Jodi is absolutely the perfect trisupporter.  She helps Guy with his workouts whenever she can, which gave her the idea for  “The Art of….” Trilogy.  We will kick off with the Art of Posing As His Swim Coach and follow up with The Art of Driving the Sag Wagon and The Art of Being a One-Person Multi-Aid Station.  With Jodi’s ability to amuse AND inform, we’re in for a treat.  If you haven’t read her, The Triathlon Spectator’s Training Program, you really should.  It has become our second most read and shared post.  Enjoy the first installment…..

Looking the part with clipboard and stopwatch in hand....

Looking the part with clipboard and stopwatch in hand….

Ok, so you’re not really his swim coach, but you can totally pull it off easier than you may think!  “Why?” you ask would you want to do that??   Well . . . it gives you a chance to spend more time together, it is actually helpful to your triathlete, and it’s FUN to boot. .or should I say “to fin!” (sorry – couldn’t resist the lame punJ)

Here’s the scoop on how to be a successful Poser . . .

Step #1  – DRESS THE PART.. T-shirts work well, especially ones from races or with swim company logos such as TYR, Speedo, Aquasphere, etc.  Even polo shirts are acceptable and if they have a school or athletic company icon, that’s even better!  As far as bottoms go, shorts are best, but Active wear pants or jeans are good too.  For essential authentic coach-like footwear – None!  Just roll up your pants and go!  But, if going bare-toed makes you squeamish, then water-friendly sandals, clogs, or sneakers work, too.  Basically, it’s all about blending in . . . even in winter you’ve got to wear layers that you can peel off to reveal the “coach uniform” underneath.  You don’t want to be that “one of these things is not like the other” person at the pool.

Step #2  – HAIR…. Yep, that’s right, hair matters.  Did you ever see a swim coach sporting an up-do bouffant?  NO.  Keep it simple.  If you have short hair- you’re pretty much good to go.  If you’ve got long locks, then pony tail it.  At the very least, keep it pulled back and away from your face.  Remember, you are playing an active role, so look the part!

Jodi being tri support mom in Las Vegas....

Hair pulled back and ready with their gear…..

Step #3 – SUPPLIES....  It’s a short shopping list – only 2 things needed – Stopwatch and Clipboard.  If you get nothing else right or listen to nothing else I tell you – THESE are the KEY to looking authentic.  These are the critical props you need to sell yourself as someone important at a pool.  With a stopwatch dangling around your neck and a clipboard propped on your hip – no one is going to mess with you!  Trust me.  There is something powerful and authoritative about just wielding a clipboard that makes people think you’re in charge and know what you’re doing!  Oh, and a pen is useful, too if you actually want to record some of your swimmer’s stats.

Step #4 – ACTION WITH ATTITUDE…. Okay, here is where you can really cement the illusion of swim coach.  It’s all in the vocal volume and confident pacing up and down the lanes that will make them believe!  Using your swimmer’s prescribed workout (as dictated and written by their REAL coach), you will shout out their send offs and give them their splits.  You’ve gotta be loud.  Remember – they’ve got a swim cap on and ears full of water, let alone the ambient roar of pool jets and motors, the incessant buzzing of industrial lighting, and the obvious splashing of other swimmers.  Plus, giving clearly audible send offs and time splits adds to your credibility and mystic.

Everyone will want to know just “Who is this?  She must be in charge!” Don’t be surprised when people come up and ask you what lane they are allowed to swim in; if you would critique their swim stroke; if they can join the adult swim team practice; or how much you charge per workout/hr!  Don’t be perturbed.  These questions are all signs that you have succeeded as a poser.

So there you have it – The 4 Steps To Swim Coach Posing.  Try it!  You’ll find all sorts of benefits for you and your athlete.  Your swimmer may just start begging you to come to the pool as his “coach”.   I mean who wants to do the timing math on a 60 second pool clock that is either peeking out from behind the swim meet flags or heavens or the only clock is a portable floor model with a scratched and foggy plexi face cover that the guy in lane 1 is using and you’re in lane 5.

Unless your swimmer has chugged too much pool water, they are going to be grateful for someone with an unrestricted O2 intake to keep track of the timing and the workout when their heads are full of water and operating in an O2 deficit.  On the selfish side, your athlete is less likely to have to share a lane when the pool is crowded if others perceive you as someone important and are intimidated by having a personal coach poolside.

If you are really channeling the coach-thing and keeping track of the times on your clipboard, your swimmer even has his results to reference and analyze later when his head is clear post swim.  But, it’s not all about him….Yes, this is one of those rare moments when it’s about you too!   You’re included and a viable part of adding value to the workout and training AND helping to reach a goal together.  But, more than that.  Let’s face it . . . there is a whole lot of enjoyment about being able to boss them around barking send offs and such . . . and they WANT you to!

So, clutch those clipboards, turn up that vocal volume, enjoy the time together, and embrace the POWER!