By Jamie Kolar, Swimming World College Intern.
There are highs and there are lows to every season and yet despite all of our highs, we never seem to be as proud of them as we should be. So often in our careers we lack the confidence that we deserve.
When I was a club swimmer, there was a boy who was often perceived as overly confident. He was an Olympic Trials qualifier, National record holder and a Nationals qualifier. He was talented to say the least, and he never let anyone forget it.
He was not afraid to challenge anyone to a race, anytime or anywhere. He owned the pool. It was his world and we were just living in it. When we were at a meet he was focused and ready to race at all times. He was the Michael Phelps of his own world. Was he a little cocky? Absolutely. But his confidence was part of what made him a great swimmer.
When Saturday lactate practices came around, you could bet that we were all racing him in our best attempts to beat him, often to no avail. The trash talking that occurred during those practices only made it all the more intense and fun.
He was proud of everything that he did, whether it was good or bad. He was confident enough to sing Disney songs in the middle of practice at the top of his lungs and think he was better than the original artist who sang the song. That kind of confidence is something special.
We can all learn something from this swimmer.
We should all be proud of ourselves and what we have accomplished. There is no reason to hide it or have any self-doubt that you cannot do something. Be proud of who you are and what you have done! Scream it from the rooftops, or sing it if you like. But to get to this level of confidence, it takes practice.
Think of three wins you had during practice.
Whether it was the best or worst practice of your life, there are at least three things you did well. Think about it as you are driving home. You will probably come up with more than three.
Write them down so that you will remember them for later. Pat yourself on the back. Be proud of those things and build off them in your next practice.
Challenge someone to a race at the end of practice.
Bet I can beat you! When we were younger, everything was a competition. Why have we lost this quality? What could be better than having a duel in the pool with one of your teammates?
The race is just for fun, but really it is for bragging rights. It will give you extra practice for a meet and a chance to compete in a high energy environment. Often the whole team gets behind these duels and it gets loud pretty fast. These situations are fun and low stakes, which is often the best time to build on your confidence and have some fun while doing so.
Sing in the shower.
After practice, go in the shower and belt your favorite song. Whether it is a solo or a duet with your team mates, it is hard to not be confident when you are singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs!
Many athletes struggle with their self-confidence. Every day we come into practice and work hard. All the work is done by the time you get to a meet, so you are more than prepared to race hard and fast.
Who cares about the person next to you? You can only control what goes on in your own lane. If the person next to you is seeded faster than you, then you only have one job and that is to race them. If you leave it all in the pool, you will be proud of what you did.
Do one thing that makes you feel good about yourself every day and try to give yourself a challenge every day. If you fail that challenge, so what? It means that you stepped out of your comfort zone and learned something. You can choose to see what you did well or what you did poorly. With each little success, you will build you confidence.
All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World nor its staff.