If only your Garmin measured these…..

As a coach, I often hear athletes define themselves by how fast they swim. It is easy to do. That information is readily available and easy to interpret.

As a coach, I am not judging you by how fast you swim. I am interested in the traits of athletes that they have, or need to be developed to be an effective learner. These traits will influence your rate of progress and improvements.

Here are some of the common traits I have seen amongst my swimmers who progress quickly and in turn become faster.

1. Consistency – athletes who get better, make it happen. Whether it is making time for a lesson, taking a regular lesson, or making sure they get in most of their practice swims, week in week out. They make it happen. I particularly admire those athletes who travel for work, routinely packing a suit, cap and goggles and find a pool to swim in.

2. Positive Attitude – tackling each lesson or practice with a positive outlook, a smile and a sense of gratitude goes a long way in freeing your mind to learn and process.

3. Curiosity – those athletes with a desire to learn, will learn. Great learners and swimmers will always be wondering about how to do something with more skill, or ease, or differently. How many ways can you approach a particular area of your stroke or race differently to be a better athlete?

4. Explorers – it may just be one aspect of their swimming they are working on but it is explored in many ways – these great learners talk, listen, read, write, analyze, evaluate and dream about what they are doing. Explore every part of your brain that can help you progress. And keep persisting, you will succeed!

5. Welcome the bad with the good – it is easy to accept those days when swimming is going well. Athletes that progress quickly will learn from those days that aren’t so flash. Again, thinking and evaluating why things were not up to scratch and devising a strategy to not let it happen again.

6. Risk takers – athletes who are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone show greater rate of learning and progress. They will accept challenges, knowing they may not succeed, but knowing they will learn.

Next time you look at your swim speed data, ask yourself how many of the six traits listed above played a part in achieving those numbers.

Coach Dinah