4 Things To Thank Our Volunteer Coaches For

Photo Courtesy: Northeastern Athletics/ Nafeesa Connolly

By Delaney Lanker, Swimming World College Intern

A swim team’s coaching staff goes far beyond the head coach. We have assistant coaches, strength trainers, athletic trainers and volunteer coaches with each being as important as the next. Over the years I’ve had a number of different coaches with unique personalities and coaching styles, but one thing that often flies under the radar is the importance of volunteer assistant coaches.

They choose to come to practice everyday, they want to be there and help swimmers better themselves as athletes and people without the motivation of a paycheck. They are more than just an extra hand on deck to take splits of run part of practice, volunteer coaches become an integral part of the team.

So here’s a few reasons we need to thank all of the volunteer coaches out there. You help keep us swimmers and our coaches sane.

1. Waking Up With Us

morning-practice-sunrise-3

Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Volunteer coaches still have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to get to morning practice on time. They give up their Saturdays to spend time at a swim meet for another year of their lives and they still have “I can’t, I have practice,” in their vocabulary. While volunteer coaches aren’t in the pool swimming with us, they still dedicate the same amount of time at the pool a week as we do.

2. Lightening the Mood

NU coaching staff

Photo Courtesy: Northeastern Athletics

My freshman and sophomore year of college, we had this one volunteer coach, who without fail, every 6 a.m. practice was up on his feet yelling and laughing and encouraging us through practice. It was sometimes super obnoxious for an overly-tired college swim team, but honestly, it was awesome. It was nice to have someone to keep pushing us in such a friendly and lighthearted way.

Even if our head coaches get mad at us, we can always count on our volunteer coach to know how to change the subject and bolster the mood of the team.

3. Relating To Us

NU coach

Photo Courtesy: Monica Patterson

In college, most of my volunteer coaches have been graduate students or someone fresh out of swimming themselves. This makes them the middle man between head coaches and the swimmers. They understand what we are going through and know the difficulties and struggles that come along with our sport, as well as seeing what a coach is going through. Volunteer coaches can explain things in ways our head coaches sometimes can’t. We look at them as a coach, but also a friend.

Also, your DJ skills and up-to-date taste in music are much-appreciated at practice and in long van rides.

4. Supporting Us

NU Coaches

Photo Courtesy: Northeastern Athletics

Volunteer coaches, thank you for always telling me good job after my race. Even if we didn’t swim that well, we know you will have something positive to say and a hug to give. You are our number one fans on the pool deck, regardless of the time on the clock and feedback our head coaches give.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to come to practice and help support us in becoming stronger athletes and people. It makes a world of difference.

Honor all of the volunteers in your life this March by snapping their photo and posting with #1VolunTeam on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Tag @usaswimming and @swimmingworldmag too! 

1 Comment

1 comment

  1. Sylvia Nowak

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Author: Delaney Lanker

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Delaney Lanker is a junior at Northeastern University studying journalism. She is a butterflier and captain of their NCAA Division I team. Before college, she swam for the Colorado Stars.

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