The BETTER Lane
Getting Mental - We LOVE IT!
Want to swim better, right? Want to become more fit, right? Want to be able to swim faster? Love that wonderful feeling of having worked at a high level during a practice, the overall peace, balance and sleek fitness which swimming offers, as well as the camaraderie of teammates? How about if you have met goals at a meet or practice and are pleased with your performance?
Well, there are some roadblocks to attaining or continuing these good things. Letís take the problems, one at time, and see if we canít figure a way to overcome each. Remember, the roadblocks are within our own control.
1. Comparing ourselves to others.
If we only measure ourselves against others with different skills, experience, body types, or training habits, often we become discouraged. However, if we can progress toward our own goals, no matter what wonderful feats others can accomplish, we are still successes, not failures. Keep a record of your times, intervals, challenges and work against them.
2. Staying in the comfort zone
It is too easy to keep going along doing what we are doing, being unwilling to change how we do a stroke or to work on a different, harder stroke, or to work on doing something differently; maybe being satisfied with doing turns the way you have gotten used to, no matter if it isnít the most efficient way. There is a fear of putting more of oneís self on the line. Negative thoughts feed this. The "canít" word pops up. For example, maybe we arenít able to do the butterfly yet, but we must be willing to try the lower level skills which build toward it. Then as those become easier, move to another challenge. Think in terms of growth. Embrace those uneasy feeling and use the energy for excitement which comes with a move up to the next level.
It happens to all of us, something comes up and we tell ourselves we donít have the time to swim. Maybe we have been on a trip, maybe we have been sick or injured, maybe we convince ourselves we need extra sleep, or that itís too hard to get ready for work or a meeting after being wet, or itís too far to drive. Really easy to keep putting off our promises to ourselves to get back in the water, isnít it? Before we know it, weeks may have gone by and the pleasure and good feeling we derive from swimming regularly are now gone. We must tell ourselves, and believe it, that swim practice is a major priority and cannot be postponed. Each practice missed is a lost opportunity.
4. Training Inconsistently
Our bodies naturally resist start and stop training. Having to always play "catch up" is not fun. If you are bored with swimming, use cross training. Strongly urge FitLinxx or other dry land program or classes from the Y. The ball classes and yoga work incredibly well to enhance swimming. So even if you arenít able to be in the water, use other exercise to maintain or support your fitness.
5.Training without clear goals.
Your investment of time and energy are worth more than just floundering around. You should develop a mission or a specific measurable list of thing to be accomplished and your practice should support progress in their direction.
Ideas from Allan Goldberg article, Fitness Swimmer July/August 2000