Wayne’s Water World: Three Things Good Coaches Do

By Wayne Goldsmith.

There are coaches.

And there are good coaches.

Coaches who do things right – and do the right things – the things that will help the swimmers and the teams they coach to be all they can be.

So what is it that good coaches do that sets them apart?

What are the things that good coaches do that make them extra-ordinary?

Good coaches LISTEN.

Good coaches LEARN.

Good coaches LOVE.

The Three Ls of Good Coaches and Good Coaching.

Good Coaches Listen

Good coaches listen to their swimmers. They take time to understand their swimmers and what’s motivating them.  It’s by listening to their swimmers and through understanding what’s motivating them that good coaches are able to build strong connections – which open up the opportunity to inspire the hearts and minds of the swimmers they coach. Good coaches listen intently – purposefully and genuinely to their swimmers and realize that the better they understand their swimmers – the more effectively than can coach them to achieve remarkable things.

Good Coaches Learn

Good coaches learn – continuously. They learn with their swimmers. They learn from their swimmers. They know that it is their responsibility to learn, to grow and to develop so that they can continue to provide every swimmer they coach with the highest possible standard of coaching. Good coaches learn as much from their swimmers as they impart to them. Good coaches learn from coaching – from working with and from watching other coaches. Good coaches are committed to reflecting on their own coaching and ask themselves – after every workout:

  • Did I coach at my best today?
  • Did I make a difference to the swimmers I coached today?
  • What did I learned today that will make me a better swimming coach tomorrow?

Good coaches know that it is their commitment to learning and their passion for getting better at what they do that gives them the edge in their coaching endeavours.

Good Coaches Love

Good coaches love what they do. It is their love of coaching, their love of helping swimmers be all they can be and their love of seeing swimmers express the full extent of their personal potential that drives them to coach.

It is their love of coaching that inspires them to keep coaching through tough times. It is their love of knowing that quality coaching can change the lives of swimmers they coach that maintains their passion, their energy, their excitement and their enthusiasm.

When coaches listen – they build great relationships and strong connections with their swimmers.

When coaches learn – they are making a commitment to life-long improvement which in turn gives them the capacity to help every swimmer they coach to become all they can be.

When coaches love what they do – when they give their heart and their mind to being the best coach they can be – anything is possible.



  1. Steven Jackman

    Listen, learn, and love are all good ideas. They could be good ideas for doing just about anything that is good.

  2. Sean Patrick

    I know alliteration is really important, but given recent scandals in swimming specifically and youth sport in general, perhaps that last ‘L’ could be stated better as ‘Caring’ or ‘Compassion’. It’s just too soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Author: Daniel D'Addona

Dan D'Addona is the lead college swim writer for Swimming World. He has covered swimming at all levels since 2003, including the NCAA championships, USA nationals, Duel in the Pool and Olympic trials. He is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a graduate of Central Michigan University. He currently lives in Holland, Michigan, where he also is the Sports Editor at The Holland Sentinel.

Current Swimming World Issue

Trouble Viewing on Smart Phones, Tablets or iPads? Click Here