A Coach of Coaches – David Speechley (ASCTA)

A Coach of Coaches – David Speechly (ASCTA)

David Speechley has gathered a wealth of knowledge from over 40 years in the sports industry, primarily in the area of aquatics. He is now General Manager of the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association a not for profit industry association for swimming and water safety Teachers and swimming Coaches with over 6,000 members and which has trained and accredited over 18,000 people in the last 4 years and manages an industry insurance scheme, a specialist shop and delivers professional development around Australia and in 22 countries.

Can you tell us a bit more about your time spent as a swimming coach and the work you have put into ASCTA?

The short story is I started coaching in the days before the National Coach Accreditation Scheme existed so I commenced as a 14-year-old teaching swimming after an approach by my coach.

I then supplemented this by pedaling a push bike door to door teaching swimming in backyard pools in the western suburbs of Brisbane. I had my first employee at 17 years of age and by the time I was 30, employed 54 staff with 3 centres, 9 clubs and 18 schools as well as teaching in 100’s of back yard pools.

Having this level of business meant I had to become good at administration. I also become involved in advocacy for swimming and water safety after rescuing someone from the surf in the 1976 and then began lecturing when the National Coach Accreditation Scheme commenced in 1980.

I have had many opportunities in the aquatics industry and now chair a world-wide committee on international equivalency, have written and edited numerous courses, books and articles and am involved in all facets of the industry from womb to tomb!

What makes a good swimming coach?

A very complex question that is really simple to respond to in the end. Empathy with your athlete! This embodies the Coach’s knowledge, skill and judgment combined with effective communication with their athlete (and their support network especially parents or partner).

How important is the mental approach to sport?

A former mentor of mine said performance is 80% brains and 20% Braun. We remember:
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
80% of what we say
90% of what we say and do


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