JAMES STEWART - CASC CHIEF COACH - BIOGRAPHY
James Stewart joins C.A.S.C with over 25 years experience in Swimming. He has also been Head Coach of Sutton and Cheam SC and County Coach at Leatherhead SC.
James has over 10 years experience in club Coaching to date. As a competitive Swimmer James won gold medals at all competitions ranging from County, Regional and National level.
In 2007 James decided to get back in the water and competed in the National Championships at Sheffield and with very little training came 7th in the 50m and 100m butterfly, following this James qualified for the Olympic Trials for Beijing where he came 12th.
Now James is focusing all his attention as a Coach, and believes he can have just as much success in coaching as he did in competing.
Psychology for Swimmers
25 Things a Parent Can Do to Help Their Child Achieve
by James Stewart
My basic Philosophy on Swimming has many angles to success!
Each and every swimmer swims in a different way but my coaching is one way - the most efficient way.
When my swimmers train in the pool I demand total concentration, commitment and respect to all coaching staff, if a swimmer applies all of these fundamentals they will reach their maximum potential as an athlete.
I believe that technique is the key to great swimming, young Swimmers being taught the correct technique is crucial for their swimming development. Swimmers just swimming up and down the pool with no purpose is only installing bad technique, and as the years go on will only take longer to reinstall.
I insist that all coaches at C.A.S.C are all teaching/coaching from the same hymn sheet, working this way swimmers develop at a much faster rate, this is also a key point to a successful Swimming Club.
Only once the correct technique is installed, then and only then may a coach start to introduce physically demanding sets in the pool.
It's important that young swimmers' development is a slow and gradual process and to not give them too much too soon physically and mentally.
Swimming should also be fun and exciting at a young age. Once a swimmer starts to move up the squads, only then will I emphasize the importance of what they are doing and the rewards of what can follow.
I would like all swimmers to set their goals high e.g. winning Gold medals, breaking records, becoming Olympic champions, but they must understand that to reach their highest goal requires a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication. I will coach, mentor and guide all of my swimmers to the best of my ability and believe I can do this.
I don't like to class a young swimmer as a distance swimmer or a sprinter and will coach all swimmers all strokes and all distances. If a swimmer can't swim a stroke very well e.g. butterfly, or is not able to sprint as fast as they would like, this is because they haven't been taught properly. Once a swimmer reaches a certain age then together we can decide what events they can focus on.
A very important factor of a swimmer's success and moving up the ladder are parents - you will play a big part in their swimming, transporting them to sessions, making sure they have eaten the correct food with enough time then to settle before they swim, judging whether it's better they have a rest rather than coming to training tired. Sometimes rest is good and parents must support and guide their children in the right direction. I will communicate with parents so they are aware of their child's progress in their training.
Flexibility is extremely important for swimmers to swim in a professional way, i.e. the strokes and drills techniques that I will be introducing requires great flexibility ( remember the more supple we are the faster swimmer we will be ). I will be focusing on flexibility in every training session.
Land training also plays a big part in an athlete's strength training and development. Land training will increase strength in areas the pool just can't do (yes we are working all our muscles in the pool and swimming is one of the best sports for fitness), but there are various exercises that we need to do on land to enable more power in the pool.
I'm a great believer in video feedback. The first time I saw myself swimming made me realize what I really looked like in the pool and this really helped me correct my strokes and helped me move on and progress my swimming career. Not only will I be introducing video feedback on top of the water, we will also be using video technology under the water, as we all know it's what we do under the water that really counts. Watching yourself and others swim correctly is a great way to develop your skills in your own mind, as this also plays a big part in the sport. A coach can only help you to a certain degree but, once the race starts its all up to you.
- Make sure you have all your swimming kit including a full drinks bottle.
- Swimmers must arrive 10-15 mins before the start of the session to warm up and stretch to avoid injury.
- Swimmers must not hang or sit on the lane ropes or climb out using the starting blocks.
- Remember you only get out of swimming what you put into training so total commitment is everything.
- Always use the toilet before entering the pool as you will not be allowed to go during swim sets.
- Always give 100%.
- Report any injury or illness to your Coach before the start of the session.
- If you feel you really are to tired to train stay at home and get an early night.
- Always listen to your Coach and follow all instructions given to your best ability.
- C.A.S.C. expect good behaviour at all times in training sessions and at Competitions - remember your behaviour reflects on the club, good or bad.
- Always come to your Coach before and after your swim as this is vital to your swimming development.
- Bad language will not be tolerated FULL STOP.
- Performance enhancing drugs are forbidden - Swimmers and Parents must be aware of all known banned substances.
- Bullying WILL NOT be tolerated, treat others as you would wish to be treated.
TRAINING KIT FOR ALL SQUADS:
- Costume, x 1 for training, x 2 for Competition.
- Drink bottle, x 1 for training, x 2 for Competition.
- Swimming hat with club logo.
- Goggles x 2
- Kick board
- Fins, small & large
- Pull buoy
- Ankle band
- Hand paddles, large & small, and finger paddles
All equipment will be available from the Club Shop.
NUTRITION FOR TRAINING AND COMPETITIONS
- Start by getting into bed at a reasonable time so we are focused and ready to compete.
- Make sure you are eating quality foods with plenty of carbohydrates,this will give you more energy at the end of the race.
- Examples of good food: pasta, noodles, baked potato, sandwiches - tuna & chicken, cereal, rice cakes, dried fruit.
- Try to allow 1 1/2 - 2hrs between eating when racing or training, yes if you get hungry it's ok to snack on cereal bars or small bananas.
- Always keep hydrated in training and at competitions, it's very hot on poolside and this will dehydrate you - drink plenty of water.
- Ensure you snack straight after your race as this will help to keep up your energy levels throughout the day.
- Examples of snacks: grapes, dried fruit, rice cakes, fruit buns, malt loaf, Dextrose sweets, all these are perfect for race day.
- Sweets are okay but not too many.
- Drinks: water is best for you but you can dilute a drink of your choice, just make sure it is a minimum of 80% water to 20% juice of your choice.
- If you would like any more information don't hesitate to ask your Coach.
PSYCHOLOGY FOR SWIMMERS
- Lay a solid foundation for confidence
- Believe in yourself
- Remove the word "can't" from your vocabulary
- Grove in super swims
- Rehearse the entire Competition Experience
- Build good training habits
The Bottom Line
Getting Prepared for Competitions
- Strive to be prepared for every competition
- You must care
- Provide yourself with some incentives
- Overcome complacency
- Swim the best race you can
Handling the Pressure
- Don't make your races too precious
- Stay focused on your real goals
- Don't put your ego on the line
- Strive for perfection, but don't demand you swim the perfect race
- Keep your races in perspective
- Save your energy for the race
- Take your mind off the race
- Focus on the swim not the race
- Nervousness is natural, but try to keep it controlled and focused
- Never doubt what you're not sure about
- Dwell on the positive
- Think you will do it
- Remind yourself of the foundation you have laid
- Replay past success
- Replay success
- Know what to expect
- Act confident
A Positive Competition Psychology
- Don't be afraid to hurt, it's never that bad
- Don't be deceived by feel
- Don't try too hard
- Keep a cool head
Put Everything into your Race
- Make a commitment to do it in this race
- Make the most of every opportunity
- Tell yourself what to do
- Swim your own race length by length
Exploit the Magic Within
- Dare to swim great
- Relish any opportunity to compete
- The ultimate request
- Set goals
- Make a commitment
- Use the goals to direct your training
- Don't limit yourself
- Set your goals high
- Go for major breakthroughs in training
- Make the most of each and every opportunity
- Watch how top swimmers train and perform
- Understand why you are doing it
- Do it right
- Think in terms of want to!! Not have to!!
- Reming yourself of what you are accomplishing
- Keep an eye on your goals
- Make intense training fun
- Appreciate taking your body to the limit
- Pat yourself on the back
- Use the clock
- Check pulse
- Relax, swim loose, but fast
- Total concentration at all times
- Welcome the pain of training hard
- Handle the pain in the present
- Use the pain as a signal to pick it up
- Use the pain as a signal to relax
- Decide there is no pain in swimming
25 THINGS A PARENT CAN DO TO HELP THEIR CHILD ACHIEVE
- Allow them to have fun
- Understand they cannot win everytime
- Allow them to try other sports
- Encourage the same commitment to schooling as swimming
- Don't reward winning with junk food
- Make them pack and unpack their training kit, let them control their swimming career
- Don't judge their stroke or distance too early - things can change
- Encourage down time no swimming no schooling
- Never use swimming as a punishment, e.g. doing more lengths
- Volunteer your time for the club
- Don't compare your child's achievements to other's
- Help raise money for the club
- Ensure they own the correct kit including any new required training essentials
- Encourage them to eat the correct foods, this will give them more energy in training and racing
- Attend regular training sessions to show you are interested in their effort and progress
- Accept they will go through a period when they may not improve
- Support all coaches
- Judge whether they need a rest - don't send them training if they are tired
- Leave the coaching to the coaches, trust in the coach
- Never criticize coaches or officials
- Keep club fees up to date
- Stay clear of sports drinks, they are expensive and do not hydrate your child as they do not have enough water in them
- The best form of hydration is water mixed with a juice
- Do not interrupt coaches during sessions except in an emergency
- Ensure they are on poolside early enough to do stretching
C.A.S.C Chief Coach