May 4, 2021
In every swimmer's career, there comes a time when practices or meets may not be going as well as the athlete would like. This adversity, no matter how long it lasts, can take a toll on an athlete's mental health and self-esteem. Many of the fastest swimmers in the world have opened up about their struggles both in and out of the water over the past few years, so it is not uncommon to experience difficulty even in the sport we all love.
When dealing with adversity, it is important to remember that it is only temporary, and mindset is everything. Leaning on teammates, staying around positive people, focusing on little victories, and focusing on the things that you can control is crucial.
Here are some other tips for dealing with adversity:
- Start journaling
- Journaling can help athletes keep track of their progress with how they're feeling, but also allow a safe space to just write out all of their thoughts to keep for themselves
- Stay consistent with a routine
- Be grateful for everything you have
- When an athlete focuses on what they have and what they're thankful for, it decreases anxiety and allows for a more positive outlook
- Look for the good
- A positive outlook is everything
- Give your best effort always
- Your best effort may look different depending on the day, but give 100% of whatever you have each practice, dryland, lift, etc
- Control the controllables
While this is not an exhaustive list of what you can do, just remember to lean on those that will be supportive to you and help you through difficult times. Teammates, coaches, siblings, and parents are all great resources to be support systems, so utilize all the resources that you can. It is strong to ask for help and we should all remember that everyone goes through challenging times. Athletes come out stronger and resilient through these trials.
For more information on how to handle adversity, check out these resources:
- SwimSwam: 7 Tips for How Swimmers Can Handle Adversity
- SwimSwam: Mike Bottom on Handling Adversity
- Athletics Weekly: Supporting Young Athletes, Overcoming Adversity
- Changing the Game Project: "Make Failure Your Fuel"