Change Your Mindset: Make Every Practice Your Best Practice

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Change Your Mindset: Make Every Practice Your Best Practice

By Sadie Jones, Swimming World Intern

An important lesson all swimmers have to learn is how to change their mindset to see every practice as an opportunity to be their best practice. Oftentimes, practice can be dreaded. Waking up before the sun rises to race to the pool or having to get in the water after a long day of school or work can be the last thing you want to do as an athlete. Instead of seeing practice as something you “have to do,” see it as something you “get the opportunity to do.” As an athlete, you are very fortunate to do what you love and to better yourself every chance you get. Here are some tips to attain a more positive mindset and to make every practice your best practice. 

Be Prepared 

The first step to success is being on time. Get to the pool with a few minutes to spare to mentally prepare yourself for what is ahead. Use this time to start thinking about what you want to get out of the swim and to get your body ready to do that. Stretch, look at the warmup and pump yourself up for a good practice. 

Set One Small Goal 

Thinking of the practice as an opportunity provides a lot of space to set new goals and achieve them. As you are getting ready to jump in the pool or during your warmup, take a moment to set one small goal for yourself. Some examples of this could be: Focusing on your streamline off of every wall and doing a certain amount of butterfly kicks; sticking to a certain breathing pattern; or committing to yourself that you will not stop during the set. Even if might seem little or insignificant, getting in the practice of setting a single goal every time you get in the pool encourages you to set even bigger goals as you go along and motivates you to achieve them. 

Keep the Future in Mind 

As you start setting smaller goals and as important meets approach, you will begin to think bigger. Looking forward to the future every time you get in the pool helps prepare you for what is to come and helps you figure out what you need to be working on. Do not let meets sneak up on you because you are not thinking ahead. Use your time wisely to better yourself as an athlete. It will pay off in the end. 

Get Uncomfortable 

In my time as a swimmer, I have heard many coaches say the words, “If you are not uncomfortable at least one time during every practice, you are not working hard enough.” While in the moment this statement might be hard to digest, pushing yourself a bit harder every day will eventually help you reach every goal you set. Some ways you can make yourself a little more uncomfortable are by taking one less breath every 25, racing the person in the lane next to you, or picking a specific part of the set to attack. Get uncomfortable now so when the time comes and you actually have to race, you feel a lot more comfortable. 

It can be difficult to remember to do all of these things all of the time and sometimes athletes have bad days, but keeping these tips in the back of your head will benefit you exponentially in and out of the water. Use every practice as an opportunity to be the best version of yourself.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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