A Constraints-led Approach to Swim Coaching  book cover
1st Edition

A Constraints-led Approach to Swim Coaching

  • Available for pre-order on June 13, 2023. Item will ship after July 4, 2023
ISBN 9780367724788
July 4, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
272 Pages 136 B/W Illustrations

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USD $48.95

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Book Description

Motor skill acquisition and athlete development practices are rapidly evolving. Positioned at the forefront of this evolution, the constraints-led approach encourages practitioners to consider the athlete as a whole person, with unique traits, abilities, and capacities. Accordingly, an athlete’s competitive success lies in the practitioner’s ability to adapt their programming to the unique needs of each athlete and to develop an understanding of the athlete-environment relationship. A Constraints-led Approach to Swim Coaching applies contemporary motor skill acquisition and athlete development practices to swimming. This book encourages coaches to re-consider how they approach skill development in a sport that requires considerable physical training and highly efficiency movement.  It presents a framework for identifying the various constraints that determine the ability to perform at a high level.  It then offers coaches’ practical examples to navigate the manipulation of constraints to support the development  of physical capacities and the ability to effectively utilize those capacities through efficient movement. These frameworks are broadly inclusive to the global sports programming market. The book is written through a ‘conversive’ voice and is accessible to a broad audience interested in athlete development and programming such as coaches, sport scientists, support staff, athletes, and parents.  At the same time, academics, and students in the areas of sport coaching, biomechanics, motor skill acquisition, strength and conditioning, and related disciplines will find interest in the insights provided from this underrepresented niche in sports.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Searching the Landscape for a New Way

Section 1: Making Waves – An Introduction to Swimming and Constraints in Action

2. Task Design

3. Advanced Set Construction- Adding Constraints to Influence Skill

4. The Role of Language

Section 2: Manipulating Individual Constraints

5. Manipulating Physiology for Technical Development

6. Training Aids- Theoretical Considerations

7. Training Aids- Practical Applications

Section 3: Coaching Principles for Effecting Change

8. Theoretical Principles for Skill Adaptation

9. Principles For Skilled Swimming

10. A Systematic Approach to Change

11. Strategies for Increasing Variability in Practice

12. Solving Complex Movement Problems with Constraints

Section 4: Constraints in Action: Practical Examples for Coaching

13. Freestyle

14. Backstroke

15. Breastroke

16. Butterfly

17. Underwater Kicking

18. Conclusion


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Andrew Sheaff is currently an assistant swimming coach at the University of Virginia, USA. Over the past 5 years, he has helped the team achieve two national team championships and multiple individual champions, as well as break multiple NCAA and American records. Internationally, team members have represented the United States, winning Olympic and World Championship medals. Sheaff has also made coaching stops at Northwestern University, Bucknell University, and the University of Maryland, working with championship winning athletes at the conference, NCAA, and international level. Originally from Boston, MA and Philadelphia, PA, Sheaff swam collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a senior athlete of distinction.