few times you get in the pool. This might make you discouraged. You cannot let that happen. As a swimmer, you know that swimming is a mental and physical exercise. The only way to improve is to just keep swimming.

Time Off Can Help

Even if this sounds discouraging, it can be important to take time off. There are moments when the body really does need to rest, this is why sports have off-seasons. If you are swimming four or more times per week, every week, without a break – you are due for one. The mind also needs a break from all of that work. If you have been swimming that often, your body will not fall apart or get flabby after a two-week break. In fact, you might find that you swim better after the short holiday.

Endurance Weakens Slightly

Some swimmers notice that their aerobic endurance weakens slightly when they return to the pool. If this is the case, just keep swimming because your endurance will pick back up after a few workouts. Some swimmers notice a reduction of endurance up to 20% after two weeks of rest. You might have to start slowly when you get back into the pool, but it won’t take long to get back to where you want to be.

Negligible Strength Differences


On a positive note, your strength will not decrease to a noticeable difference. Younger swimmers will not notice much of a difference in muscle tone, but older swimmers might. Since swimming is an endurance exercise, muscle tone should not change much since most swimmers have lean muscles rather than bulky ones. It should take more than eight weeks away from swimming before any change in muscle tone becomes visibly noticeable. Again, if you feel weak when you first get back into the pool, it’s ok. Your body and mind need to get reacquainted when it comes to swimming and coordination, but the whole process of getting back to your regular strength won’t take very long.

Swimming Will Feel Good Again

If you have been training in the pool for a long time, your will most likely notice that you have taken some time off – but it might not be very evident. If you are not a regular swimmer, you might not notice right away. The big difference will show up in the pool after the hiatus. The fit swimmer will get back to normal quickly, whereas the occasional swimmer will need to swim more to get back to normal. Those losses will plateau and then even out, so the recovery will not take long.

In order to get back to normal, it is helpful to do some high-intensity interval workouts in the pool. With quick bursts and minimal rests, your aerobic endurance will improve dramatically. After two weeks off, it will feel good to get the heart rate going and the water moving. Use paddles, kickboards, and pull-buoys to get the muscles working hard.