The Swim Brief – Take Me To the Clinic

Coach Nico has been all around the US for the second year in a row and we talk about what he’s learned on his trip, but also get in deep with some listener questions about swimming clinics and continuing education.

Few people consume swimming clinics with as much glee as Coach Nico. In the past few weeks, he’s been at ISCA, ASCA, and GAIN Swimming. He gives some insights from each stop of his tour and tells us what he has learned. We also continued the conversation we had a year ago, about what exactly makes a good conference?

Finally, I’ve noticed that the international reach of many of these clinics seems to grow over time. We talked about what motivates coaches from all over the world to travel to a foreign land.

Podcast Details Clinics Mentioned
Episode: #11
Host: Chris DeSantis
Guest: Nico Messer

Do you have an opinion on this week’s topic or want to share your experience attending a clinic? We would love to hear it! Please leave a comment below or send us a message with your feedback for this episode.

Please vote in our “fun poll” mentioned during the intro of the episode whether Michael Phelps or Michael Andrew is changing the sport of swimming.

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Questions & Answers

Gian Alessandro: Can you find the secret sauce at these clinics?
Yes!? In my humble opinion you can always find something “new” that will add something to your own program at these clinics (either in the talks or by talking with other coaches in the hallways).

No?! Although many claim that there is, there really isn’t a secret sauce (and if there is, it’s probably on the internet).

Mike Murray: Who, or what was the most impactful thing that you heard or learned from?
“Reputation builds Confidence.” -Tyler Fenwick
“The coach who knows WHY beats the coach who knows HOW.” -Dr. Scott McLean

Sprint Panel – how the athlete feels isn’t as important as what the athlete feels.

#WorkWorks – distance freestyle as a “platform” (good base for future success; “easier” cuts for “big meets”)

Katie McNerney: How did you figure out the content of your clinics? Seems it could be overwhelming in trying to narrow it down.
All three events I attended were different in that ISCA only offers one track and you can either decide to go into the room for the presentation (or don’t attend). ASCA on the other hand offers multiple tracks (College, Senior, Age Group, “Business of Swimming”, Learn to Swim, etc.) and different special classes in addition where you do have to study the schedule to map out a plan (you could either go by “theme”, speakers, or stay on a single track). GAIN is different in this as the whole clinic is about a single topic – dryland/weight training.

It can be confusing and I usually also try to ask a couple other coaches in attendance what their plans are to get opinions on speaker or topics (or simply be in the same room as them as I may want to talk with them during the breaks). Another thing that bigger groups of multiple coaches from the same team are doing, is splitting up and having meetings at the end of the day to catch everybody up on the different talks.

Alexis Keto: What are three things that make a good clinic? How important is diversity of presenters for attendees? What role does location/cost of attendance (incl. travel etc) of clinic play in the relative success or clinic experience? If you could design a 2-3 day clinic for coaches – looking to be a crash course in coaching – what does that look like from a pedagogical approach?
Don’t think that are is a universal answer to the question what a good clinic is made off (it’s probably also a very individual impression).

Having “toured” these clinics “extensively” the past few years, I feel like there is very little turnover in diversity of presenters. And this year it was the first time, I felt like it did “annoy” me a little bit.

Hard question to answer! The way I look at it these days, it would probably be “nothing” like any of the current clinics – think we could get a lot of inputs and finding different ways of doing things from other “industry events”.

About Chris DeSantis Coaching

There is a lot more to excellence than how you move in the pool. Your mindset determines how much you get out of a practice or a competition. Serious swimmers also know that technical skills make all the difference. Coach Chris can get you personalized workouts that deliver incredibly efficient results. You can get improvement with less time in the water and a better life out of it, keep the sport fun for kids, or take high level performance even higher.

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