Kelly Wynns



How many times do you say “Can’t”?  To most people, it is a very prominent word in our vocabulary.  When we have swim practice, I hear Coach Al saying that “can’t” is a dirty word.  This is so true because by saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that wall that some people build around their emotions even bigger.


Can’t is a terrible word and it needs to be taken out of your vocabulary.


When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I have to say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you just don’t want to do it.  But saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.  With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is you.  So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.   From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially your result. How you approach an opportunity such as a set in practice, an event at a meet, diving for the first time, etc., and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your mom or dad, or your coach or your friend.  It is YOUR result.

If you enter swim practice with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire to all your teammates.  Other people can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

Now imagine you enter swim practice with a positive attitude, then whatever happens in practice is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we are not always going to be the fastest at practice or come in first at a meet,  but even if the outcome is being last in your lane or coming in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc., your attitude and the way you deal with it can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course, you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — the way you conduct yourself, your energy,  and the reason why things go so well,  because you are able to maintain a positive attitude and character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.  Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.  Change your attitude and I guarantee the results will change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. One thing we need to try to remove from ourselves is fear — fear of a bad swim, fear of changing your stroke, fear of failure, fear of losing a race, the fear that makes us worry and not want to try.  Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy and you will see steady improvement, not only in your swimming, but in school and home life as well.

Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and act. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will grow after embracing these facts. You will not be so upset when you do not get the results that you want in swimming right away,  instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the idea of it seems too big. We skip the small steps in our head that we have focused on in practice and only focus on the result.  We don’t realize that our coach would not have given us the challenge if they didn’t think we could handle it.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word affect your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.  You might even surprise yourself.

Now you know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin the habit of removing “can’t” from your vocabulary, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.