3 Keys to Success: A Senior’s Advice

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Photo Courtesy: Eve Sarris

By Emma Schoettmer, Swimming World College Intern

Students everywhere have either completed or are in the process of completing their first week of school. It’s that time of year again when we begin anew something that (for many of us) has been a part of our lives for almost our entire lives. As student-athletes, whether you are in high school or college, starting off on the right foot is going to be a key to success over the next semester, year, and season.

1. Where do I start? Ah, Focus.

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Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Pepper

One of the keys to success is focus. For the most part, we tend to lose our focus as the season gets difficult or midterm exams approach. There is absolutely NO REASON for this to happen. That is why it is important to start the year off running (not necessarily physically, but I guess that can work too). You want to be ahead of the game, in the classroom, in the pool, and in your personal life.

To do this, you need to show up to class on time (that means be there early), grab a seat in the front and interact with your professors. Stay on top of your workload (yes, that does include readings).

At practice, again, show up early, have your game face on and bring that competitive edge with you. It’s never too early to compete with your teammates and it’s never too early to start building that encouraging environment.

Finally, realize that your social life isn’t going to be your top priority. Yes, it is important to relax and let loose every once in awhile, but don’t overdo it. Stay on top of your diet, and find the right eating habits (remember, everyone is going to be different). Get to bed early. Sleep is going to be your number one friend once those morning practices creep into the schedule.

2. Building Momentum, Finding Drive

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Photo Courtesy: Bonnie Brandon

Your second key to success is going to be your drive. What gets you going? Where is your heart? How do you like to compete, in the classroom or in the pool? Finding your drive is going to help your overall performance in and out of the pool. Take the time to learn about yourself and your training style. Talk to your coaches and teammates to develop a game plan for your season. Meet with professors to work out how you can better express yourself through your schoolwork.

3. Stepping Stone Goals 

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Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics

One subcategory under drive is goal setting. It is important to learn how to set goals, both long-term and short-term in order to build up to something BIG. Having a goal will help you set standards for yourself that will add fuel to your inner fire that will ultimately accelerate you towards success. Long-term goals will likely look towards the end of season, the end of your academic career and beyond.

I have set long-term goals for myself which have been developing since I was in high school, and I am now a senior in college. Specifically, I am striving for a national championship title and success at the Olympic Trials. Academically, I am looking to graduate and continue on to graduate school.

Short-term goals will focus on the now. These can be simple technique goals for a single practice or goals you have that will help you leading into your taper meet. Goals can be anything you want them to be and they don’t need to be broadcasted to the world. Goals can be made with a team, a coach, or a friend.

Remember, success is something that you make for yourself. It is your choice to set yourself up for greatness. All it takes is your will to take the first step. My keys to success aren’t set in stone. We are all different and we all have our own methods, but I hope these basic steps will help lead you toward your best year yet!