Using expertise from swimming’s top coaches, Scottish Swimming launched the SS Connect programme to give coaches of all levels the opportunity to upskill and learn from each other.
Reaching out to over 200 coaches through a series of more than 60 online workshops, Scottish Swimming developed and shared content to support learning, communication and enjoyment.
It was important to create the right learning environment, despite the fact that nobody was together in person. By encouraging and building in time for questions and conversation and working with coaches to develop content, the programme strengthened the connections between coaches from the children’s development, age group, performance development and high-performance domains.
Alan Lynn, Scottish Swimming’s national coach who designed and directed the programme, admits this would have been unlikely to happen without lockdown.
Alan said: “It gave us an opportunity to facilitate connections and learning that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. Coming together online meant the time commitment was manageable.
"Without travel or the need to miss training, it was possible to have a significant number of people with an incredible depth of experience together in one virtual room.
“It has accelerated our learning of what can be done digitally and thanks to the fact that coaches embraced the opportunity to use digital channels for their development, we are in a strong position to advance even more as a coaching community.”
The SS Connect programme was made up of online webinars and interactive videos, with content ranging from broad coaching topics including coach/athlete relationships through to specific technical sessions such as coaching butterfly for youth swimmers. The programme proved incredibly popular, attracting over 100 attendees to a single session!
Demonstrating that different sports can collaborate effectively to develop coaches and coaching, the programme also involved inputs from experts across the Scottish sporting system, including rugby, paddlesport and sailing, bringing different perspectives and experiences that added to the already rich content from their own sport.
Another benefit of this digital approach was the opportunity to tap into a wider range of guests from other locations including other parts of the UK and a particular highlight was the coaching female athletes session led by the UCLA Women’s Swimming head coach, Jordan Wolfrum, all the way from California.
Looking to the future, Scottish Swimming intend to continue using digital channels to create more opportunities for coaches across different specialisms to learn collaboratively.
As the SS Connect sessions were recorded, the programme has created an incredible legacy in the digital library that is now available to support the Scottish Swimming coaching network.
Find out more
Visit the Scottish Swimming website for further information about the SS Connect programme.