We all have days when we have problems staying motivated for many reasons such as a bad race or not improving the way we wanted. Without motivation there is no goal reaching or moving forward. So, what can we do to find motivation?
First, we must realize that swimming is a very mental sport, especially at the elite level. You have to set realistic goals that you are able to achieve and have a positive attitude, which does not mean being cheerful, it means a willingness to work hard and appreciating hard work for what it is.
Then there is fear of failure which occurs occasionally and happens mostly in age group swimmers. Here at Sigma Swimming, our coaches have dealt with this and usually are able to have the swimmer confront his or her fear. Just one example was an 11-year-old swimmer about to swim the 100-butterfly long course for only the second time after having a bad experience in the first time she swam the 100 butterfly. Thanks to our coaching staff at the meet, her fear of failure was put aside and she completed the 100 butterfly. Now, this is also a perfect example that a swimmer must be able to believe in what they can achieve, because if they don’t believe in themselves, then they will fail. Again, this is where our Sigma coaches come in and take the time to just speak to their swimmers and push their fears aside so they can swim the race.
As parents we must realize that especially the very young swimmers will have bad races, and we must not criticize them. Leave the criticizing and coaching to the coaches because that is what they are there for. Telling them that next time you will do better, and to just leave this race behind will be better. I have seen parents yell at their children for not swimming the way they wanted them to swim, and this certainly does not help them build confidence or their motivation. Just be there for them and comfort them and maybe if they are not too upset tell them, “Maybe it was your start or turn” (as an example). This will help a lot more than criticizing them. Let them have fun because if you don’t then you will have a swimmer that is going to quit swimming.
Relentless determination can be a big motivator as well especially after you were out touched at the wall by a fingertip. You will work hard to correct whatever the mistake was that made you lose that race. Goals can be achieved if not set too high for your ability. Most importantly, remember to also have fun and stay motivated.
All of the above are life lessons because in life you need to stay motivated as well to achieve your goals and dreams. If we say to ourselves I can instead I can’t, then anything is possible, and it will keep us motivated. Swimming should be fun, and any disappointments or frustrations should be left at the pool, so you can start fresh the next day. Motivation and determination can be a very powerful tool to achieve anything in life.
Our staff at Sigma Swim have helped thousands of swimmers achieve these mindsets. Goal setting and staying motivated is both an important and essential part in life, in both athletics and other areas of life. Keeping a positive outlook and never being afraid of failure is and always will be important for everyone. Develop these skills early and let us at Sigma help your child with that process through the sport of swimming.