Taking it to the Next Level

A lot of people over the course of the swim season have asked me how to get better.  This is a fairly common question and one that I expect; it’s natural for people to want to improve.  Some goals may be loftier than others, like qualifying for nationals, or just trying to drop some time in an off event.  I’ll use the example of nationals, because some of my swimmers would like to qualify.  At this point in the season, their fate is already decided. It was decided last summer, whether or not they swam club.  It was decided over the fall, if they worked on the little things to fix their strokes.  It was over winter break, when they were at home, and if they decided to train or not.  Now, there are always exceptions, some swimmers are so talented that they can get away with not doing the little things, but there is a ceiling on how far ability will take you.  If an individual has no problem making nationals, then they should work on trying to place top 16, top 8, winning an event.  If, at any time, a person is complacent, he or she should consider then why they are even in the sport to begin with.  But, that’s a different topic.

Qualifying for nationals is no easy task, and requires a lot of hard work and dedication.  For most people, this doesn’t just happen.  And you can’t expect to get there just by going through the motions.  It requires perfection at the micro level.  Tight streamlines, not breathing off turns, dolphin kicks off the walls, working every set, full range of motion on weightlifting, even showing up to practice early to stretch are all components to set oneself up for success.  They involve time and effort, especially when you don’t want to do it.  It takes commitment and dedication, and always keeping your eye on the end goal.  There will be setbacks, hardships, and obstacles to overcome, but the goal of nationals needs to drive you day in and day out.

At this point in the year, you have to trust in your instincts and be confident in your hard work throughout the season.  With league meets just weeks away and nationals a little more than a month out, now is not the time to change up a game plan.  The swimming, weightlifting, and dryland put into the fall and winter are what’s going to decide how one does.  Have faith in your abilities and the effort you put in all year long.

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