By Amy Padilla//Contributor | Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Ian Murray has always had a passion for wellness. As a college swimmer at Cleveland State University, Murray was a conference champion, a school and conference record holder, and team captain. After his swimming career concluded, Murray wanted to share his zeal for fitness with other young athletes.
Since then, Murray has coached the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins, served as the Head Age Group Coach for the Carmel Swim Club, was an assistant coach for the Carmel High School swim team, and is currently the head coach at Dynamo Swim Club.
Murray is a USA Swimming National Team coach and was named Coach of Excellence in 2015 by the American Swim Coaches Association.
Murray’s vast array of coaching experience has helped him direct his attention on physical, occupational and social wellness. Being fit in these areas has benefitted his own well-being as well as the health of his swimmers, colleagues, and family.
“When I do a good job with my physical wellness, I find I have more energy and am sharper in thought in all that I do. I can be a better coach, father and spouse when I am doing well with my physical wellness.”
He added, “It never hurts to set a good example for your athletes. By showing them it is important to you, it will help carry over to them. But because of the overall benefits I mentioned, I am also better for them on deck. I bring more energy and passion to each workout, as well as more thoughtful input for my staff and colleagues. By maintaining better physical wellness, you not only impact yourself, but also those around you in a positive way.”
“I feel we should all be lifelong learners. There are always ways to better yourself professionally and personally. You must find balance in the satisfaction of progress with the desire for continual improvement,” Murray said.
“I do think having a degree in a field related to coaching is helpful, but in my experience, most coaches to do not have that type of formal education. Being willing to learn and be humble enough to know when I am wrong have been essential skills in my success. Coaches need to be students of not only the sport of swimming, but of sport in general.”
He added, “So much can be learned from other coaches within swimming, but an equal amount can be learned from studying team dynamics in ball sports or physiological approaches in cycling or speed skating. We must remember that we are coaching people and training systems.”
“I begin my day with a few different blogs I subscribe to (Seth Godin, Tim Elmore, Dan Rockwell, etc). I also try to use my commute time wisely and call friends/colleagues to see what they are up to. One of the greatest strengths we have in our sport is the willingness of coaches to share information.”
“As a head coach of a large organization, it is healthy for me to have great relationships with my staff, but equally important that I have healthy social outlet away from the pool. It helps me to think of swimming as my passion but not my life.”
Murray continued, “We spend a lot of our time with athletes in their teens or younger. While it is crucial to have good relationships with your athletes, it is important to keep those relationships healthy and ensure you have a social group away from work. As I mentioned, swimming is my passion but not my life. By taking off my coaching hat when I leave the pool, I am better able to wear the hat of father, husband, or friend.”