Sunday January 24 2016

Powers challenges local swimming coaches to embrace new ideas

By Makhtum Muziransa

KAMPALA. American facilitator Richard Powers, currently on his fifth visit to Uganda, has urged local coaches to embrace new ideas if they are to continue to positively influence the development of swimmers in the country.
Powers was speaking at Olympia Hostel - Makerere, where he conducted a Fina Level Two coaching course, focusing stroke technique, from January 8-16. He is currently concluding a 10-days private coaching clinic with swimmers from Silverfin Academy and Dolphins Swim Club.

“As a country, you still have a long way to go. There is resistance to embracing new ideas and some coaches look at foreign trainers as a threat instead of using this as an opportunity to get more knowledge,” said Powers, who conducted a level one course - focusing on physical preparation of swimmers - last year, where he certified 61 coaches.

However, the American trainer has found it easy to relate with swimmers; “because they easily listen to instructions that can make them swim faster.” His worry though is; “can the coaches keep the kids on pressure to do what they just learnt? It takes months and years to change the technique of a swimmer,” he advises.
In Uganda, coaching swimmers, especially in schools, is more of a business than athletes’ development venture.
Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) has therefore found it difficult, in a country where we have no regulations, to bring most pool owners and schools under their umbrella.

“A coach should teach about 10 swimmers learning how to swim and maybe 20 elite swimmers. But schools and these coaches don’t want that, you’ll find one handling 100 swimmers at a go.”