Name: Mary Clarke
Job role: Volunteer Coach
Course attended: Level 2 Coaching Swimming
Location of course: Newcastle and Sunderland
What is your background, i.e. are you new to aquatics or have you been involved for a number of years?
I came to coaching swimming via my children who joined the local club. As is usual my involvement in club activities increased the more my children attended and progressed. At first I helped the swimming teacher with the learn to swim group and thoroughly enjoyed working with the younger and less able swimmers – it was lovely to see them at home in the water and taking their first ‘steps’ into becoming club members.
In between helping the teacher I was also watching my own two children as they developed into good standard county swimmers, and became interested in helping them, and the others in their groups. After attending the Level 1 Teaching Swimming course I struck out and attended the Level 1 Coaching Swimming one, luckily I only needed to do one unit to top up my qualification. Then, I wanted to do more and know more so timidly put myself forward for the Level 2 Coaching Swimming course and passed.
If you are already working in aquatics, what do you enjoy about being a teacher or coach?
It’s really great to see the children make such progress because of something I did or said. I also really enjoy being able to help them enjoy the water so much.
What were your reasons for attending the course?
I wanted to do more and know more and help more!
What did you find most interesting about the course?
The learning. As a stay-at-home mum I lost a little confidence in my own abilities and wouldn’t have done anything like this without being part of the swimming club. It was really interesting to find out all about the stroke techniques, how to motivate the swimmers and how to make the most of the club time. I loved learning how to teach and coach, not as easy as it sounds.
What part of the course was most beneficial to you?
Learning about the theory behind the National Teaching Plan and how it could work from the small pool swimmers up to the more advanced. Also learning about how to keep swimmers in swimming once they have lost interest in competition. Now use this with my own.
How will being on the course help you achieve your goals?
My goal was to help others in the club and I’ve achieved that and more. I’ve helped myself with confidence and knowledge.
Has anything you have learned changed the way you work?
Now I understand why the teachers and coaches have different parts to the session and don’t just get on with the main part of the work. I’ve also learnt to watch carefully for swimmers in the class who are struggling and now give them different work, I hadn’t thought of that before.
What advice would you give to those considering a UKCC course?
My advice would be to read the literature really carefully, do all the set homework and make sure that you understand everything being said to you during the course. The tutor is important so treat them like another book, ask questions and let them know that you care about the work.
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