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Discovery via Doing in Coaching

They say you learn something new everyday. What they don't tell you is how you will learn it! There is a lot I don't know. There are skills I find hard to develop in swimmers and elements of technique that I still don't understand. I hope that I will never be in a situation where I say I know all there is to know because then I will stop adding value to my work and it will stagnate.

In this post I want to talk about discovery via doing as a form of learning. I have found that in my relatively short coaching career of nearly 6 years. I have learnt more from actually coaching and trying things out than I have from any courses or structured CPD. This is not a dig at the organisations that run these structured learning courses because they absolutely have a place; they teach you about fundamental principles of aquatic alignment, professional standards and health and safety.

I feel that as a coach, you can gain valuable experience by giving things a go and uncovering why things do and don't work by seeing the results as you go. For example: butterfly is a stroke I would class myself as not fully understanding. Is this because I wasn't a great fly swimmer? Maybe. Is it because a younger version of me was nervous to really make changes to butterfly strokes due to it being too complicated? Possibly. However, in the last few of seasons I have started to think more logically about how I make stroke changes; nailing the body and head position then building the rest of the stroke around the body.

This has been a valuable experience for me because as I layered all the different aspects of the stroke bit by bit onto a swimmer, I slowly started to discover more and more about the way the stroke works and my understanding of the stroke started to develop. All because I started with a blank canvas and thought about developing the stroke bit by bit.

The purpose of this post was not to shout about everything I know, it was not to tell others how something should be done, it was just to highlight an experience I have had and essentially reflect on how I have developed something in my coaching that I was once too anxious to approach.

I hope I get more opportunities to learn in this way every time I walk onto the pool deck.

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