How good coaches motivate swimmers

Swim coach Sean Emery works on swimming technique with Sedona Race Pace Team in Sedona, Arizona.

Having a knowledgeable coach is one of the most important things you can do if you want to see improvements in your swim times. But when it comes to keeping swimmers motivated, they come in third on the list behind self-motivation and reinforcement from peers.

According to Ultra Short Race Pace Training (USRPT) founder, Brent Rushall, Ph.D., the primary reinforcers for swimmers pursuing the sport long-term might not be what you’d initially expect.  It doesn’t involve diligent parental lectures or tireless attention from a coach. It doesn’t hinge completely on peers, either.

Although parents, coaches and peers are all very vital components of helping swimmers stay motivated, dedicated kids have self-actuated reasons.  One of our 8 & Under Sedona swimmers said it best: “It’s just fun!

The swimmer motivation cycle

Coaches complete the circle of motivation by providing a solid framework for swimmers to connect with their own internal motivation.  At Sedona Race Pace Club, that includes a combination of specific ultra short race pace sets, drills, warm-up and warm-down activities, and targeted technique instruction designed to give swimmers the opportunity to improve. 

Race pace sets allow kids to compete daily against their own best times and set performance as well as reaching for goal times they want to achieve in meets. These might include qualifying times for sectional or national meets, or reaching time goals set with their coach. 

Helping swimmers stay motivated

A good coach is paying attention to each swimmer, which means they won’t be necessarily cheering on your every rep. That motivation needs to come from your own inner talk. And if you’re one of the last few left in the USRPT set that hasn’t failed out — especially if you’re on track to “graduate” by making all the reps at or faster than your goal time — chances are, you’re getting lots of encouragement from both the coach and your teammates.

A good coach will be there to help you work on technique, which can provide the boost you need to make the next forward leap in your time improvement. He’ll be there calling out times and regaling swimmers with constructive feedback between reps to help guide their own inner talk and focus.

Sometimes coaches motivate by pulling a struggling swimmer aside and having them swim extra reps. “I’m not giving up on you, so don’t you give up on this,” Coach Emery recently told a swimmer who felt they had reached a plateau. 

The set plateau was not only shattered thanks to a little extra one-on-one attention and technique coaching, but the swimmer achieved a new best time in a practice time trial — wearing a workout suit! 

Sedona Race Pace Club’s knowledgable and caring coaches work directly under the supervision of Head Coach Sean Emery to help swimmers of all abilities achieve their potential. We have programs for novice, age group, elite, and masters swimmers. 

Does Sedona Race Pace Club sound like something you’d like to be a part of? Contact our Head Coach Sean Emery at 928-254-7765 for a consultation to find your niche with our team!