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Swim Coach's Corner

Swim Tip

Presented by Nick Baker, Camp Director
Nike Peak Performance Summer Swim Camp Chicago, IL

Peak Performance Swim Camp Tip: The Ideal Swim Coach by Nick Baker

Peak Performance Swim Camp Coaches

The qualities of a good swim coach is a skilled teacher, trainer, and motivator. They teach cutting-edge technique and create ideal conditions for learning. Their practices bring swimmers to the breaking point without pushing them over the edge. They are a constant source of positive motivation, providing the mental fuel swimmers need to succeed. Those who are fortunate enough to have a coach like this are indeed blessed.

Although many coaches meet this criterion, many others do not, choosing instead to focus almost exclusively on physical training. I prefer to use the term “trainers” to define their coaching style. Trainers love to train, pushing swimmers to the physical breaking point practice after practice.

While trainers do produce some amazingly fast swimmers, many swimmers experience early burnout or become injured. Most often, swimmers who are coached by a trainer have inferior start, stroke, and turn technique due to the limited time available for the teaching of new skills. And, they generally break down more often in practice, leading to performance plateaus in competition. Due to the high stress of training, motivation levels also suffer.

Peak Performance Swim Camp

Peak Performance Swim Camp’s mission is to maximize swimming potential through a holistic training approach.

Coach Baker’s holistic approach began in 1972, his first year as a professional coach. He found it odd that most, if not all, of the swim programs in his area focused exclusively on physical conditioning. Marathon practices filled with “garbage yardage sets” were commonplace, with little time left for mental or technical needs. Rather than accept the status quo, he added mental and technical training to the mix to create a balanced approach. Now, 43 years later, Coach Baker’s vision has evolved into Peak Performance Swim Camp, a world leader in holistic training and swim camps.


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