Top tips from Australia's swimming coach


The most improved swimming nation in the world over the past few years is Australia. They had 31 placings in the Top Ten World Rankings at the end of 1993 (Great Britain had six) and were placed to have won 26 out of the 32 individual gold metals at the Commonwealth Games taken place in 1993.

Don Talbot, Chief Coach of Australian Swimming, outlined at an annual Australian Swim Coaches Association conference the Elite Performance Plan through 1996 to 2000. He explained that Australia was targeting six Olympic golds for 1996 and 10 by 2000.

Five top tips:

1. If we wish to make an impact on world swimming, we in Britain need to get organised. A large population in close proximity, lots of coaches and teachers, numerous training programmes and competitive opportunities are some major advantages we have in our favour. But in order to bing maximum benefit from them we need a concerted national effort.

2. The first of my training tips for swim coaches is long-term planning. For younger swimmers (ages eight to mid-teens) that most coaches are invloved with, we should focus our aims constantly on long-term goals. The World Top Ten Rankings in 1993 show that 107 out of 120 of Top Ten Rankings in men's events were held by swimmers aged 20 or over. All of the Top Ten Rankings were held by swimmers over the age of 18. Clearly, for most young swimmers, there is plenty of time to go before their full potential can be achieved.

3. It is essential to have a positive attitude. Be sure to emphasise the what is in control of you and your swimmers. Put strong emphasis on good technique and personal best times, as they can control only their own performances and no one else's. Everyone can attain improvements in these aspects, while winning an age-group gold medal is achieved only by a few.

4. Cyclical trailing is important.Around the world, coaches operate a variety of macro cycles ranging in length from six to 24 weeks. 12 weeks is the most common cycle, as it allows a build up of 2-3, 6-8 weeks of max work, and 2-3 weeks to taper. Within this, you also must cycle aerobic, anaerobic and speed work appropriately for your group's ages and abiities.

5. During training, fluid intake is essential. Throughout a training session and leading up to a competition swimmers should be encouraged to have a bottle of fluid with them on poolside and to sip regularly.



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