Thomas Wierman Cohill
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people wont’ feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s on everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Inspirational author, lecturer, and spiritual teacher
I believe sports and athletics are a wonderful way for all of us to stay strong in spirit, mind and body. Swimming is one of the very few athletic pursuits which allow lifelong opportunities for both fitness and competition. This, coupled with the individual pursuit of a goal, while being part of a team, separates swimming from other athletic endeavors. Often times swimming is looked at as an individual sport, but without the support of teammates, coaches, and parents, the intensity needed to improve through the years is very difficult to sustain on a daily basis.
As a coach I want to see the athletes I work with attain their goals. But a goal must be set before pursued. The choice of a goal takes time and is a delicate balance. The goal has to be important enough to the athlete to help motivate them on a daily basis, even in the face of considerable stress and distraction.
At the end of the day, athletes’ have only one person to answer to, and that is themselves. I can write a workout, I can push the swimmer, but in the end, the athlete is the only one who can answer whether he or she has pushed as hard as is possible at practice. Everyday the athlete is responsible for the effort put in.
The beauty of swimming is the concrete way the sport is measured: time. I always caution athletes and parents to not solely focus on the time. However, if an athlete is not achieving best times or at least matching their best times at points through the season there could be reasons for the pause in progress. Lack of intensity or reaching a plateau signals a need for a change in workout.
The important thing to realize is that there are many tangible benefits to being on a team. Learning to work with others, helping younger swimmers grow, and being a leader are just a few that come to mind. In the long run, sports are not very important, but the lessons one can learn from participation are. Commitment on a daily basis, hard work at practice, and supporting teammates, while they do the same, are the important things we learn from athletic pursuits.