What sets us apart
Our team is about more than fast swimming, we are working to enhance the elements of a flourishing life among our athletes.
Every swimmer in the program from lessons to masters is provided expert coaching as they work directly with Head Coach Temujin Gold. Temujin’s coaching draws on his elite swimming career, advanced education in exercise physiology, and experience coaching with some of the best in the world. Learn more about Temujin here.
We value each athlete and the relationship we share with them. We are committed to their journey in the sport of swimming and in life.
Temujin’s Coaching Philosophy
My coaching philosophy has been molded from years of dedication to the sport of swimming, first as an athlete and now as a coach. From these experiences three elements have become foundational to that philosophy:
· An approach to coaching that simultaneously recognizes the importance of science and the uniqueness of the individual
· An appreciation for the relationships with my athletes
· An obligation to challenge my athletes to grow as people
To give my athletes every opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities, I structure my training on science, specifically the physiology of human performance. In every aspect of training, careful thought is given to the appropriate stimulus to illicit the desired response. Although there is much to be gained from a scientific approach to coaching, science doesn’t have an answer to what is most appropriate for my individual athletes. Science deals with large populations and can make useful generalities, but consideration must be given to the fact that individual human physiology is unique. I believe that taking a scientific approach while recognizing the individuality of my athletes is critical in the physical conditioning of my swimmers. However, as a coach my ambition exceeds the physical preparation of my athletes.
I consider the relationships with my swimmers to be an important part of both their athletic performance and personal growth. Philosopher Martin Buber has laid out two types of relationships, the I-it and the I-thou. The I-it relationship is centered on use, or what one can get from another. All too often this type of relationship is present between swimmers and coaches. Coaches see swimmers as points at the championship meet or as a way to look good in front of their peers. The swimmers are a means to an end. The I-thou relationship is one in which the other person is regarded as an end in themselves. I appreciate the relationships possible with my athletes and have an authentic commitment to them and their journey in life. This type of relationship not only enhances athletic development, it also makes possible a level of personal growth not otherwise possible. As Buber contends, human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships.
This existential search for meaning is a key element in the development of my athletes, as only then can they give themselves fully to their endeavors. Sport provides one of the best vehicles for deep learning because the same existential issues that confront individuals in life also confront athletes in sport. Meaning can be difficult to find when athletes recognize as they work to be the best that they can be, this goal can never be fully realized. Instead, the excellence they desire is in the striving. In their dogged pursuit they are like the character in Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus. As the story goes, Sisyphus is condemned for eternity to roll a rock to the top of a mountain only to watch it roll back down. The gods evidently believed there existed no worse fate than futile labor. However, Camus finds Sisyphus victorious at the moments when he is conscious of his fate. As Camus asserts, “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” I believe if my swimmers can find meaning in their struggle in the pool, they will be better prepared to find meaning in their lives outside of the pool.
My goal is to develop in my athletes the potential to live as fulfilled human beings. Through our shared pursuit of excellence, swimming gives me the opportunity to assist my athletes in their personal growth and bring them closer to this goal.
Age-group Coaching Philosophy
We take a long-term approach to coaching our age-group athletes that involves providing a solid foundation in fundamental skills that we progressively and systematically build upon in order to maximize the potential of each athlete. This long-term approach focuses on the physical as well as the psychological development of the athlete while simultaneously fostering a love of the sport.
The long-term physical progression of our athletes involves selecting the skills required for high level performance and creating a foundation for those skills at the age-group level. Athletes are systematically exposed to greater training stimuli as they progress but early training is focused on creating solid foundations in appropriate skills. With the appropriate selection of skills, development of solid foundations in those skills, and progression of training, athletes are physically prepared to maximize their potential in the sport.
Perhaps even more important than the physical development however, is the psychological development of the athlete. Psychologically, our focus is on fostering what Dr. Carol Dweck has termed the ‘growth mindset’ (Her book Mindset is highly recommended for our coaches as well as our parents). The growth mindset is the belief that our basic qualities are not set in stone, rather, they are things we can improve through dedication and hard work. Developing this mindset in our athletes gives them the psychological foundation to build a love of improving and the motivation to train that are necessary for them to achieve their full potential.
Finally, as part of our long-term approach to athlete development, we deliberately create a positive and fun environment in an effort to develop in our athletes a love for the sport. Understanding why athletes stay in the sport at certain ages is important to the environment we create and to the progression of the athlete. Initially their enjoyment will likely be linked to being immersed in water, being with their friends, and their relationship with the coach. As they progress we will encourage them to find joy in training, in their striving towards excellence, and in their responsibility to their teammates.
All three aspects, physical development, psychological development, and developing a love for the sport, are critical for the athlete to maximize their potential in the sport. However, our aim is bigger than that. As we systematically and progressively develop the skills of our age-group athletes, we are not only preparing them to maximize their potential in the sport, we are setting the foundations for them to maximize their potential in life… something we will address more as senior athletes in our program.
Please see our mission statement for more information.