Motivational Monday: Try These Movies as a Source of Inspiration


Motivational Monday: Try These Movies as a Source of Inspiration

Sometimes, finding the motivation to go to practice each day can be difficult. Picture this: It’s the middle of the winter, your next competition is weeks away, and the last thing you feel like doing is going to practice. In times like this, we search for ways to motivate ourselves. We often overlook one of the easiest sources of motivation…movies.

With so many types of technology at our fingertips, you can watch a movie almost anywhere. Whether you’re at a hotel during a multi-day meet, traveling in a bus or car, or just sitting at your house (in those rare times when you aren’t at the pool), great films are relatively easy to access. But the question is, which one do you choose when you’re searching for that burst of motivation to jump in the water?

To help decide, here are some of the best movies (in no particular order) that are likely to get you ready for your next practice or meet.

Soul Surfer (2011)

An injury can be one of the most-draining situations for a swimmer. Many require weeks, if not months, of time out of the pool. When the time comes, swimmers may find it difficult to get back in the water. What if I wasn’t as good as I was? What if I never perform the same way again? These thoughts are all normal and completely valid, but they can be overcome. 

For a swimmer trying to emerge stronger from an injury, Soul Surfer is the perfect movie option. The film tells the true story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack when she was just thirteen years old. Surfing with one arm would seem out of the question for most people. This movie tells of Bethany’s remarkable journey to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional surfer. It is a great narrative for a swimmer who is looking for someone to follow when it seems impossible to rebound from an injury.

Rocky (1976)

We’ve all been there. We barely made the qualifying time for the championship meet and are seeded dead last. We edged our way into a finals spot, but now we’re expected to get our butt kicked in Lane One. We decide to race an event that isn’t our best, and we know that we’ll be going up against specialists. We have all had our own “underdog” moment in some way, shape, or form.

If you find yourself living the life of an underdog, then the classic movie Rocky is just for you. In this well-known story, Rocky Balboa is a “small-time boxer from working class Philadelphia” who is selected to challenge the current world heavyweight champion. While it seems like all the odds are against Rocky, the movie follows his path to becoming one of the world’s best boxers. This movie is a fantastic choice for any underdog searching for inspiration. Rocky shows that against all odds, anything is possible.

Invincible (2006)

Not all of us are young age-groupers or collegiate swimmers. Swimming is a sport that can be taken up and practiced at any age. However, many people hold themselves back because they are “too old.” For anyone needing to be reminded that age is in fact just a number, Invincible is for you.

Invincible is based on the true story of Vince Papale. Papale was a 30-year-old bartender from Philadelphia who was presented with the opportunity to try out for the city’s NFL team, the Eagles. Eventually, according to IMDb, Papale “becomes the oldest rookie in NFL history who never played football in college.” The story told in Invincible shows us that no matter our age, we can achieve our goals and do incredible things. 

Chasing Mavericks (2012)

As swimmers, we all have big goals that may seem out of reach. Maybe we want to qualify for a major championship meet, or even win an event at a large competition. Whatever our goals may be, we are often intimidated when it comes to approaching them. Goals can be daunting, but when we learn to harness these nerves into energy, we can be motivated into doing amazing things.

Chasing Mavericks tells the true story of Jay Moriarity, a young surfer who dreams of taking on some of the world’s largest waves. Jay knows that his goal is lofty, and even life-threatening. He goes to great lengths to train for “Mavericks” and achieve his goals. Hours upon hours of hard work and dedication eventually lead Jay to successfully surf Mavericks. Jay’s story is incredibly inspirational for the swimmer looking to achieve an intimidating goal.

Miracle (2004)

In his book Beneath the Surface, Michael Phelps tells a brief anecdote in an early chapter. The night before his first Olympic race, Phelps fell asleep while watching Miracle. It goes without saying that this movie is one of the most inspirational that a swimmer, or perhaps an entire team of swimmers, could possibly ask for.

Miracle tells the famous true story of the 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey team. While the team was composed of collegiate all-stars, they initially struggled in such a professional atmosphere. Through learning to work together and trusting their coach, the team overcomes the odds to win an Olympic gold medal over the heavily favored Soviet Union. Miracle is the perfect movie for any swimmer to watch individually, but it is also a great option for an entire team to view together. It fosters the idea that through hard work and team unity, nothing is impossible. 

Movies can provide true stories that inspire us to do great things in the water. They show the highlights as well as the challenges of the journeys that lead to success. The next time you’re looking for a source of motivation, maybe all you need is to curl up with some popcorn and watch a movie.

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