In nearly 30 years as head swim coach at the University of Michigan, Jim Richardson develop a powerhouse. Much of that success came from one thing: asking questions. On this week GAINcast we sit down with coach Richardson and hear how asking question led him to become a better coach, to rethink the athletic development of his athletes, to reduce injuries, and more.
Highlights and Quotes
Coach Richardson began his career as a club and YMCA coach back in the 1970s before working his way up to head swimming coach at the University of Michigan in 1985. In 27 season with Michigan the Wolverines had unparalleled success in the Big Ten Conference, while also achieving several firsts on the national level. His athletes captured 162 NCAA All-America honors and his teams finished in the top 10 of the NCAA 17 times, including multiple podium finishes and a USA Swimming Women’s National Championship in 1995. The women’s team also won an amazing 12 consecutive Big 10 titles from 1987-98. More recently he has worked for Fritz Seyferth & Associates as a leadership consultant, specializing in leadership coaching and team building.
In this podcast we discussed a variety of topics relevant to sports beyond swimming. Here are some highlights:
- 3:30 – How coach Richardson got to know Vern.
- 7:30 – Learning some of the differences between training men and women.
- 10:00 – A case study in reducing shoulder injuries through integrating rather than isolating joints
- 14:00 – How does core training relate to performance and efficiency: “The core is like the foundation of a house. Without a good foundation you cannot go very high. ” In addition, a stable core helps you find balance that otherwise requires energy from the extremities that should be used for propulsion.
- 21:00 – Lessons for the business world from coaching. “Purpose is just some words on the wall unless you live it. ” And don’t discount the soft topics: “It may just be the soft stuff, but the soft stuff moves the needle on the hard stuff. “
- 24:30 – Ask more and tell less. “Don’t be the lawyer: ask questions for which you have no answer. “
- 28:00 – What’s the future of coaching?
- 33:30 – How experience in youth sports can make you a better coach.
To hear more about this topic you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- You can learn more about Richardson’s work in leadership consulting on the webpage of Fritz Seyferth & Associates.
- We have had several swim coaches on the GAINcast over the last year including Chris Webb of T2 Aquatics on GAINcast 66, the Carmel Swim Club staff on GAINcast 52, and University of Tennessee coach Matt Kredich on GAINcast 29. Swimming athletic development coach Nick Folker was also a guest on Episode 53 of the HMMR Podcast.