Coach Welfare

BSCA Coach Welfare Support Service

Swim Coaches have Welfare needs too!

This new service supports BSCA members who are facing difficulties professionally & personally and through our recognised & experienced BSCA Counsellor we aim to help them to help themselves, or simply just listen, whatever the challenges may be.
This is a service only available to BSCA members, is confidential and guarantees anonymity.

 Logged-in members can view contact details below.  

Our Counsellor Kim Mortimer can be contacted in the following ways:

Where a voicemail is left, it will be responded to as quickly as possible.

Why is this service needed?

Being a coach in the UK is considered by many to be a vocation. It is also perceived by many that to seek help & support is a sign of weakness and as a result many coaches find themselves in positions where they become isolated & alone.
Whilst there is much literature and related support for numerous members of the ‘swimming family ‘in Great Britain, there is nothing which gives requisite guidance, support & direction to swimming coaches, whether paid or voluntary.

In our sport the Club welfare officer offers support for swimmers & their families; it is the role of the BSCA to do this for coaches on the pool deck:

BSCA Coach Welfare Support – Counsellors will listen to & work with members to help them find out whether personal issues outside of the programme/club are contributing to their difficulties and/or problems.

Who will provide the service?

The BSCA are pleased to confirm that Sean Kelly, High Performance Coach at Stockport Metro SC will be the person leading on this issue, providing & co-ordinating the support.

As well as being an award winning coach, Sean is experienced in such welfare matters, is passionate not only about swimming & coaching but in simply helping people. He is currently training as a Counsellor and is involved in a number of related projects.

“Good Habits, Good Living, Good Mental Health”

What we hope also is to assist coaches to perhaps amend their lifestyles so that such difficulties don’t arise in the first place.

Therefore, within the context of this service let’s begin with some key bullet points for you personally to consider, and your ’employer’, even if you’re voluntary:

  • Have you had a full medical check-up every year for the past five years?
  • Do you have a personal fitness and health plan that you stick to and share with others?
  • Would your husband, wife, partner, assistant coach agree if you said your life was in balance?
  • Do you have more than four weeks’ annual leave stored up?
  • Do you know what your short, medium and long-term personal goals are – away from your job as a coach?


  • Coaches are notorious for putting the personal wellbeing of their athletes ahead of themselves, and hence they promote a “do as I say, not what I do” approach to their lifestyle. The shape of many of our colleagues on deck are testament to this. If we are in no fit shape to assist our athletes due to ill health, what good are we to them?
  • Due to the hours worked and the hours put in, coaches often lead a grab & go lifestyle, which can mean the diet suffers and rest is insufficient. As you would do with your athletes, keep a record of your life, what you do & when you do it; what you eat, when you sleep, how much & to what quality. Get into a pattern, so that ‘you’ can manage ‘your’ life for the better. Get the check-up organised and make the first step for a change in your lifestyle.
  • How much time do you spend with your other half, other members of your family or friends? Do you spend time away from the phone, the computer, Facebook etc. It really is important to shut down and separate your work life & your personal life. Yes, coaching’s a vocation but that doesn’t mean you become a slave to the task – you can burn out as well as your swimmers and you’ll be no better thought of for doing so. So balance the home and work life. Ask yourself if you really need to attend every minute of every coaching session or competition, or whether some work can be left with assistants, or even with the athletes themselves.
  • Annual leave is a health & safety imperative – take that time away, in the warmth of the sun, sliding down those slopes, redecorating the house, whatever it is it must not be work! If you find that you are year on year just scratching the surface of the leave you are legally entitled to, then you are not allowing yourself the recovery that you personally need.
  • Take your job or your vocation away from you and what are your personal aims in life. What would you like to do, see, visit, experience. Take the time to think this through, list the outcomes, prioritise them and place a timescale against them and how you will afford and achieve them. Find a mentor to share these aims with you and support you. Research shows goals are more successfully attained if you are accountable to someone for them.

Some thoughts and helpful hints for Employers or service users:

  • How do you monitor how your coaches carry out their duties,
  • the hours they put in,
  • is their personal appearance an issue,
  • are there clear and impartial avenues for them to raise matters through,
  • is the environment one of transparency & openness?
  • do you encourage personal development, social activities that all the family can be involved in,
  • do you encourage staff to have time off for extended periods to ensure that rest & recuperation is able to take place.

There are times when the life becomes such that the above are too little too late and you may feel that extra support is required. To cry out for help or look for assistance in such cases is not uncommon; it’s not a sign that you are weak or have failed. All sorts of people in all sorts of positions, not just coaches find themselves in a position they may not want to be and before they know it, they are turning to substitutes to deal with the stress of the issues they feel they are having to cope with alone. You may just want to talk to someone, unburden yourself on someone who is there simply to listen, someone who understands the issues and how they’ve come to be.

Such a service only available to BSCA members, is confidential and guarantees anonymity.

Our Counsellor Kim Mortimer can be contacted in the following ways:

  • on a designated number: 07845 554493
  • or via email:
    Where a voicemail is left, it will be responded to as quickly as possible.