Swimming clinic delights Coaches (PNG)

Development News

Chris Smith's coaching skills

A clinic for active club coaches and physical education teachers was held on April 20-26, 2010, in Lae and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

30 local participants enthusiastically welcomed visiting Australian coach, Chris Smith, who came to share his valuable experience and knowledge in coaching and educating in swimming, who conducted Learn to Swim schools in the Sydney area for 16 years.

The clinic targeted coaches and teachers with level beginner to intermediate.

The objective of the clinic was to “provide an effective swim teaching programme in Papua New Guinea,” says Elizabeth Wells, President of PNG Swimming Inc, who coordinated the course. Together with Papua New Guinea Swimming Inc, the common aim is to “upgrade the level of coaching in the country to a recognised standard in the Oceania Region that will allow our coaches to develop our athletes in proper stroke techniques.”

The clinic was held both in class and in the pool. Day 1 was theory-focused and included essential topics such as “Being an effective swimming coach”, by describing the roles and responsibilities of a swimming teacher and coach, “Learning how to swim”, which explained how to teach swimming skills and “Mechanics of swimming” detailed the characteristics of resistance, buoyancy and propulsion.

Chris Smith highlighted the importance of the coach and teacher as a role model for the young swimmer: “A young swimmer’s level of acquisition of skill and his/her improvement of physical fitness is dependent on not just talent, but frequency and duration of exposure to the activity, and the quality of instruction over the season, not forgetting the swim teacher or coach is a very important person in a swimmer’s life.”

At the end of the course, everyone went by the pool to apply in practice what they had just learned in the classroom. Junior swimmers were there for the demonstration. Chris Smith taught the group the techniques for each stroke and showed coaching and educating skills.

Day 2 consisted in “Developing the competitive strokes” (Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly) and the application of these theoretical elements in practise.

The clinic concluded very successfully, Elizabeth Wells noted: “If our goal is to provide our swimmers in the community with the best coaching available, we need to educate our coaches, to provide them with the latest and best information available. The FINA Coaching Clinic provided the ideal opportunity for all to improve in their teaching skills.”

(Based on Elizabeth Wells’ clinic report)

Port Moresby participants