How to Become a Licensed USA Swim Coach

USA Swimming coaches are trained in safety.
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USA Swimming is the official organization for the sport of swimming in the United States. With more than 300,000 members, including athletes, enthusiasts and coaches, and 2,800 affiliated clubs, the organization plays a role in everything from neighborhood pools to the U.S. Olympic team. USA Swimming also trains and certifies professional swim coaches who are at least 18 years old. Being a certified coach is a prerequisite for most swim coaching positions and can also qualify you for coverage under USA Swimming's liability insurance coverage.

Athlete Protection Training

    USA Swimming requires all non-athlete coaches to take its Athlete Protection Training course every other year, including prior to becoming a coach. The course is available after you register with your local swim club. It covers boundary issues, teaching coaches how to appropriately work with swimmers in a position that requires physical contact. The protection course also teaches coaches how to spot the signs of a swimmer who is being abused in or out of the pool and how to help that swimmer.

Background Check

    Since 2006, USA Swimming has required all coaches to pass a criminal background check. The background check is an attempt to uncover any unsuitable criminal history, such as a record as a sex offender. The background check searches county records where the coach has lived during the previous seven to 10 years, as well as a search of national databases. A check is conducted every two years while a coach is affiliated with USA Swimming.

Safety Training Requirements

    To become a USA Swimming coach, you must have three types of safety training. Every coach must complete the Red Cross' Safety Training for Swim Coaches course, or a similar course such as lifeguard training. In addition, coaches must be certified in first aid and CPR. USA Swimming accepts courses in these areas from many different providers, including EMT certification courses.

Fundamentals of Coaching

    Finally, USA Swimming expects you to understand what it is to be a coach before it will certify you. You must have completed a Foundations of Coaching 101 course and complete Foundations of Coaching 201 before your second year as a coach. The 101 course covers the basics of coaching, including communicating with athletes, tracking growth and development, and handling practices and meets. The more advanced 201 course covers how to help swimmers succeed and the biomechanics of swimming. USA Swimming also requires you to pass its Rules and Regulations for Coaches test, which is an online test of 30 questions based on the organization's official rule book.

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