WYC 013 Youth Swimming – Kent Julian – Swim it Forward

Kent Julian picWhat does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Kent Julian shares coaching stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth coach.

Kent is a motivational speaker and founder of ‘Live it Forward’ and ‘Speak it Forward’ businesses. He has coached competitive youth swimming for 13 years. He is married and has three children, an 18 year-old son and twin 16 year-old daughters.

Twitter: @KentJulian

Facebook: facebook.com/kentjulian

Website: liveitforward.com

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Coaching/Leadership Quote

▪   ‘What you believe in is evidenced by how you live not by what you say’

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How do I Coach when I’m not the Expert?

▪   ‘I hired to my weakness’ – Kent was great at the organizational side of coaching – then he intentionally hired an assistant coach who was an expert at teaching the technical aspects of swimming

▪   Research – spend some time watching videos and learning

Coaching your own Kid

▪   ‘I have pushed them to be the best they can be, but kept everything in perspective so we can all love the experience and have a great time’


▪   Having parents participate in a relay race at their last meet of the year – kids go nuts cheering for their parents

My ‘Cringe’ Moment

▪   Kent is an expressive person and a few times early in his career he showed his emotion the wrong way – so he has learned that about himself and has to be self-disciplined to not repeat those mistakes. He did not make excuses for his behavior and immediately apologized to the athlete and the parents: ‘When you make a mistake – RUN at the mistake and genuinely seek forgiveness.’

Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun

HUGE IDEA #1: The Pigeon Game: You start telling a story, when the kids hear ‘Pigeon’- they race to the other side. You make it fun by trying to fake them out, i.e.: ‘there was a boy name PETER who really liked PICKLES…’ You could use this for jumping offsides in football, or in any sport just to make conditioning fun while increasing the child’s focus.

Coaching Resources

▪   DVD series: Total Immersion Swimming


▪   Take control early on – If you start out trying to be everyone’s friend – the kids will take advantage of you. Be kind and nice, but be firm.

Reward, Recognition, and Teambuilding

▪   ‘Swimmer of the week’ – awarded to kid with best attitude

▪   ‘Most improved swimmer of the week’

▪   Kent and his coaches’ goal for each meet: Talk to each swimmer before one of their five events and encourage them

▪   They also gave beads for the kid to wear if they won their heat in any event

▪   Speed-breaker award(weekly): anyone who achieved their best time in an event gets award

Inspiring Story

HUGE IDEA #2 – Kent shared story of baseball coach when he was growing up – the coach only valued the talented players and tore down Kent. He contrasted that with his 7th grade basketball coach who poured into his life and was a hero to Kent. HE REMEMBERS BOTH 40 YEARS LATER.

Coaching/Leadership Motivation

▪   Book: Wooden on Leadership

▪   Quote: ‘What you believe in is evidenced by how you live not by what you say’

Parting Advice

▪   Big is little and little is big – the little technical corrections often make the biggest difference

▪   Coach individuals according to how they are wired

Live it Forward

▪   Goal: to empower people to ‘Show up and Shine’ in the most important areas of their lives. Includes career coaching, working with direct sales people, keynote speaking, working with career and technology student organizations.

▪   Also teaches others to teach these skills: Speak it Forward

Interview Links/ Promotional Partners

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