The Key to Becoming a Better Swimmer

The Key to Becoming a Better Swimmer

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog, Dr. John Mullen, Psychology Leave a Comment

 Attention All Swimmers

“Most of our tension and frustration comes from our compulsive need to act as if we were someone we are not”

Hans Selye (1956)

There are swimmers who are afraid of looking in the mirror. They are afraid of uncertainty and of failure, or even the thought of failure. This feeling holds them like a deer in headlights.

If you begin to feel stressed and unhappy because you are no longer posting the times you were expecting because you hardly have time to train like before.  If you used to be a champion breaststroke swimmer and now everyone seems to overtake you, or for reasons of a similar sort – don’t be afraid to look back.

Deal with the situation and remember how you began: the first day your parents took you to the swimming pool, the first competition when you felt the medal was within your grasp, or the first trip with the team when you enjoyed yourself so much.

Do you remember?

I’m sure you think that everything was easier and different then – and perhaps you’re right: every time you dove into the water you improved your personal best by a few seconds, sometimes even minutes; you were eager to receive the warmth of your parents; you were proud of your medal. Now, though, is really difficult for you to improve by just one-tenth of a second.

Look at it another way. The best part of all this is that now you know a lot more than you did before; over time you have acquired more experience and that makes you much more valuable. Above all, do not forget that you are doing what you like, what gives meaning to your life and fulfills you completely.

Learn to value what you have and who you are

Be grateful for the way you live, for your qualities, your successes and your difficulties, the support of your family and friends in the good times and in the bad, and even the freedom of being able to decide and to do what interests you most; and the possibility of channeling the rest of your life in the direction that you really like.

Can you be luckier?

Forge the path you certainly deserve; analyze and explore your feelings; find the reasons why things happen as they do. Perhaps during your sporting career, you have specialized in only one style and your skills are blocked. You are afraid of changing your specialty and of trying out new feelings through fear, lack of courage or simply because of the strong pressure that other people’s opinions have on you: because of what people will say.

What other people think is other people’s business

You don’t have to make anyone happy any more, and you certainly don’t need to be a hero. You don’t have to ask for permission to go your own way, let alone be afraid of not being accepted and of going against a majority that at times punishes talent and demands absolute mediocrity and strict adherence to the path that has been set out.

Don’t let anyone destroy your dreams!

Don’t play up to those who shamelessly judge your skills and at the slightest setback put obstacles in your way to derail your intentions. It is only a case of anger and resentment that acts like a virus and punishes mercilessly those at the receiving end. It reflects their frustrations, puts into relief their shortcomings and depicts clearly their intentions. Don’t worry, many people are sure to like the way you are, what you do and how you do it – although the most important thing is that you should like it yourself and be clear about where you are heading with your goals.

“Dare to be yourself: you will discover that when people find themselves they put an end to all their miseries”

Hans Selye (1956)

Written by Agustín Artiles (“Champi”). Agustín has more than 35 years of experience as the Head Coach of some of the most important Spanish swimming teams He has been the Coach of the Spanish Swimming Team from 2008 to 2012, and has trained the 50 breaststroke Spanish national recordman, Hector Monteagudo Espinosa, from 2002 to 2013 Agustín has also trained several international swimmers from the Spanish National Team and from the European and world top ten, as well as paraolimpics athletes with medals and world records in all the different categories. He has also been accomplished with the award as the Best competition swimming coach in Spain 2006, as several recognition for professional merits.

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