Shut up and say something

suass-thumbnail1This is a story of an idiosyncratic swimming coach who undertakes a coaching position in country South Australia. As a novice coach, with equally novice swimmers, their journey goes from coming last at a State Championship to eventually being represented at National level. Heather gives insight into the world of coaching, and the many emotional highs and lows associated with this demanding profession. She does not allow her swimmers to become ‘techno robots’, adhering to the commands of the computer as many coaches do. Aware that not many swimmers become Olympians, she focused on ensuring her athletes were winners in their sport, and importantly winners in life. Outside pool training, she exposed her swimmers to activities that would make them more aware of life’s possibilities, and to think more laterally. Many controversial issues are addressed; discipline in its many forms, abusive and overprotective parents, parents and their high expectations, and management of young people under the care of the coach. Some incidents are confronting, others humorous. The responsibilities of a Coach are far reaching, and extend much further than the pool deck.