The Final Step of a Season: Reflection

Photo Courtesy: Peter H.Bick

By Taylor Byers, Swimming World College Intern.

The championship meet season is in full effect. The end is almost here, and for some, it is here. Even when you touch the wall for the final time, the season is not quite over yet. The final step to a swim season is reflection. This is a time to look back on the long months of hard work and dedication – including doubles, lifts, dryland and more – to see what went right and what possibly could have gone wrong.

How should this postseason reflection be done? Read on to find out!

Take a few days to not think about swimming

michael-phelps-family-bed

Photo Courtesy: Instagram @m_phelps00

You have just spent close to 20 weeks or more diving into a pool at least once a day, starting off with warmup after warmup, main set after main set and cool down after cool down. You were pushing your body to the absolute maximum limit day in and day out. Your bodies need a break, but so do your minds. Take a few days to relax and focus on school, family and friends. This mental break from thinking about swimming will help enhance the next step of the reflection process.

Find a quiet place to think

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Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

Reflection does not have to be done all at once. It can be spread out over a couple of days or even a week. It is helpful to find a quiet place to think so that it can be just you and your thoughts with no distractions. What is important during this thinking process is to be honest with yourself. Honesty is the only way reflection is effective. You have put in the work so be proud of it. On the other hand, give yourself credit where it’s due so you know what to keep the same during the next season or what needs to be worked on.

Start at the beginning of the season or even with the work you might have put in prior to the official first day. Then move through the season remembering difficult sets where you either found a strength within you to keep going or gave into the pain. During each workout, were you focused on the little things such as your walls or technique? Outside of the pool, were you giving your best effort in dryland or lifts? Did you stretch and make the best of recovery? Remember meets where you tried a new race strategy and how they worked.

Show gratitude

Thank-you-letter

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There are a lot of people who have helped you through this season, some more obvious than others. They put in a lot of time and effort, just as you did. Thank your coaches for writing workout after workout with your best interest in mind. Thank your teammates for always being there to push you each practice and race. Thank your family for always supporting and cheering you on. Thank the athletic trainers, strength coaches, understanding teachers and professors. Reflection not only gratifies yourself in all the hard work you have done but also shows appreciation to all the others who have put time and effort into your season.

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Hannah Moore; Photo Courtesy: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Reflection is a way to find out what worked and what didn’t. Every swimmer is different, and being able to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses will help you accomplish the ultimate goal: being the fastest swimmer you possibly can be. Reflection is also a way to look back with gratitude on a skill that a lot of people cannot do. It is a way to give yourself the pat on the back you deserve and refocus your goals for the next season to come.

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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