How to coach swimmers’ starts, dives, underwater streamlines and breakouts with the AutoCoach stopwatch


Originally by Damien Gogoll

In the weeks leading up to a major competition, I allocate roughly 10-to-15-minutes every third-or-fourth sessions to practice race starts. The purpose of this is to refine the swimmers’ starts, underwater work and breakouts.

By using the AutoCoach stopwatch and speaker in Interval mode, the starts come automatically at the selected interval. For example, a start command and beep can be played every ten-seconds. The watch communicates the commands in a wireless fashion to the speaker(s) in a continual fashion until the watch is made to STOP with a long push on the right top button.

With the speakers projecting the voice commands and the beeps, the coach on deck doesn't have to do those tasks and start the swimmers. With the system's help, the coach gets more time to focus on watching the starts and providing feedback.

This benefits the swimmers for a couple of reasons:

  1. Greater feedback and refining is provided by the coaches to the swimmers for their starts.
  2. Faster reaction times develop for the swimmers when going off the blocks due to them constantly hearing the correct race commands.
"Take your marks!” and then the BEEP and FLASH of the starting signals.

Set up this function of the AutoCoach stopwatch by pressing the left side button and rotating the top right button to the desired interval between starts. A favorite in this situation is :10-seconds.

To assess swimmers’ progress, you can time the swimmers to 15-meters or 25-meters and compare times each week. By adding in the LED Screen the times are displayed, giving even more time to focus techniques and what the swimmers are actually doing, rather than the times they swam.

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Insert YOUR comments in the box at the bottom of this -- and all the other pages. Questions. Insights. re-writes, whatever.

Swim, water polo and SKWIM coach in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Also the webmaster for the International Swim Coaches Association.

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