Another letter from the DOC…

I actually started this letter over a week ago when I was given an article on the rewards of improved coaching in British swimming. Unfortunately a sudden overdose of sinusitis came my way and I am sure that those of you that have experienced it know that it is not something you would wish upon your worst enemy. At least it made me forget about this letter for a while and focus on other things.

The good thing nowadays is that articles don’t disappear with today’s paper going into recycling. This one came from the Daily Telegraph (they really should start paying me soon) and the subject was British Swimming that seems to be facing a brand new Spring. Following on from their Beijing success, world records were beaten recently in the British Championships in Sheffield and a lot of this is credited to the work that the previous Performance Director Bill Sweetenham put in and the changes he made. The two record breaking swimmers’ (Adlington and Jackson) coach, Kevin Renshaw, said: –

“Swimming was very isolated and swimming coaches thought; ‘We’re in the water and no-one else is, so we only need to know about our sport’.”

Renshaw claims that Sweetenham changed this view and Kevin himself was put on an education programme to visit coaches from other sports. In this way swimming quickly became the sport that Bill built and now the rewards are starting to come in.

I suggest he could have been talking about golf. The kind of isolated role that the golf coach too often plays just cannot be the best way to utilise that particular resource and, just as the case has been with the EGU coaches in my time in England, these coaches need two things: –

1.    A widening of the role where coaching is not just about trying to technically improve somebody but to do whatever it takes to positively influence performance;
2.    Education to be able to fulfil that much wider role and understand the factors that can and will influence performance.
Another one of Sweetenham’s aphorisms was that “Swimmers are only as good as their coaches”. I don’t think there are that many sports where that would not apply!

Read the full article here:

And just when you get this first sense of spring and the leaves are starting to show on the trees – isn’t it great to know that the Azalea and Magnolia will be just as beautiful as ever before at Augusta next week? They won’t be bothered by any financial meltdown going on in the rest of the world. And you wonder if the story is going to be the same again with that familiar face in the green jacket on Sunday night. Or perhaps the time has come for an update on the colour of the jacket???

Individual winner Sam Hutsby and the winning England Team at Sotogrande

Individual winner Sam Hutsby and the winning England Team at Sotogrande

Best regards,


“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

– Steve Jobs

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