4 tips for coaching differentiation with Masters swimmers

Coaching differentiation is the term used to describe the method of planning and coaching a session plan for a range of abilities.

One thing no Masters swimming coach can ever complain about is a lack of variety in their squad.

There simply isn’t a Masters swimming club in the country where all swimmers are of a very similar standard. In this respect, coaching Masters swimmers is very different to coaching an age group squad.

Coaching differentiation is the term used to describe the method of planning and coaching a session plan for a range of abilities.

4 Tips For Coaching Differentiation

Use the four tips below to help plan a Masters swimming sessions for a range of abilities.

  1. Identify individuals needs
    First of all, be realistic about the ability of each swimmer in your group. How does the group differ in terms of skill, endurance and speed. Break down your group so each lane has swimmers of a similar ability.
  2. Use different stroke drills and techniques
    You don’t have to stop the whole group for specific stroke work. If one swimmer is struggling with an aspect of stroke work, give them a drill they can do alongside the main set of the rest of the group.
  3. Use different distances
    Different lanes don’t have to do the same distances for each set. Using different distances for different lanes is a good way to ensure the squad finish sets at a similar time. Depending on your swimmers’ strengths, they may need to swap lanes for different sets so take this into account.
  4. Use different speeds and intensities
    Whether they like it or not, your swimmers’ speed swims will gradually become slower as they age. Set realistic target times for race-pace sets, dependent on the age and ability of each swimmer.

Masters coaching CPD

Swim England have also worked with a number of British Masters swimmers and coaches to produce an unofficial CPD for Masters swimming coaches.

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