The biggest obstacle standing in the way of your success in swimming is the way you think about swimming. Here are 5 tips to help you get your mind right.
When you change the way you think about swimming I 100% guarantee you, you will get faster!
1. Accept Your Starting Point
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
– Arthur Ashe
I wish I had learned to handstand when I was a kid. I’m sure you wish you already knew how to swim well, or swim as well as someone else you know. But we didn’t and you can’t (yet).
No doubt you have goals that you would like to achieve, we all do. If you are anything like me those goals are lofty and ambitious. Maybe you want to be a sub 30 minute 70.30 swimmer? Maybe you want to break 2.00/100m. Maybe you just want to make it through your first Triathlon without drowning!
Whatever the goal, the truth is you won’t get there until you accept where you are now. You won’t break 2.00/100m until you’ve swum 2.20/100m or 2.10/100m first.
Most of us want desperately to shortcut the process that will get us to those goals. We want to go from 2.30/100m to 1.30/100m in a week.
But forcing yourself to do things that your body is not ready to do isn’t going to get you there any faster. In fact it’s more likely to make you want to quit or to get you injured.
Regardless of where you wish you were or how good you could have been if you had started earlier, accept where you’re are now. Then build progressively forward from there.
2. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle
We assume that swimmers who can swim have always known how to swim. We see someone swimming fast and instantly believe they are a “natural”. That’s an assumption that’s seldom right.
Swimming is a skill. A skill that no one is born with. Anyone that knows how to swim and is comfortable in the water has done so through practice and hours and hours of exposure to the water. Maybe that practice and exposure happened when they were younger, but just as plausible is that it has happened over the last 6 month or year.
3. It’s all about experience
Your beliefs about swimming come from your experience in the water. If you’ve just started out in the sport, chances are you haven’t spent enough time swimming to form useful beliefs. So you believe something that’s not necessarily true.
Picture it: you get hit in the face by some water and you don’t get a good breath in. Then it starts:
“Oh my gosh, I’m out of breath, I have to stop, I’m not going to finish the swim, I’ll miss my goal time, this race/practice is a failure, what are people going to think about me, I’m a failure!”
Theses thoughts define your experience with the water. If you have nothing else to compare it to, it’s true for you. You simply haven’t spent enough time in the water to know better.
By spending more time in it you will begin to see your swimming differently.
What I see with my clients (more than the time they drop and their improved stroke mechanics) is the increase in confidence about swimming and their ability to swim – and that only comes from experience.
4. Success is fun
Everyone is motivated to do the things we enjoy doing. The things we enjoy doing are also the things we are good at. They are the things that bring us recognition from our friends, our families and the people that we respect in our lives.
If I asked you right now to do something crazy like balance on a tight rope or do a front flip off a 10m diving board, chances are you’d fall flat on your face and you’re unlikely to want to try it again. Tight rope walking is a skill, diving is a skill, swimming is a skill too.
The thing with skills is that it can be learned and mastered. What you’ll discover is that as you get better at a skill you begin to enjoy it more.
As you enjoy it more you do it more.
As you do it more you get noticed and recognized for your mastery of the skill.
And when people start recognizing how good you have become at swimming, all of a sudden your motivation to swim is never a problem again!
5. Figure out why you want it
Simon Sinek talks about knowing your why and how important it is to your success.
When workouts get tough, when you get tired and want to give up or take shortcuts, your why will keep you going. If you have a good enough reason to want to succeed in swimming, you’ll push through the tough times and you’ll find your success. Find your why.
Email me your WHY.
I love hearing about why people got into Triathlon (especially when they couldn’t swim at all before they started the sport!). So what’s your reason for doing triathlons? For trying to master the swim? Send me a message and let me know!