Swimming 101 Pre-Course Workbook

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Welcome to the online pre-course workbook for Swimming 101.

As you complete the questions in this online form, our system is building a final workbook document in the background.   Once all questions have been completed, you will be able to download the final workbook document in PDF format, and a copy will be emailed to you.

You will be asked to upload the final workbook file when registering for your Swimming 101 course.    We recommend printing the workbook and bringing it to your Swimming 101 course.

If you wish to save your progress as you complete the online form, use the Save my progress and resume later link provided at the top and bottom of each page.   You will be asked to provide an email and password.  Simply return back to the online form and use the resume a previously saved form to continue with the form from where you left off.    

As a backup, an email will be sent to you so you can easily access your password and link to the partially completed form at a later time.  

If all else fails, you are always welcome to contact our Coordinator, NCCP for help - nccp@swimming.ca

Tell us about yourself

Note: This information is required by the Coaching Association of Canada to track your NCCP activity.

Additional Information

About the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)

What is the NCCP?

Being a coach takes passion and dedication. Being a great coach, however, often requires additional guidance and support. The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) was developed by CAC (Coaching Association of Canada) and its partners to give coaches that extra advantage. The program targets 67 different sports, in both official languages, and is the recognized standard for coach training and certification in Canada.

NCCP workshops are designed to meet the needs of all types of coaches, from the first-time community coach to the head coach of a national team. Each year, more than 50,000 coaches take an NCCP workshop. Since the program began, more than 1 million coaches have participated, making it one of the largest adult education programs in Canada.

The NCCP is comprised of three streams and a total of eight “contexts”, each with its own coaching requirements. Each sport is responsible for identifying how many of the eight contexts are relevant to their sport. As part of the program, all coaches (regardless of sport or context) are trained in ethical decision-making and sport safety.

For additional information on the NCCP, click here

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why am I required to complete this workbook?

A: The pre-course workbook introduces key topic areas covered in the Swimming 101 course. The information and resources in the workbook, if implemented by you as a coach, will improve your coaching effectiveness.

Q: What happens when I submit this online workbook?

A: You will be asked to download a document containing your responses to this online workbook.   The document is PDF format.  To view this document, you must have Adobe Reader - this is available for free at http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/

Q: What do I do with the PDF document once I have completed the workbook?

A: SAVE the document somewhere you will be able to retrieve it.  You will need to upload the document when you register for the Swimming 101 course.  It is also recommended that you bring a printed copy with you to the Swimming 101 Course.

Q: Where do I find a list of upcoming courses?

A: A current list of approved courses - NCCP Course List

Q: How do I register for a Swimming 101 course?

A: To register for a Swimming 101 course, go to the NCCP Course List and click on the Register link.

Q: If I have questions, who do I contact?

A: For more information on the NCCP program, please visit:



Your Provincial Swimming Office

Coordinator, NCCP – Carol Vadeika – nccp@swimming.ca

Your Coaching Role

Tell us about your coaching situation and the responsibilities you have in your coaching role.  Throughout this workbook and the Swimming 101 course, be sure to relate your answers and activities to your own coaching situation.

Coaching Code of Ethics

Coaches play a vital role in the long term personal and physical development of the swimmers they work with.   This section will explore the Coaching Association of Canada Code of Ethics.

The NCCP Code of Ethics deals with the fundamental values of safety, responsible coaching, engaging in relations with integrity, respecting athletes, and honouring sport. These values are expressed as 5 core ethical principles.

1. Physical safety and health of athletes
2. Coaching responsibly
3. Integrity in relations with others
4. Respect of athletes
5. Honouring sport

A description of each principle and some implications for coaches is provided.

Physical safety and health of athletes
  • Ensure that training or competition site is safe at all times
  • Be prepared to act quickly and appropriately in case of emergency
  • Avoid placing athletes in situations presenting unnecessary risk or that are beyond their level
  • Strive to preserve the present and future health and well-being of athletes
Coaching responsibly
  • Make wise use of the authority of the position and make decisions in the interest of athletes
  • Foster self-esteem among athletes
  • Avoid deriving personal advantage for a situation or decision
  • Know one’s limitations in terms of knowledge and skills when making decisions, giving instructions or taking action
  • Honour commitments, word given, and agreed objectives
  • Maintain confidentiality and privacy of personal information and use it appropriately
Integrity in relations with others
  • Avoid situations that may affect objectivity or impartiality of coaching duties
  • Abstain from all behaviours considered to be harassment or inappropriate relations with an athlete
  • Always ensure decisions are taken equitably
Respect of athletes
  • Ensure that everyone is treated equally, regardless of athletic potential, race, sex, language, religion, or age
  • Preserve the dignity of each person in interacting with others
  • Respect the principles, rules, and policies in force
Honouring sport
  • Strictly observe and ensure observance of all regulations
  • Aim to compete fairly
  • Maintain dignity in all circumstances and exercise self-control
  • Respect officials and accept their decisions without questioning their integrity


Creating the right conditions for success is an important aspect of coaching at all levels.

What are the 'right' conditions? The list is long to be sure, but safety should be found at the top.

NCCP "Do No Harm" Principle

"It is a coach's duty above all to ensure that the decisions he or she makes and the actions he or she takes do not result in harm, physical or other to athletes. It therefore follows that in a moral dilemma, physical safety or the health of athletes is the overriding concern."

When in doubt, think about the Do No Harm Principle.

Ask yourself....

  • How can I keep my swimmers healthy, safe, and able to get the maximum benefit from my swim program?
  • How can I keep myself in good standing with my club? And above all, out of legal hot water?
  • Your first step is to become pro-active regarding safety...it's called PREVENTION.
Responsible Coaching
  • Act in the best interest of the athlete's development as a whole person;
  • Recognize the power inherent in the position of coach;
  • Be aware of their personal values and how these affect their practice as coaches;
  • Acknowledge the limitations of their discipline;
  • Accept the responsibility to work with other coaches and professionals in sport
Planning for Safety

NCCP DocumentBefore proceeding to the questions in this safety section, please review the NCCP resource, Planning for Safety.

Managing Safety Risk in Coaching

In the Planning for Safety resource provided on the previous page, several potential risk factors were identified, along with preventative measures that should be taken by a coach to manage the risks involved.

It is now time to consider your own coaching environment.

My coaching environment

Identify three potential safety risks in your primary training facility.  

For each risk factor, indicate the measures you will take to minimize the potential for your swimmers to be exposed to the safety risk.

Risk Factor 1

Risk Factor 2

Risk Factor 3

Long Term Swimmer Development

Over the course of a swimmer's career, research on childhood development tells us that there are significant 'windows of optimal trainability' where the training stimulus provided has the maximum impact on the swimmer's physiology. We also know that there are building blocks upon which technical and psychological skills must be built, all of which have optimal timing based on each swimmer's stage of development.

Review the Long Term Swimmer Development overview and complete the task that follows.   

Download the Long Term Swimmer Development document

Swimming Principles

Understanding some basic principles of how the human body interacts with water will help you teach your swimmers to move through the water more efficiently.



For the purpose of this course, consider these buoyancy principles;

  1. Body Type: body composition affects buoyancy
  2. Balance: achieving a horizontal position without any effort (struggle)


For the purpose of this course, consider these resistance principles;

1. Form: resistance caused by the shape of an object as it moves through the water.

2. Wave: resistance caused by water turbulence; either from an outside source or by that generated by the swimmer

3. Friction: resistance caused by the texture of the swimmer's surface as they move through the water.


For the purpose of this course, consider these buoyancy principles;

1. Action–Reaction: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

2. Inertia: The tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest and a body in motion to stay in motion.

3. Acceleration: The speed of a body depends on how much force is applied to it and the direction the force comes from.

Welcoming a Disabled Swimmer

Prior to completing this task, review the resource Coaching Athletes with a Disability. You will be directed to review page 7-8 relating to this task, but feel free to browse through this excellent resource.

Download Coaching Athletes with a Disability resource.

This activity contains three scenarions - CHOOSE ONE and respond to the questions that follow:

SCENARIO - A new swimmer joins your group
Jenny - Wheelchair

Jenny wheels by the head guard on deck and at a good pace! Before the guard can say "slow down", the impetuous 13-year old parks herself beside your swimmers on deck at your nightly meet and greet talk. As her father finally catches up, Jenny has introduced herself and stated she is ready to resume her swimming career that was interrupted by her current situation.

Brandon - Blind swimmer

One day a blind swimmer, Brandon, arrives on your deck with his mom. He is 12 and lets you know that he is totally pumped about exploring his potential in this great sport of swimming.


Viviane used to swim, but was forced to retire over 20 years ago because of shoulder injuries. An avid runner, she has developed arthritis, and cannot run any longer. She is hoping to get back in the water in order to keep fit, but she is concerned about the lack of mobility and some pain in her shoulder.

James - One arm

Out of the boys change room strolls a 10-year old with his swim bag in his right and only hand. James locates you and zeros in on you with a big smile on his face. He tells you that you can call him James and that he just watched the Paralympics on YouTube and that he is ready! With his arm outstretched he proclaims, "When do we start, coach?"


Review the three welcoming steps outlined in the Coaching Athletes with a Disability resource (pg. 7);

   1. Welcoming the swimmer to your program
   2. Finding out more about the disability
   3. Assessing fitness, coordination, and skill level

Teaching and Learning

As a coach, you must be able to teach the correct technical and training skills required for successful swimming.

You must be innovative and find ways to have each of your athletes learn, refine, and master the swimming skills.

Mastered skills at all stages of a swimmer's development gives a swimmer the best chance for success.

Teaching and Learning Styles

If you think of your life experience, you will recognize that there are many ways to teach and learn the same subject.

Some skills are better taught verbally, whereas others might require a visual or kinesthetic demonstration.

As a coach, you must recognize these methods and use what is most appropriate and effective for your swimmers.


Visual coachingGive demonstrations to assist in developing skills and explaining activities to your swimmers. Use visual aids such as videos and images while coaching.


Auditory coachingTalk your swimmers through the steps necessary to obtain a skill or complete an activity.   Encourage your swimmers to think out loud and listen to what they are saying.


Kinesthetic coachingCoach your swimmers through movement. This allows them to experience what the proper stroke or technique feels like. Use manipulative teaching aids to develop proper movements.

"If the learner hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught." Howard Firby, 1975

Before proceeding, please read the teaching and learning research reviews found below;

Teaching underwater butterfly kick

Click here for video if you do not see it below.

Click here for video if you do not see it below.

Develop three strategies to teach underwater butterfly kick to your swimmers.  For each strategy, focus on one of the teaching and learning styles auditory, visual, or kinesthetic.

Be descriptive with your explanation and provide key points as to how you will teach the skill using each teaching and learning style.

Analyzing Technique - Descriptions and Metaphors

As a coach of entry level swimmers, teaching mastery of correct technique is vital. The habits your swimmers learn in their early years will stick with them through their careers.

Trying to fix any significant stroke error later in their careers can be an extremely challenging process and one that takes away from enhancing their strengths.

For this introductory course, a simple process to break down a skill into described parts is provided.

When describing the parts you see, you will be asked to provide your own teacher/coach description, as well as some examples of the types of descriptions you would use with your swimmers.

The pictures below show 5 different parts of the freestyle stroke. These parts are based on a model called BLABT.

  • Body Postition
  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Breathing
  • Timing

To effectively teach these important parts of a stroke to your swimmers, you will need to:

  • Know what they should look like when performed correctly, and
  • Use creative instruction techniques, such as metaphors, to describe how to correctly perform the skill

Review the pictures and complete the task below each one.

Body Position

Body Position









Analyzing Technique - Detecting and Correcting Errors

Watch the video below and then complete the questions that follow.

Can't see the video?  http://youtu.be/t1E37GoUhy0

Detecting Technique Errors

Stroke Rules

Refer to this link Swimming Canada rules.

For this task, focus on the stroke rules specifically related to the butterfly stroke.

Plan a Practice

In this final section, you are asked to provide a sample practice you would give to the swimmers you coach.   Some reference materials from your Swimming 101 course are provided for review;

Download and review practice planning resource.

Submit Form

The Coaching Association of Canada requires contact information for all coaches in the NCCP database.   Please complete the fields below before submitting your pre-course workbook.



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