Athletes are always trying to find ways to improve their game and meet their goals. Some find that eating healthier helps, while others practice longer and in new ways. And some athletes use private coaches to help them succeed. CoachUp helps athletes of all ages in more than 35 different sports find private coaches who work near them. The service, for which Steph Curry is an ambassador, has helped connect more than 20,000 coaches with more than 200,000 athletes.
I am a swimmer, and I had a CoachUp session with Raminta Dvariskyte, or Coach Rami. She is a former Olympic swimmer, as well as a world and European championship participant. She is originally from Lithuania, where she specialized in the breaststroke. She still holds the Lithuanian record in the 200-yard breaststroke. She first began to swim when she was six years old, and she began to swim competitively at age 10.
“I started swimming at school...I really liked swimming and I liked the pool, so I asked my mom to enroll me in swimming,” she said. Dvariskyte eventually moved to the United States and swam at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Even when she was swimming in college, she gave private lessons. When she got injured, she wanted a way to still be close to the sport, so she continued to coach. When she moved to Los Angeles, California, she didn’t have as many connections as she did in college, so she joined CoachUp.
I began my session with Coach Rami by doing a 200 freestyle as a warm-up, and a 50 of each stroke, so she could evaluate my technique before we got into any drills. She chose the strokes and what parts of each of them I needed to work on to be the focus of the session.
After explaining what I needed to improve on, she led me through some drills and exercises that targeted my weaknesses. She gave me thorough instructions and answered any questions that I had about technique. She was positive and encouraging throughout the entire lesson, while still telling me what areas of my technique that I could adjust and improve upon.
According to Dvariskyte, there are benefits to using private lessons and training sessions. “When you are in a big team, you try to keep up. You try to do whatever is given. Sometimes, not all the things you give for 40 people works for every one of the 40 people,” she explained.
And how is a private session different? “The coach tries to adjust it and gives 100 percent to you, not to the other 39 people...you get private attention, whatever should work for your body, not for Mike’s or whomever else,” she further explained. Some students sign up for a single session, while others benefit from ongoing sessions.
My experience with Coach Rami was informative and helpful. I still apply what I learned when I go to swim practice.
Photographs by Sarah Liu