Thursday, October 09, 2014

Could Dory Have The Answer To Improving Your Swimming?

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Abingdon Clinic Oct 11th
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Perhaps the alarm clock has just gone off on the morning of your weekly threshold swim, or you're sitting in the pool car-park thinking about what's to come, or you're halfway through a tough red-mist set. You feel like quitting, throwing in the towel, packing it in.

We've all been there... but giving in to that feeling strikes a fatal blow to you reaching your potential as a swimmer.

The mental skill to sustain a strong effort through training or racing is one of the cornerstones of developing your distance swimming. Obviously you need to swim to your maximum in races but you also need to push in training in order to develop that fitness in the first place (and be fit enough to maintain your stroke technique).

It's tempting to reason that you don't need to do the set this week (you do), or that it would be bad for your stroke technique (it isn't) or your stroke is falling apart (it won't). These are all excuses to avoid doing the hard work. 

At moments like this remember Dory and her advice to Nemo:

Is This The Thing That's Holding You Back?

You know it could be that you already have all the ingredients you need to be the swimmer you want to be - you have enough knowledge, enough training time and enough natural talent. What if it's actually your head that's holding you back - your inability to come to terms with the effort required to get to where you want to be?

The good news is that your ability to work hard isn't actually about pain tolerance or mental toughness, it's really just a mental skill you haven't got yet - learning to detach your thoughts from the feelings of hard work and just let the effort happen. When you get good at this and are really on your game, tough sets don't really hurt much at all, in fact they become kind of fun.

How to start developing that skill? When the negative thoughts start to creep in, block them out and say to yourself:

Just Keep Swimming!

Swim Smooth!

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