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Q & A with Rockingham Head Coach Will Scott

2 December 2019

Holly and Will
F-Teamer Holly Barratt and Coach Will Scott in Chain Reaction

Ask any elite athlete whom they credit for their success and most will agree that they wouldn't be where they are without the guidance and dedication of their coach. Coaches are the first to hit the pool deck at the crack of dawn with swimmers every day. They are there for every hard training session and experience the ups and downs with their swimmers throughout the season. F-Teamer Holly Barratt had a late entry into the Australian Dolphin Swim Team and became the oldest Australian Dolphin rookie at 29 years old. Holly has continued to improve and drop times year after year since making her debut on the Australian Dolphin Team under the watchful eye of her coach, and boyfriend, Will Scott. Will has had experience coaching many Australian level athletes such as now-retired Australian Dolphin Tommy Sucipto. We had a chance to ask Will some questions about his coaching career and how he gets the best performance from his athletes.

When did you start coaching?

After finishing 6 years of university I needed a job so I started coaching at the end of 2010.

When did you start coaching at Rockingham and how did Rockingham grow under your guidance?

I started coaching at Rockingham in October 2013. In terms of the members, I think the club was very proactive in getting the word out about the arrival of a new head coach. They were very supportive of everything I wanted to try and achieve, and they had great relationships with the council and the facility. The club continued to grow with the help of existing coaches and I was lucky to have Stacey Harper join the coaching team.

What service providers does your coaching team rely on to help your athletes get the most out of themselves?

We have a specialist strength and conditioning coach, a bio-mechanist, a psychologist and nutritionist as well as personal excellence specialists who help with work/study/sport balance. The WAIS (Western Australian Institute of Sport) team is very dedicated to helping the athletes succeed and our squad uses all of them regularly.

Will and Holly
Holly and Will at a recent high-altitude training camp in Arizona, USA

How do you keep your athletes motivated when they are struggling?

I think small rewards and experiences along the way help with motivation because elite swimming is so demanding. Like any elite sport, it needs to be broken up with things like travel for camps and comps, downtime with their friends and family and the squad too, and just anything which breaks up the routine at the right time.

Best tip for young athletes wanting to become elite athletes?

There's no avoiding hard work and the best athletes find their way to succeed.

What surprises you most about coaching elite athletes?

How much the psychological aspects of both training and racing affect performance. We asked F-Teamer Holly Barratt a few questions about her coach too...

What makes Will different to other coaches?

Will is similar to other coaches in some ways and different in other ways, but the reason I like training with him is he is always wanting to learn about how to be a better coach and work with different swimmers. He is willing to learn from other coaches and swimmers from Australia and around the world which makes him review his own program and make it the best it can be. He also works with each of the swimmers in the squad as if they are a team, not just him telling them what to do - we work together.

What is the most important trait of a high-performance coach?

I think it is a coach's ability to work as a team with their athletes. Elite athletes are passionate about what they are doing and want to be there and succeed, they're not kids being told to go swimming after school even if they might not want to. So, the best elite coaches don't just tell the swimmers what to do, instead they work with them as a team and let the athlete have input and give feedback.

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