June 10, 2021
An easy way to have more fun in the pool while also seeing more progression and improvement in your best times is to line up a solid mental attitude.
The way we mentally approach our swimming workouts and competition play a huge role in the way we perform in the water—whether we give up prematurely, whether we can avoid getting lost in the hype and largesse of our goals, and whether we are even enjoying and finding value in the process.
How many of the following five mental habits are you exhibiting on a daily basis in the pool?
1. BE OPTIMISTIC.
When you are willing to look at your time and effort in the pool in a positive manner you begin to truly believe that you can do significant things, that you can continue to improve, and that you can make a mark in the sport.
After all, no one ever accomplished something by believing they couldn’t do it.
2. BE A GIVER.
In today’s day and age being seen as a giver tends to be associated with weakness or softness. Being empathetic and interested in helping others succeed is seen as being soft.
If anything, it is the exact opposite.
When you are interested in seeing others succeed you not only take a leadership role, but you also summon a lot of loyalty in the process. By being the guy or gal that always cheers on their teammates, that pushes the group to bigger heights in tough workouts, provides a shoulder for a teammate after a bad race, you’ll quickly find that others will go to the wall for you as well.
Compare this with swimmers who are only ever interested in their own performances, their own thoughts, who consider themselves and their swimming to be the center of the universe. This attitude is so nuclear no one will go near ‘em, and as a result, they find themselves largely isolated when it comes to chasing success.
3. BE A DOER.
The halls of mediocrity and untapped potential are lined with swimmers who always talked about the cool stuff they wanted to achieve in the water. About how they too could headline the big meets, if only they “really wanted to.” And that how if they felt like it, they could dominate their chosen event.
In reality, it isn’t always the talented swimmer that survives the long haul. It’s the athlete who refuses to allow excuses, procrastination or circumstance dictate their effort in the water.
Be the swimmer who doesn’t wait. Who puts actions to their dreams. Who chases down their goal to the end, leaving them regret-free.
4. BE PATIENT.
Improvement is almost never a straight line. It’s more like a squiggly line, that while generally trending upwards, is dotted with various dips and drops. We tend to absorb the setbacks in training and competition rather personally—after all, they are a reflection of our preparation—and as a result cut ourselves off from discovering our true potential in the water.
While we dream of the things we hope to achieve it is easy to anticipate things going easily and always according to plan. That is the safety net of our dreams—everything goes perfectly.
You and I both know that is not how things work in real life.
There are delays, injuries, unanticipated obstructions that were unforeseeable. Remember to be patient during these rough patches, and to expect that things will be a little harder and take a little longer than our perfectly conceived dreams dictate.
5. BE STOKED ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE.
Sure, it’s great to have your eyes on the prize. Of constantly being on the hunt for something better and shinier. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t value the things you have right now, right in this moment.
When the outcome of a swim meet dictates your self-worth, you’ll find that you will never be truly satisfied.
Learn to love the grind, the day to day process, and regardless of how you swim at the end of the season you will still have found great value in the journey.