Swimmers often write to me asking if they should quit swimming. They don’t enjoy swimming as much as they used to or they have stoped improving which makes them hate swimming. I would like to tell you a story about the greatest breaststroker of our time, Adam Peaty. In an interview he said that one sunday evening at the age of 14 he realized he wanted to quit swimming, he didn’t think he could handle the two sessions a day. His mom told him to go for one more week and if at the end he didn’t like it he could stop swimming. The next week his mom told him the same thing. I guess that this continued for a couple of weeks until he realized that some days swimming is not fun. however, there are days that make it all worth it.
Sometime we look too far into the future and feel like getting to our goal is impossible. I have said to myself in the past “How can I be that fast if I can’t even beat my best time from last year?”. I was asking the wrong question. I then asked myself “what is stopping me from being that fast?”. Then I found what is truly holding me back. Most of the time the main issue is going to practice with a bad attitude. when i went to practice with a bad attitude, I would get frustrated with any mistake and things get dark. Swimming with a bad attitude is like having foggy goggles. Your vision gets blurry, you don’t understand things correctly and you start doing things wrong.
You can’t always go to practice feeling joyful but you can prepare mentally on the way to the pool how you are going to react to the pain, the annoying swim-mate, or the coach yelling at you. You can say to yourself that today you will get faster, even if it is a little bit. You will improve your technique, you will work on one weakness of yours, or simply that you will do one more underwater kick after that last wall of the 100 meters fast pace. That is enough. If you focus on improving one small thing each practice you will feel proud.
Most of the time swimming is painful and difficult, but if you find joy in the little things and celebrate the small victories, every practice can be worth it.
Remember, prepare yourself mentally for practice and find small things to keep improving.
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Adam Peaty interview
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