From Olivier Leroy
It's not technique.
Not your coach.
Not the pool you train in.
It's your willingness to embrace the daily struggle of improvement
in the water.
Resilience Matters (Big Time)
Improvement happens at the point where we meet
Its that descending interval that we just barely have enough time
to gasp a quick breath before pushing off again.
The final few reps of the set where we are supposed to hold on for
dear life to race pace.
Its showing up for early morning practice at 5 in the morning in
the dead of winter.
It's showing up even when there is no guarantee that things will
Resistance and struggle is a fundamental and unavoidable
component of getting better.
Just as critical as your bathing suit, if not more so.
After all, your ability to meet struggle head on dictates whether
you get better or get the same.
Here are a few ideas for how incorporate some more resilience in yo
1. Resistance = Opportunity
When things get hard we tend to start thinking about the bad stuff
that *might*--but rarely ever doeshappen.
If we come up short we fear that we wont be able to recover from
it. Or that our teammates will make fun of us if we dont swim fast
enough. Or that people will judge or care.
As a result of allowing others to dictate how much effort we put
towards our goals we often end up apologizing for
the goals we have in the pool.
Instead of viewing those moments in terms of fearful outcomes
("What will my teammates think of me if I fail?") reframe it as
an opportunity for growth("How
will this challenge make me a better swimmer?").
2. Improvement requires struggle.
Struggle is inherently struggley.
Not always very pretty.
And so we avoid it.
Nobody likes having a hard time with something. Not being good at a
drill, stroke, or being a bad kicker isnt outwardly
For a lack of a better word, it kinda stinks.
But its a necessary price of getting
better. Its a fundamental part of
Its a cycle that you should be familiar with: you want to do
something, you struggle to learn it, and you eventually master
Whether its a drill, an interval, a new groupthe process is the
Sure, it would be nice if we could get better at something without
having to be uncomfortable or be stretched.
It would be fun to skip the second step in the little improvement
But thats wishful thinking. Understand and remember that struggle
is essential to getting faster in the water.
3. Greet struggley moments.
One of my favorite reader-submitted questions was from a young
swimmer who was stressed out because she had just gotten leveled-up
a group, and now she was the slowest athlete in the
I countered that this was a blessingbeing surrounded by faster
swimmers would only encourage her to become a better swimmer if she
chose to welcome the challenge.
When we actively go out of our way to challenge ourselves we are
repeatedly inflicting stressors that encourage improvement and
increases the limits of what we think is possible.
Resilience is a defining character trait of
Its what separates the swimmer who has a bad swim at the beginning
of the meet and allows it to ruin their whole weekend from the
athlete who bounces and back and crushes a best time later that
Its what convinces one swimmer to keep working hard at the end of a
really hard set while the next one succumbs to thoughts of doubt
and gives up.
Resilience is something we learn from experience.
Some swimmers may appear like they are naturally mentally tough,
but there is experience and choices theyve made that are
backstopping that confidence and trust in themselves.
In other words&
Its something you should be continually seeking out.
To Sum Up&
I get it--hard work is, well, hard.
It's filled with moments of self-doubt, of setbacks, of moments
where you feel like your best efforts are going
But if you are serious about wanting to get better in the pool,
regardless of how ambitious you are with your goals, you need to
open yourself up to those moments of discomfort and
It's exactly there--in the chasm between what you know you can do
and you think you can do that improvement and faster swimming is
See you in the water,
P.S. Resilience, mental toughness, whatever we wanna call it, is
absolutely crucial to success both in the pool and in
The ability to meet challenges head on, to be willing to persevere
through trying periods of training (and life), is what will dictate
how successful you become in whatever you endeavor.
Chapter 7 in the "Dominate the Pool" eBook is all
about mental toughness.
Why its so important&
How it works&
And more critically&
How you can get your chlorinated hands some more of
The "Dominate the Pool" eBook76 pages of mental training
awesomenesscomes for free with
every order of YourSwimBook.