The two-hour event took place at the conference hall of the Aquatics Palace and drew a full house. It was the first workshop held on the sidelines of the five-day national tournament. Before the start of the workshop, Doctor of Biological Sciences and interim head coach of the Russian national swimming team, Sergey Kolmogorov, encouraged the audience to join a calm and professional discussion of various aspects of a training session.
The workshop was hosted by Merited Coach of the USSR and Russia and famous expert in sports coaching, Viktor Avdienko. The host began his speech with the statement that there is no place for trifles in sports: raising an Olympic champion is a titanic effort. Avdienko said that he had no time to have a rest after the FINA World Championships and didn’t plan to read a lecture at the national championships but given that the Olympic Games are fast approaching he decided to meet with other coaches and share his experience with them.
The discussion was divided into two parts: one was dedicated to the arrangement of swimmers’ training programmes and the second one saw the participants talk about the financial support of organisations involved in athletes training.
The speaker explained that coaches can make mistakes in tactics but have no room for error in strategy. The training session should be organised in the right way and with close attention to minor details.
“What is the main goal of a coach who teaches children to swim? You probably don’t know but animals are not taught to swim: they are afraid of water. A coach first of all needs to teach a child to overcome the fear of water. If children are not afraid, one lesson is enough for them to learn to swim. If a child is afraid of water, nothing will work. A coach will need to wait when a child will let the fear go.”
According to Avdienko, successful coaching lies not in cutting-edge sports infrastructure but in coaching staff’s expertise. Plus, a comprehensive approach also implies that an entire team of specialists involved in athletes training is carefully selected and built. And all the staff need to be able to arrange training sessions and endurance exercises and should know everything about their trainees: what they eat, how fast they recover, how they rest, etc.
Avdienko also elaborated on differences between U.S. and Russian swimming. He said that the main features of the American swimming training programme are careful selection and survival of the fittest.
“At 18 these boys and girls enter university. All universities – there are about 120 of them – have swimming on their curriculum; 60 of them offer professional swimming coaching. The U.S. national swimming team includes only 50 people. The total number of athletes aged 18 to 22 is 6,000, and all of them seek a swim scholarship. Isn’t it a good impetus?”
The next workshop is scheduled to be held tomorrow and will be hosted by interim coach of the Russian national swimming team Sergey Kolmogorov. The event will see the discussion of the technology for decreasing active drag at the maximal swimming velocity.
Press Office of Executive Directorate for Sports Projects