Teaching Tuesday

Teaching Tuesday

Mental Toughness

by Megan Kingsley
and Georgia Swimming
I remember when I was 11, I was looking for a challenge in practice and I really wanted to be moved up to the next group with all the kids that were older than me. I was really successful in the group I was in, but I knew I could push myself more and do harder practices. And after some time, I got what I was asking for. However, it was a lot more than I thought I asked for.

At this point, I’m sure my old club coach is chuckling because he remembers these practices and he knew I could handle them even though I was the youngest in the group by two years. But they were extremely challenging and I struggled mentally. A part of me loved being the youngest one doing these practices, but being mentally weak caused me to not enjoy it as much and my parents could see it too. I wish when I was younger I learned how to start being more mentally tough.

What is mental toughness?

Mental toughness dictates whether we follow through we something, pushing past our normal comfort levels, entering extreme discomfort, something we usually avoid. This can decide if we do the main set the way we are supposed to do or not, for example. You have to learn how to flip the switch.

Being mentally tough starts with the decision to push yourself no matter what. To get your hand on the wall as fast as possible for every finish. To hold that hard breathing pattern. To do an extra kick off every wall. When the set gets really hard and you feel like giving up... be that person that pushes through and be tougher. The little things are the ones that end up making a big difference. While it may not sound hard to do an extra kick, or do not breathe on your first stroke, it can be a lot more challenging when you think.

Believe in yourself and push yourself further than you ever have before, because the accomplishments you can achieve are limitless, and it all starts with being mentally tough. 

Click here for an article about mental toughness shared by USA Swimming. 

Teaching Tuesday Contribution by Megan Kingsley