A day in the life of a sports coach

by frank-stuart

My name is Adam Kable and I am the Assistant Swimming Coach at NSWIS. Coaching is something I have wanted to do for a long time, probably because the swim coaches I had growing up had such a big impact on my life. When I stopped competing myself I was lucky enough to go straight into the position of Head Coach of Bankstown Sports, a local age group program. This was a very challenging but rewarding experience. Not only was I trying to find performance among a plethora of constraints, I found myself mentoring a group of young teenagers not only through their athletic careers but in their personal lives.

From there, approximately 18 months ago, I was granted my current position as Assistant Coach to Brant Best at NSWIS. Brant, who also coached me when I was competing, is a very passionate coach and believes strongly on adapting his approach to suit each individual in the squad. We have a full team of support staff including physiology, physiotherapy, biomechanics and strength and conditioning and his attention to detail with his approach has resulted in 5 members of the squad qualifying for the games in London.

Traditionally swim coaches have a 5am start to the day, fortunately in high performance; school and work are less of a factor, so my day starts at 7am. As Brant is writing the session on the white board, I will run through the swimmers land based warm ups. Mostly prescribed by the head physiotherapist, these are a variety of individual activation and core exercises designed to target weaknesses in the way they move. As a physiotherapist myself, I will do a quick assessment of any lingering injuries and a quick treatment if necessary. The athletes hop in the water at 7.30am and will generally swim through till about 9am. During this time I spend most of my time running two (sometimes three) stop watches taking times, doing quick calculations of splits and taking stroke rates. It is an art that takes a little while to get used to. Additionally, I may be coordinating underwater filming of the athletes, taking blood lactate samples, assisting in resistive swimming, or recording data.

Once finished, the athletes head straight across the road to the NSWIS gym. Their programs are mostly based on functional strength, so here I assist the head strength and conditioner Michael Hetherington making sure the athletes perform their exercises properly, while providing some positive encouragement. Gym generally runs through until 10.30am from where the athletes go home to rest or to work. Brant and I will then meet to discuss the squad’s progress and plan ahead. This meeting, could last anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours depending on what day of the week it is.

As Assistant Coach, between lunch and afternoon training, my day varies. Often I will meet with the physiotherapist or strength and conditioner, spend my time entering training data into the computer or be doing my own post graduate study, sometimes I even get to go home to rest. Before afternoon training I always try and fit in a workout of my own. I believe it is important for a coach to set an example if he is to preach a healthy lifestyle. The athletes arrive back at the pool at 4pm for warm up, and the routine starts again. They hop in the water at 4.30pm and will finish approximately 7pm. This is followed by a stretching routine and quick assessment and treatment of any injuries, with my average day ends at 7.30pm at the pool. It’s a long day but a rewarding one. Watching one of your athletes succeed, knowing, that you helped them get there is a gratifying feeling.

By Adam Kable – Assistant Swimming Coach at NSWIS

Growing up in the outer Sydney suburb of Georges Hall, Adam Kable was an aspiring young swimmer for the Bankstown Sports club. After moving away from competing in 2010, Adam immediately set his sights to the coaching arena taking over as the Head Coach of the Bankstown Sports Club, winning national age group medals and state age records as a coach. Now 25, Adam fills the role of Assistant Swimming Coach to Brant Best at the New South Wales Institute of Sport, and after finishing his Degree in Physiotherapy at Sydney University last year, he is now studying his Masters of Coaching.

Interested in Sports Coaching? ACPE offers the Bachelor Sports Coaching and Administration degree to help you get ready for a number of sports coaching jobs. This degree encompasses a career development program so students get first-hand experience in the sporting industry before they graduate.

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