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Effective Management of a Club Swimming Program

Effective Management of a Club Swimming Program

The following post takes you through a number of initiatives to ensure the effective management of a swimming club program.

It focuses on performance management, an area not often considered by swimming clubs and coaches.  Areas including leadership and communication have not been covered in depth below however are key components of effective management of a club.

A club needs to continually review it’s structure to ensure that it provides the best support for all swimmers in the club.  To do this, consider the positions on your Board or Swim Committee and the leadership roles they play for your club.

The employment or appointment of a Head Coach is a crucial decision and the choice of person should meet the purpose of the club.  Club’s need to decide if they will employ the coach or use the coach employed at their facility.  Many clubs are coach driven and have been established by the existing coach.

In regards to both Committee and coaching positions, it is essential that the appointed persons will work toward achieving the purposes of the club outlined in your Constitution.

Committee Responsibilities

For a club to be effectively managed it is essential that the Committee and it’s members concentrate their efforts on non-swimming activities.  They are the leadership group within the club and need to support the vision and appointed coaches.

The Committee should be allocated tasks in regards to club promotion, uniform design and selling, member communications including newsletters or email services, fundraising activities, event planning and conduct, financial management of the club, social activities.

Other roles include technical official development, committee member development, ordering and presentation of trophies and medals, continual updating of club records and the club’s website.

Head Coach Responsibilities

The Head Coach is the primary leader in every club and should work with every swimmer in their squad/s and any assistant coaches.  The Head Coach provides leadership to coaches, parents and swimmers and drives committee direction.  They should manage all swimming activities including squad structure, coach management and the training and competition program.

Planning for swimmer and club improvement is an essential responsibility of the Head Coach.  This includes the planning of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly training programs for swimmers directly under their control.  The Head Coach also provides assistant coaches with direction on the planning for junior programs and program links as well as determining staff usage.

It is important for the Head Coach to avoid being distracted by petty issues and to constantly refer back to the Club’s vision and long term goals.

Club Direction

For a club to be successful in the long-term, they should concentrate on two areas: swimming performance and business performance.

It is therefore essential to employ the right coach to get swimming results and to ensure your committee has the necessary experience to assist business performance.

In regards to coach selection, clubs require coaches, who show commitment, have strong technical background, good cognitive abilities and a high level of emotional intelligence.

Business performance is essential if the club is to maintain long-term viability.  In particular, the monitoring of income and expenditure is essential.


One of the first steps for a coach and club is to develop a Vision.

Once your leadership group has agreed on the vision for the club, you can set long term and short term goals to achieve your vision.

Long term goals must be measurable, challenging and realistic and will usually relate to performance over one to five years.

To achieve long term goals, it is necessary to establish a set of stepping stones or short term goals that are achievable.  Too often we encourage swimmers to do this with their own personal best times, but coaches and clubs fail to set these goals for themselves.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

KPI’s can be very handy measures for swimming clubs or employers to measure coach performance.  At the start of each season, coaches and their employers should agree on a series of KPI’s.

Examples of KPI’s that can be used include: 

Attendance at all required swim meets; 

X swimmers in each training squad; 

Y swimmers qualify for National Championships; 

Z swimmers medal at National Championships; 

Attendance at 2 professional development workshops p.a.; 

Participation in the State Development Squad program 

Appropriate and timely communication to members;

Regular Reviews

It is important that coaches and committees review their performance and goals on an annual basis.  This should include ensuring that they are heading toward their vision and long-term goals.

As a part of the review process, coaches and clubs should compare results with KPI’s and ensure the Head Coach reviews assistant coaches and their own performance every 6 months.

The committee should also review their own structure and performance and make changes as necessary.

Competition Schedule

The Head Coach should plan the competition schedule to achieve long-term goals.  The Coach should select appropriate meets to focus on the vision, challenge the swimmers, provide swimmers with experiences to achieve future goals and assess the on-going training program.


Coaches of swimming clubs can be employed in many ways, including self-employment, club, centre or council employment.  Despite these alternatives, the information above can be utilised in all club / coach set ups to ensure efficient performance management.

Good Luck.


The Swimming Expert

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