Talk is Cheap, but Actions are Expensive

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

By Jamie Kolar, Swimming World College Intern.

Life is about actions – actions that we do on the daily basis. Or even the things we don’t do on the daily basis that we probably should. Actions are based on a series of choices that are outsourced to our bodies. They are the product of our conscious choice to either do or not do something. It is the little things we do every day that help us determine who we are as people and how we are going to go about our lives.

Swimming is all about action. Little habits build on top of one another into something bigger. We make choices that impact our careers both in and out of the pool. We make sacrifices that help or hinder our performance. The actions that we take outside of the pool often play a bigger role than those we make in the pool and play into how the people around us view us and our character.

Take these few saying into account next time you are thinking about doing something:

“Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

How many times have you told your coach, “I am going to eat healthier this week,” or “I am going to think more about my turns”? Probably more than once with a less-than-effective outcome. How many times have we sat in front of our coaches telling them rather convincing them that this time is different? We haven’t had the intention of making these empty promises, but they happen nonetheless.

Next time you are going to make a change or say you are going to do something, discuss it with your coach briefly but then jump right into it. Show them that you mean business. They will take notice when you are trying to make a change, and if you are struggling to stay on task or find yourself in a slump, then discuss it further with your coach. Your actions not only speak to your coach but also to yourself. They show you what you are capable of and provide the evidence you need to believe it. But stick to your word and keep your actions in line with what you have said. Do what you say; say what you mean.

“Talk Softly And Carry a Big Stick.”


Photo Courtesy: Chandler Brandes

President Theodore Roosevelt once said this in reference to his foreign policy. While we aren’t talking about international relations, his Big Stick philosophy applies well to swimming. The theory is that you lead by example and have the ability to explain and back up your actions afterward.

Great leaders have never proclaimed themselves as such. They are just always there, probably in the background, doing what they need to do and supporting the ones around them. They do this not because they have to or someone told them to, but because they want to. Great teammates follow a similar ideology. They put in the work themselves and lead by example. They do not talk just to hear themselves or have empty suggestions that do not pertain to what is being done in the water. They are focused and contribute in the most non-obvious way, but in a way that has the biggest impact. They know that talk is cheap, and it is what you do yourself that matters.

Your relationships with your teammates and coaches are important. You have probably taken notice of their actions. The best way to have an impact on them is through your own actions. You can only say so much. It is easy to tune someone out, but it is impossible to ignore someone’s actions. Your actions will have an effect on them, but you have to be concerned with what you are doing first. Actions have consequences.

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