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Learn Yourself! - An Introduction to Learning Mindfulness as an Athlete

Hello Swim Team and Adult Fitness Swimmers!

Last week, we had a little fun discussing the game of SWOLF and its link to better stroke efficiency. This week, we are going to take a trip down the mental side of swimming. Look for this to become a notable percentage of our blog posts going forward, especially as we move toward the inter-season period in August. When you take time away from the pool during this time, there are still ways to improve. The mental portion of swimming is more than half the battle. One of the first things that we can do to improve our edge is to become more MINDFUL. We will start a short series on this over the coming weeks. The power of mindfulness is one that allows us to become more aware, more cognizant, of our surroundings as well as our own bodies. Please take a little time to observe the video and follow along if you wish!

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As we continue to get older, it feels like the days go by much faster doesn't it? It gets easier and easier to get caught in the monotony of daily life that feels ever so repetitive. Stopping and smelling the roses seems rather difficult when we have to eat, sleep, take care of family members, shower, swim, work, and/or go to school. There are so many daily responsibilities, as well as distractions, that may keep us from stopping to understand - to become more aware - of ourselves. This is precisely why we should take some time to be more in tune, and it doesn't take much time. Your body is simply a vessel in which your mind operates. The more distracted we are, the less our body works to its full capacity. Our health, our aspirations, and our competitive edge all benefit from a little more focus. Take some time for yourself.

Close your eyes, control your breathing, plant your feet firmly on the ground, sit up tall. You should be able to become more aware of the blood flow in your hands and feet, of the sounds around you, or lack thereof. Mindfulness meditation is an effective segue to boost focus for athletes and non-athletes alike, and perhaps can provide some added perspective. As athletes, we should use these methods to center ourselves. This is not limited to just meets, but can also be effective before practices, when going to bed, or before engaging in daily tasks. Of course, this method is not foolproof for everyone, but it certainly is worth a try.

Fact of the week: The average person in the U.S., according to the Gallup Polls (2010s), sleeps about 6.8 hours per night. That means that there are over 17 hours awake per day, usually occupied by required daily endeavors. But, in that 17 hours of time on the go, most people have time to spend 10 minutes for themselves. It's important to have those ten minutes (or more) to recalibrate. Find your peace and silence in the mindfulness of your own body and create a more effective, focused self. How does my swimmer move up? Our group promotion standards are your guide to growing and graduating! Promotion times can be achieved in practice or swim meets. We prefer to see them happen at a swim meet! Clear your mind and help yourself become the most focused, mindful swimmer you can be! Thanks as always for joining us each week! The Sigma Team

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