Growing the Swim Coaching Profession – Discussions

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On Facebook's group, the Swim Coaches Idea Exchange, I made a mention and got some great feedback. Some of that went into the email discussion reserved for ISCA Members. Some of the comments have been put into the comments on this blog post too. And, of course, more discussion flows on Facebook.


ISCA, an association of swim coaches, has a role in trying to grow the profession, of course. And as the ISCA webmaster, I'm trying to grow the association, our profession and our projects, of course. So, some of what we do is for ISCA members. But, much of our efforts are for the greater community. For example, any team can come to an ISCA sponsored swim meet. ISCA's content is most often for everyone interested. Simply subscribe to the ISCA newsletter for free. 

Thanks for the engagement, collaboration and open-source pondering.

If you have something to share, you can post on the comments below, or we'll see you on Facebook. And, you can always email, or call 218-400-1500.



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  • Shelley Tilbrook

    Hi Mark,

    Sally mentioned the issues you were facing with your Swimming Club so I wanted to offer my insights and introduce myself.

    I have worked with Swimming Australia, ASCTA, Swimming Clubs and industry partners who have faced similar issues.

    I’m now working with Autocoach, and I can see how their technology can support and help resolve these issues.

    1. Coach retention challenges due to pay expectations.

    Similar to Sally’s point, I agree a commercially thriving Swimming Club will have more opportunity to provide attractive pay to coaches.

    The Autocoach system is designed to support swimmer retention through increased enjoyment and engagement as well as provide commercial avenues to generate income for the club. Both assist in providing sustainable growth.

    For example, we had one Club purchase our full race meet system which they recovered the investment in full from the first race meet they ran. Now they have a system to deliver revenue for the club. Some of our new products like the wearable will also have the potential to provide coach income through paid programs for individual recreational swimmer programs which is something that we will be developing in 2023.

    2. Vocal Parents challenging for coaches to manage

    The more feedback and communication you can provide a parent, the more comfortable they will be with the process and progress of their child. Our system provides real-time feedback to support communication between coaches, participants and parents. This automation can reduce the coaches time and stress, while also educating the parent on what is happening in the pool.

    Likewise, the data insights can help motivate participants for with the ability to also inform parents for a win-win.

    Happy to discuss any of this further with you.

    It’s a really interesting topic.

    Shelley Tilbrook

    +61 414 633 265

  • O Thomas Johnson emailed:

    Honestly, if I were 25 or 30, I would have to rethink a career path. While inflation has grown exponentially, pay for many positions has grown arithmetically.
    If you are a young person who may what a family, this is a tough profession. I think secondly, I know a lot of coaches my age struggle to keep kids engaged. Parents want them to do a million things. They rarely want to be good at anything.

    I know this sounds like old man get off of my lawn stuff. Last year, ….
    It did not pan out the way I had hoped, and I am back as an Aquatic Director and coaching again. (edited slightly by webmaster)


  • I think that we are looking at 2 problems to keep coaches in the sport.

    1) Pay expectations; the amount of money that is available to pay, and what the next generation is expecting for their “expertise”. Potential coaches look at built and strong clubs that can pay what they want, and too many are past the point of wanting to build something.

    2) Parents have become even more of an issue post COVID. Lots of loud voices, no real knowledge, and a frustration to teach the parents from the coaches end.

    Any other thoughts?
    Mike Cunningham
    Donner Swim Club Head Coach
    Columbus North High School Head Coach

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