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A Welcome Message from the Head Coaches on their Philosophy of Coaching

Chief Coach (Swimming) Jim Walker

Sutton & Cheam Swimming Club has a proud tradition of excellence in both swimming and water polo and I am equally proud to lead the swimming coaching team.

I see Sutton & Cheam's swimming programmes as a partnership between the club, the coaches, the swimmers and their parents. We are one team striving towards the primary focus of encouraging each and every member to achieve his/her peak individual potential as a competitive swimmer or water polo player, whilst at the same time, developing a love of swimming and water polo as a life-long source of fitness, health and friendship.

My main target is to become the best performing club locally with swimmers achieving at County, Regional and National level. We are getting there but we still have some way to go.

I firmly believe that success for the individual breeds success for the club. My main coaching philosophy therefore is to concentrate on the individual swimmer with a clear competitive focus designed to develop fitness, skill, technical ability and stamina. The successful individual then becomes the role model that raises the standards and expectations of the next generation of swimmers.

We have a strong dedicated coaching team blending youth and experience, and I believe success will be achieved by a coordinated approach to the delivery of quality across all our training sessions.

I also believe that swimmers get out of swimming what they put into it in terms of commitment to training, regular attendance, effort and cooperation; and we will do our best to motivate and enable swimmers to progress to the highest possible level to fulfil their ambitions.

The rewards for swimmers come first in the form of success in competitions. However, there are many hidden benefits to becoming involved in swimming, other than competence in the sport itself.

The lessons of commitment and hard work, disappointment and success are lessons that positively contribute to an individual's physical and emotional development in building self-confidence, fitness, time-management skills and self-discipline that will carry over into life outside the swimming pool.

We have a strong and active Committee, all of whom are current or past parents of club swimmers; and a whole host of volunteers to whom we are indebted. We could not continue as a club without them and I would like to thank them here for their support.

Finally, we could not have achieved what we have over the years without the unflagging support of the parents who spend their evenings and weekends on poolsides or motorways. Again, your support is much appreciated and I like to think that together we can create a pleasurable learning experience, and a thriving, successful environment which will allow us to reach our goals.

Jim Walker 2014
Chief Coach (Water Polo) Dave Andrews

Water polo is a FUN but complex sport mixing the best elements of rugby, football and basketball and just adding water! It demands the development of a huge range of individual and swimming skills, whilst retaining the elements of teamwork, friendship, and sportsmanship.

Our mission as a club is to:

  • provide a positive, fun and safe environment that will encourage players to learn the sport of water polo
  • focus on enjoyment, both in training and competition
  • help players improve their skills to reach their full potential and to play at any level of the game
  • encourage lifelong participation in a fun sporting exercise
  • make long-term friendships (some of our Masters team have played together for 40+ years)
  • develop personal qualities of determination, concentration, self discipline, confidence, respect and sportsmanship
  • support sport wide initiatives to improve the sport of water polo

My coaching philosophy closely follows the ASA's Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) model, which emphasises the particular importance of core skill acquisition, swimming; and just having fun in the early years. Tactical and team play are age appropriate, becoming more relevant as players progress and ball and swimming skills develop. These are introduced progressively as players advance though the age groups and their skill set expands.

I firmly believe that core skills learned well at an early age are the foundation for water polo excellence. They will stay with you forever and will bear fruit in the future. Similarly, swimming (for both speed and stamina) is another essential core skill and we are lucky that we remain one of the few fully integrated swimming and water polo clubs. Many of our junior (and even senior) water polo players regularly compete as part of the swimming team at galas and the swimmers are encouraged to participate in water polo whilst maintaining swimming as their priority, and I am very keen for this to continue.

The junior water polo programme practices and competes throughout the year. We try hard to arrange for younger players to learn from the older players both in training and in matches; as I feel this provides a backbone of continuity throughout the club.

We Play Hard! Water Polo is a competitive sport and we play games to win. However we emphasise that winning isn't everything and hope that all players will come to understand that doing your best is more important than winning or losing. Learning to be a gracious loser and respecting referees and opponents is an extremely important part of the game. Win or lose, I encourage players to play their best and that is what matters most. Lessons can be learned more readily by losing a close game, than winning too comfortably. Always winning probably means that you aren't really being challenged!

Although team selection is always on merit, we are an inclusive club and the only criteria for selection being you are a member of the club, training hard and have the will and desire to win.

Our coaching team is entirely home grown and represents many years of experience. It believes in the philosophy that playing sports should be fun no matter what your age or ability.

We have a track record of success and since re-launching our junior program in 2000 we have had considerable success with County, Regional and International representation - culminating with our own Matt Holland participating in the 2012 London Olympics for the Great Britain Men's team.

On a personal note, water polo gave a lot to me; and this is a good way for me to give something back to the sport.

Dave Andrews 2014


© Sutton & Cheam Swimming Club, 2018