Motivational Monday: Early in the Season, There’s Importance to Trusting the Process


Motivational Monday: Early in the Season, There’s Importance to Trusting the Process

Ah, October. There’s a chill in the air. You break out your stash of flannels and cozy sweatshirts. Green leaves turn red and orange. Stores are selling pumpkin spice-flavored everything.

For swimmers, the meaning of October goes beyond the traditional. It is in this month that we restart our internal swimming clock. October typically marks the beginning of the short-course racing season, which, for many of us, is the most important time of the year.

The beginning of the season can be mentally challenging for many swimmers. Getting back to school and training (and trying to balance both of them) isn’t an easy task. The odds of swimmers picking up right where they left off at the end of last season are low. This brings us into the topic of this week’s Motivational Monday: Trusting the Process.

Picture this: You’re at practice in late-September or early-October. You’re struggling to hit times and make intervals that you could have done in your sleep at the end of the previous season. What am I doing wrong? Why am I so slow? When will I be fast again? Will I get fast again? The intrusive thoughts that come along with this stage of the season can be deteriorating to a swimmer’s progress. When your mind is occupied with negative thoughts, the results that your body produces will most likely be negative. As Confucius once said: “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.”

In order to change the direction of our thoughts, we have to look at the season as a bigger picture. In the beginning, it’s natural to want to be hitting times that you were hitting during the previous year’s championship season. However, we have to recognize the amount of practice put into achieving those times. The odds of us being able to produce similar results with only a few weeks of training are slim. Rather than putting unreasonable expectations on ourselves, we should set attainable goals. For example, before your first meet of the season, take a look at your times from the same meet of the previous season. Instead of attempting to PR, try to beat these times. Then, you can have peace in the fact that you are ahead of where you were last year!

The beginning of the season can be a physical and mental challenge for swimmers. In order to get through those grueling first few months, we have to trust the process. Our season is a journey filled with ups and downs. The failures and difficulties that we experience are what make us better as athletes. If we never fell short of our goals, then we wouldn’t be able to experience the joy of finally reaching them. It’s as Les Brown put it: “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.”

In these next few months, it is important to slow down and remember to enjoy the process. If we take things day-by-day and work our hardest, then success will find us in the long run.

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