PSW Podcast – Episode 2 – Richard Sleight (St Peters Western Swim Club)

Richard Sleight is in the spotlight during this second episode of the PSW Podcast. Host Robby Cox continues the discussion on long term athlete development (LTAD) and touches on professional development (PD) while discussing Coach Richard’s career path. Through the first half of the episode, Coach Richard gives his views and opinions on the different stages of the development process for age group athletes by providing a real life example with the training of Sam Short at Albany Creek Swim Club and detailing his training cycle with insights into a full week of training.

Long Term Athlete Development

Coach Richard stresses that LTAD has much to do with educating the parents of young athletes on the process and the work required to become a champion swimmer. In recent years, our society has moved into focusing more on results and that is taking the fun out of the first and most important phase, FUNdamentals, of the LTAD model. His number one advice on coaching young athletes is to keep things simple – choose a small number of drills that are simple to explain and execute over short distances. Just trying to get someone fit at the expense of technique is the worst thing we can do in the development of young kids.

We need to develop good habits by focusing on form (body line and position), stroke technique and skills (starts, turns). As the athletes improve and make it through the different groups in your squad you can move from simple to more complex tasks. Coach Richard and host Robby also discuss the pathway once the athletes are growing older and how that slowly changes the relationship with the individual athlete as well as all the other things aside of the training you likely will have to consider and worry about in your daily interactions.

Professional Development

Continually developing as a coach means to never stop learning! Especially during the first few years into his coaching career, Coach Richard was all about taking in as many things as possible. And in order to experience growth, you need to find mentors that will challenge and also tell you the things you don’t want to hear.

About Coach Richard

In July 2020, Richard Sleight was appointed the National Age Head Coach at St Peters Western Swim Club following a successful stint as the Head Coach with Albany Creek Swim Club. During his time at Albany Creek, Coach Richard was selected as the Coach for the 2016 Australian Development Team for the Oceania Swimming Championships in Fiji and as an Australian Junior Team Coach for the Junior Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas.

Resources:
– Follow St Peters Western Swim Club on Facebook
Off the Blocks with Sam Short (Season 2) Ep 10
USOPC American Development Model
ADM for Swimming
Long-Term Athlete Development Framework – Sport for Life (Canada)
How Long-Term Athlete Development works in practice for Swimming Canada (Article by John Atkinson on FINA Learning Platform)
What is the LTAD model and should you be using it? (Article on Human Kinetics)
Long-Term Athlete Development (PDF poster by sportscotland)

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