Motivational Monday: Happy Swimmers Are Fast Swimmers; 3 Ways to Find Joy in the Sport

Kaylee McKeown smile W200BK Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming NSW)

It is no question that swimming is a tough sport. It is very time consuming, and balancing academics with athletic responsibilities can be challenging. In addition to swimming being a major part of one’s life, it can be physically and mentally taxing. Swimming requires the use every muscle in the body without breathing freely. With regard to the mental side of things, this sport requires athletes to train year-round without many breaks. Even taking one day off can set swimmers back days in their training. With the pressure of training consistently and the pressure to improve, many swimmers can fall into emotional imbalance. So how can we as swimmers continue to find joy throughout our athletic journeys, and how does happiness affect performance in the sport?

Control Your Inner Voice

We all have a voice inside our heads at all times, including practice and competition. It tells you how much fun your having, how bored you are, or how much a set hurts. This voice can help lift your head up or bring you down. All athletes know that we can control how we respond to that voice, but it is important to keep in mind that we control the voice itself.

Positive self-talk can boost your confidence and belief in your abilities. When you reinforce positive thoughts in your mind, you’re more likely to approach challenges with a can-do attitude and perform with self-assurance. Additionally, managing your inner dialog helps you stay focused on the task at hand, and effective self-talk can help you bounce back from setbacks and failures and reinforce your goals.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

Being part of a team is arguably one of the best and most important things about the sport of swimming. Camaraderie has the ability to play a vital role in improving athletic performance. By working together with your teammates, you can access a range of benefits that can help you become a better athlete and achieve greater success.

The social aspect of team sports can add an element of fun and enjoyment to your athletic pursuits. This positive environment can reduce stress and enhance your overall well-being. Next, teammates also support each other in times of victory and defeat. The team can be your support system, and this encouragement can boost morale and create an uplifting atmosphere. Lastly, being part of a team gives you a sense of purpose and a role within the group. Knowing that your contributions matter and that you have a place within the team can enhance your self-esteem.

Remember to Breathe

The sport of swimming does not wait. As previously stated, swimmers are constantly training in an effort to improve their performances and reach their goals. It is difficult to find a good time to take a break, and when there is an opportune moment, chances are it will be hard to get back into the swing of things.

However, it does not go to say that you should never let yourself rest from swimming. In fact, sometimes a break is what you need in order to keep going. It is all right to take a step back and breathe when times get too stressful. Allow yourself to regroup and remember why or how swimming has a place in your life. Go back to the basics, let yourself decompress, and think of the positives. Do not be afraid of some physical and mental down time.

It’s important to note that the relationship between happiness and athletic performance is complex and can vary from person to person. Not all swimmers need to be happy all the time to succeed, but a generally positive and content mindset can contribute to better outcomes. Moreover, achieving happiness can be a personal journey and may involve factors beyond swimming, such as social support and personal fulfillment.

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