Becoming A SS Coach And That Famous Trip To Perth

Here in Perth we've just completed two back to back courses working with 13 new Swim Smooth Coaches based around the world (Belgium, Dubai, Sweden, Holland, Canada, USA, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the UK). The course in Perth is very intensive for both the coaches and the mentors - to say everyone goes home a little tired afterwards is a bit of an under-statement (not least the Swim Smooth tutors!)

Here's Bart Rolet from Montreal talking to course tutor Adam Young midway through the Perth course on his experience:

Whilst we can't wait to get these guys out there helping you develop your swimming, they have not yet completed their training. To find a full list of our certified coaches see:

Certified Coach Training

The task of becoming a Swim Smooth Coach is no small undertaking - it takes around a year of study and practise, even for experienced swimming coaches. The two weeks in Perth is very much the highlight - and the intensive experience that everyone looks forward to - but just as important is the training, practice and mentoring we give every coach through their whole training.

The squads in Perth are run by our Head Coach Paul Newsome and are very much the heart and soul of all of Swim Smooth's coaching. It's where all of our coaching development takes place on the hotbed of a huge squad with 350 regular members (and many hundreds more visiting every year for video analysis):

The squads feature all levels of swimmer, of all ages, shapes and sizes. At the (very) pointy end we have elite swimmers and triathletes training for international events. We have a large and passionate team of open water swimmers and triathletes of all speeds and enthusiastic beginners taking their first laps of swimming. One of our most famous swimmers Mega Megan is still improving. Our oldest swimmer Barry Eaves is still teaching the young guns how to do it at 79. And we have "Super" Sue Oldham the world age record holder for swimming the English Channel (70 years young). Amazing stuff!

Not only do the coaches receive intensive training in Perth but they also experience this 'vibe' of Swim Smooth at the source of it all, witnessing first hand the sorts of improvements and performances swimmers can achieve - all whilst having fun at the same time. This is hugely inspiring and something they will aim reproduce in their local setup.

Becoming A Swim Smooth Coach Yourself

We are of course looking to grow the number of Swim Smooth Certified Coaches around in the world in the future. Interested in showing the world your coaching potential? Find out more about the program at:

Also remember to join our Coaches Network as we only invite coaches to apply for our training courses from this group:

BUT most importantly of all - don't wait for us to pick you! Get started improving and developing your coaching today: get your qualifications from your governing body, help local swimmers, work with your local club, start doing video analysis and push your coaching boundaries in every area. The most passion and drive you have, the better the world becomes, and the more likely we are to select you from the crowd.

Swim Smooth!

Telling Swingers And Smooths Apart

SS Clinics and Camps:

United Kingdom

Yorkshire Video Analysis

West Lothian Video Analysis

Richmond SS Squad

Freestyle Improvers Course, Oxford

Richmond / Wimbledon Workshops

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis

Twickenham Video Analysis

Lancaster SS Squad

Lancaster Video Analysis

Northampton Swim Squad

Acton London Video Analysis

Birmingham Video Analysis Clinic

Cardiff Video Analysis Clinic

Video Analysis Clinic, Sherborne

Video Analysis Workshop Reading Feb & April

Northampton Video Analysis Clinic

Yorkshire Squads (Pool & OW)


Dublin Video Analysis

Prague Video Analysis

Lanzarote Swim Camp March 2016

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante

Prague Junior Swim Club

Asia & North America

3 Day Camp, Florida April 1-3

NYC / SC Video Analysis

Hong Kong Video Analysis

Dubai December Video Analysis Workshops

South Carolina Clinic Jan 24th
If you've been following Swim Smooth for a while, you'll know that one of the unique things about our coaching philosophy is that we recognise two 'ideal' types of stroke - The Swinger and The Smooth. In this post we're going to revisit this concept because sometimes there's a little confusion about telling them apart - especially amongst coaches watching swimmers from the pool deck:

The Smooth

The long smooth stroke of The Smooth is used by swimming greats such as Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps, and is aspired to by swimmers and coaches alike. Here's the classical smooth stroke demonstrated by our own Jono Van Hazel:

Notice how Jono uses a high elbow arm recovery over the water with the hand close to the surface. This looks very elegant indeed but not all smooths do this, many choose to use a slightly straighter arm, especially if they are doing a lot of swimming in open water.

Here's Carolyn - very much a Smooth - and one of the top swimmers in our squads in Perth:

Carolyn's using a straighter arm recovery - but that doesn't make her a Swinger! She still has the rhythm and range of a Smooth but simply chooses to open the arm out a little straighter than Jono.

To compare, here's classic Swinger Mel Benson, an elite open water swimmer from Perth:

Note the shorter punchier style of stroke with the arms swinging quickly around the side. This style is used by many elite swimmers (e.g. David Davies, Laure Manadou, Ryan Cochrane) and most elite triathletes to great effect (e.g. the all-conquering Brownlee Brothers).

Swingers tend to use a straighter arm but the straightness varies quite a bit, from almost straight (as if bowling a cricket ball) up to around 90 degrees. If you ask them why they do this, they normally reply "it just feels right".

So if some Smooths use a straighter arm and the occasional Swinger favours a bend at the elbow, how can you tell them apart? Fundamentally the difference between Swingers and Smooths isn't about arm recovery style, it's about the length of the stroke and the rate of the stroke (cadence). Smooths have a longer stroke with a slower stroke rate, whilst Swingers use a shorter stroke with a faster rhythm.

This is a little like the choice of gear when riding a bike - the Smooth chooses a bigger gear pushed at a lower cadence whilst the Swinger spins a smaller gear at a higher cadence. The Swinger takes more strokes than the Smooth but each stroke is at a lower effort.

When watching swimmers, use the following process to identify a Swinger or Smooth:

- First check they are swimming quickly, all Smooths and most Swingers are fast swimmers travelling at 1:30 /100m or faster (often a lot faster). If your swimmer is slower than this, they're much more likely to be one of the other Swim Types.

- Count their strokes per length. Typically a Smooth takes 32-40 strokes in a 50m pool (14-18 strokes in a 25m pool), meanwhile the Swinger takes 45-55 strokes in a 50m pool (21-26 or more in a 25m pool).

- Also take a look at their stroke rate (cadence), with experience you can judge this by eye but you might want to use a stroke rate stopwatch. A Smooth has a stroke rate in the range 60 to 75 strokes per minute whilst Swingers are in the range 70 to 100 strokes per minute.

Then for a little circumstantial evidence:

- Take a look at the arm recovery - even if your Smooth is using a straighter arm it should come a little more over the top than round the side like a Swinger.

- Finally observe the kick. Smooths nearly always favour a continuous 6-beat flutter kick whilst Swingers can use either a 6 beat or 2 beat kick (although a 2 beat is perhaps more common).

Swim Smooth!

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