Level 1 Coach Certification Reading Assignment
The following information, including the links and attachments, must be read and studied before attending the classroom session of the Level 1 coach certification. The Level 1 test, which is given during the classroom session, includes questions from this information, but it might not be covered during the classroom session.
PART 1: Introduction to U.S. Masters Swimming
- We value HEALTH AND FITNESS, constantly challenging ourselves to achieve in competition and in accomplishing our own goals.
- We value RESPECT for our teammates, competitors, coaches, employees, and volunteers.
- We value FUN, enjoying camaraderie with our fellow swimmers and embracing swimming as a joyful and satisfying avocation.
- We value LEARNING through coaching, programs, and communication.
- We value EXCELLENCE in safety, education, innovation, performance, leadership, and the provision of services and programs.
Code of Conduct
Importance of U.S. Masters Swimming Annual Membership
Role of a U.S. Masters Swimming Coach
What Is an LMSC?
What Is the Difference Between a Club, a Workout Group and a Regional Club?
- Swim clubs are groups of Masters swimmers organized for the purpose of training, fitness, and enjoyment of swimming. Members may work out in one or more pool facilities, usually under the direction of a coach.
- A workout group is a subset of a regional club. More than likely, a regional club has individual programs swimming in several pool locations. Workout groups help define who swims where within the LMSC. Some LMSCs host pool championships where the workout groups all compete against each other.
- An example of a regional club is New England Masters. The New England LMSC region encompasses the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts. There are many local Masters workout groups located throughout New England in the various states and then there is the regional club NEM. NEM has members from all over this region registered either directly as a member of NEM or registered as a member of one of the many workout groups under New England Masters.
USMS Gold Club Designation
USMS Gold Clubs set the standard for providing members with the best Masters Swimming experience possible. This starts with a dedicated, USMS-certified coach on deck. On-deck coaches help swimmers reach their goals by providing technique instruction, structured workouts, encouragement, and ample opportunity to participate in both fun and fitness-based events and competitive events if desired.
Gold Clubs are identified in the USMS Club Finder with priority placement and insignia to let members and potential members know that your club is ready to help them meet their swimming goals. Other benefits include additional marketing support from the National Office, discounts on education courses, and full insurance coverage for USMS approved activities.
Benefits and Responsibilities of USMS Gold Clubs
Benefits of becoming a USMS Gold Club include the following:
- Gold Club insignia for display on club’s website or Facebook page
- Priority placement in the USMS Club Finder and Gold Club insignia
- Google ads created for your club
- 20 percent off USMS education courses, including coach and ALTS certification
- Full insurance coverage for club, coach, and all swimmers for all approved activities
To achieve and maintain an annual Gold Club designation, a club must meet the following:
- Require USMS membership
- Offer a free trial (from 1 workout to 30 days) to potential members
- Have a USMS-certified coach
- Provide accurate club information for your USMS Club Finder listing
- Display USMS logo with registration link on the club's website and/or Facebook page
- Participate in Try Masters Swimming Week
- Participate in one Fitness Series event
Obtaining Gold Club Designation
If your club meets these requirements and you'd like it to be identified as a USMS Gold Club, ask your club contact to update your club information with USMS.
What if I'm not sure I can meet one or more of these requirements, but I want my club to be a Gold Club?
If you’re not sure you meet the requirements or have questions about how to meet them, please email club and coach services or call 941-256-8767 for assistance.
Note: This designation is for registered USMS programs that are providing service at a local pool or dedicated open water venue.
PART 2: Basic Business Practices
- YMCA, JCC, or other membership-based centers
- Private health clubs
- Park and recreation facilities
- University campuses including college club teams
- School district facilities
- Age group club partnerships
- Retirement communities
- Wellness centers
Forms of Communication
- A brief description of what your program offers. An example might be, “We offer an aquatic fitness program for adults who choose to swim as a form of exercise to live a healthier lifestyle. We welcome adult swimmers with all ability levels to participate in our positive and uplifting environment helping you meet the needs of your swimming goals. We make swimming FUN!” Consider including the USMS promotional videos on your website to attract more swimmers and triathletes.
- Practice times and location.
- Program fees and registration instructions.
- Coach(es) biography.
- Calendar of events: fitness events, swim meets, clinics, and social and volunteer activities.
- News articles, pictures, and videos.
- Links to usms.org and your LMSC's website.
- Flyers and brochures at your pool, surrounding pools, and local retail merchants.
- Have a presence at local age group swim meets, triathlons, and community health fairs.
- Contact the health editor of your local newspaper or magazine. They may have an interest in publishing a human interest story related to your program.
- Consider speaking about the health benefits of swimming and the value your Masters program brings to the community at local service organizations’ meetings or events. These local service organizations may include the Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Lions Club, The American Legion, Masonic Temple, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Another speaking opportunity may be at the faith-based organizations in your community.
USMS Marketing Resources
PART 3: Safety and Risk Management
Factors to Consider
- Are the chemical levels or the water quality safe for swimming?
- Who is responsible for clearing the pool or canceling an open water practice if weather conditions are unsafe?
- Safe lane etiquette should be practiced to reduce contact and collisions. This includes the restricted use of equipment, such as hand paddles, when deemed a contact hazard.
- Are they set correctly?
- No diving in shallow water or when lanes are occupied.
- Currents, waves, wind, water quality, and presence of marine life must be evaluated for safety.
Don't Take Dangerous Risks
Don't Practice Medicine Without a License
U.S. Masters Swimming Insurance Coverage
PART 4: Diversity and Equality
Diversity is human differences that include, but aren’t limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.
Diversity, overall, is important because our organization, parent clubs and workout groups increasingly consist of individuals with various cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. We can learn from one another, but first we must have a level of understanding about each other in order to facilitate collaboration and cooperation.
Valuing diversity recognizes differences between people and acknowledges that these differences are an asset to our programs. Multicultural education is an important component of valuing diversity. It respects diversity while teaching all coaches and members to become welcoming participants of a democracy.
Equality and diversity are becoming more important in all aspects of our lives and sport for a number of reasons. U.S. Masters Swimming believes that successful implementation of equality and diversity ensures that colleagues, staff, coaches, members, volunteers, and athletes are valued, treated fairly, and are encouraged to succeed. To be clear, increasing and maintaining the numbers of underrepresented individuals in our sport is necessary, but it is not nearly sufficient. We must maintain a culture that supports the retention and success of underrepresented members across all boundaries. The benefits of such an inclusive culture apply to all USMS members and to society at large. When diversity and inclusiveness are prominent in our clubs, we all benefit. Our competencies in understanding and embracing diversity are more and more important as our communities become more diverse.
Diverse groups and diversity of thought produce a myriad of positive outcomes, including more innovative solutions to complex problems, more productive collaborations, and richer coaching experiences.
America has become a racially diverse nation with more than 59 million immigrants arriving in the U.S. over the past 50 years alone. According to the Pew Research Center, by 2055, the U.S. is projected to not have a single racial or ethnic majority.
National Origin/Cultural Diversity
With the influx of immigrants to the U.S. from all parts of the world, they bring a mix of cultures. Cultures are how groups of people congregate and share their way of being part of a community with like-minded individuals. Often, they share common beliefs and customs. Just like teaching or coaching swimmers, there is not only one “right way” to do something. Embracing cultures other than our own should be an accepted practice within our Masters programs.
Gender is a term to reference how an individual recognizes themselves as a female, male, combination of both, or neither. Gender identity does not need to match the sex identity, which is a classification based on biological makeup. Transgender is a classification or identity for someone whose self-identified gender does not match their biologically assigned sex.
One of your athletes may have been born with the build to be a natural backstroker, but for some reason doesn’t identify as a backstroker or like swimming on their back. Just because someone looks like they should be something doesn’t mean they feel the same.
Sexual Orientation Diversity
Sexual orientation is how a person may feel toward another person in a sexual way. It should not be confused with gender identity, which is more self-centric and about your inner self-feelings.
Sexual orientations are classified as groups of individuals who have attractions in a sexual nature to genders that may be the same or different than theirs, a combination of both or none at all.
Social Class Diversity
Socioeconomic status is a characterization derived from a combination of education, income, and occupation.
Social equity has been challenged in recent years through increasing income inequality. The widening gap between rich and poor contributes to economic segregation among regions and neighborhoods and has a direct impact in all sports. The potential for positive change lies in the willingness of coaches to advance social equity through a variety of ways. Coached activities should be inclusive and provide multiple modes of engagement creating pathways for achievement in an environment of accessibility and face-to-face time with the individuals.
Physical Ability or Attribute (Health Disparities) Diversity
Everyone has strengths and challenges. A person's ability is the resource to perform well at something. A person's disability is the limit or challenge he or she faces. A disability does not mean that a person is not able to perform a task or do a job. It only means that they face certain limitations or challenges.
Most Masters coaches work with athletes exhibiting different levels of swimming skills and endurance. Many work with adaptive or non-traditional athletes. A positive and creative approach to design workout plans adaptable for all levels will create and maintain a positive environment where the similarities and differences of individuals are valued, so that all can reach their potential and maximize their contributions to the group/team goals and objectives. This practice ensures that all members have the opportunity to maximize their potential and enhance their self-esteem.
Religious or Ethical Value System Diversity
Religious and ethics are teachings and practices of what might be interpreted as right or wrong, good or bad, virtuous or vicious, from a religious point of view. The definition of “religion” is controversial. A definition favored by the U.S. Supreme Court is that religions are traditions that are anything like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism.
Many different spiritual perspectives shape American society and the global swimming community whom we as coaches serve; therefore, we must be prepared to understand and relate with them in a respectful manner. Genuine respect is more than just tolerance. Respect for diversity should extend to genuine appreciation for diversity and to a competent response to the diverse backgrounds and situations of team members.
The right to engage in religion goes together with the right of not engaging in religion. Thus, religious and nonreligious people have the responsibility to respect those who differ from them and promote the common good of the program, society, and world.
Therefore, our approach in these subjects should be respectful about such contentious issues and dilemmas.
Political Belief Diversity
Swimmers may bring their political beliefs to the pool. Political beliefs don’t make someone a better swimmer. Coaches should strive to make the swimming environment as politically neutral as possible. Political issues and debates are better left out of swim practice environment, and the coach must find ways to respectfully quiet swimmers prone to engage in political conversations during the workout.
Adult swimmers bring all their experiences, goals, opinions, emotions, and external influences to the pool and it is thereby important for every Masters coach to be flexible, knowledgeable, organized, and empathetic while maintaining proper decorum for the benefit of everyone.