We are all unique in our own ways, and our approach to teaching should be evolving. Imagine if all swim teams that nurture creativity in athletes through instructions that are personalised and customised for them, where they could prosper. Our teaching strategies should be differentiated, flexible, and modified to be effective because of our Individual Differences. This allows us to have maximal efficiency from our athletes and students.
Each person's uniqueness is a function, relatively stable and enduring characteristics...
the hidden talent
I believe in all athletes; unfortunately, in my career, I've witnessed some teachers and coaches refusing to believe in their athletes, not encouraging them to be better, and even some coaches laughing at their skills as they couldn't perform them like "swimmers".
I wanted to prove that these people have got it wrong! To be successful you must be unique and you should have unique challenges... and as a coach you must be able to have the ability to find unique solutions to these challenges.
According to some coaches perspective, one should not spend too much time with the non-talented and athletes with no swimming potential.
Mostly, these swimmers are your "HIDDEN TALENT", the gem of the team. Mostly, these swimmers are "ADDICTED TO SWIMMING", they are your biggest "SUPPORTERS", and these are your athletes that "TRAIN THE HARDEST". But, they are also rare, shy, quiet, won't ask many questions, and try to avoid performing certain skills or moves.
I did my best to learn how I can empower and promote these athletes. I wanted to implement a genuine athlete-centred approach that actually works for the athlete. Everyone can prescribe instructions or get a better athlete to demonstrate.
I think, it's all about developing strategies, teaching models and unique learning experiences for everyone.
UNLEASHING THE HIDDEN TALENT THROUGH
Once you identify the hidden talent in your team, you must UNLEASH THAT HIDDEN TALENT. EMPOWERING your hidden talent is about finding unique ways of helping each individual the best possible way and creating a model that helps them.
SKILL TRANSFER MEANS LEARNING ONE SKILL BY PRACTISING SOME OTHER SKILL.
Instead of the constant instructional method, we have to find;
unique approaches to learning
creative teaching techniques
utilising each individuals uniqueness.
Skill transfer encompasses a large realm of teaching techniques, and some are:
Identify the skill that you need to work on
Think about ideas that you can do outside the water
Strategise the activity
Implement and reflect
NON-SWIMMING RELATED SKILLS (NSRS)
The non-Swimming Related Skills (NSRS) model could help them learn the skill that we have been trying to achieve in water for so many weeks/months.
When we practised NSRS, students felt; relaxed, had less monotony, focused more, and learned the skill we were trying to achieve in the water without even knowing. In fact, this method has been so successful that we have used it many times.
Visually NSRS would look like this:
COMMUNICATION WITH ATHLETES
Personally, the feedback I get from my swimmers is imperative. It allows me to be reflective, modify my approach (if needed), become more diverse, and as a result, allows me to provide EQUAL opportunities for all.
As an educator and a coach, I like my athletes to "have a voice", regardless of their age or ability; their thoughts, ideas and feedback are of utmost value.
Like a domino effect, we create a new culture, inquiry-based environment, bettering representation of your athletes and their experiences.
I am not saying that the above chart is the only way to implement a best practice "skill transfer" approach but what I am saying is, this works!
Unlock their hidden talents and create leaders of tomorrow!
Why not enhance each swimmers' experience? Most importantly, add value to your team and create lifelong learners who are addicted to learning and swimming.