By Will Jonathan//Contributor | Thursday, August 15, 2019
Yesterday, we learned about having harmonious passion – the key to living a balanced swim life. If you missed it, read more about it in Part 1.
If you think your passion towards swimming is a bit too all-consuming and leaning more towards the obsessive side of passion, here are some things you can do to help foster a more Harmonious Passion towards your swimming moving forward:
1. Use Positive Language Towards Your Swimming.
We’ve all heard phrases like, “Ugh, I HAVE to go to practice at 6am tomorrow morning” or “I HAVE to get my dry-land work in this afternoon”. It may seem like no big deal, but the language being used here really can make a difference. When you tell yourself you have to do something, it gives off the implication that you’re having to force yourself to do it against your will, and the moment swimming starts to feel like something you have to force yourself to do rather than something you want to do, you’re in trouble.
Instead, be mindful of the kind of language you’re using when talking about swimming and try to transition to phrases that are more positive and empowering. For example, instead of saying, “Ugh, I HAVE to go to practice at 6am tomorrow morning”, switch that to, “I can’t wait to go to practice tomorrow morning” or “Tomorrow morning, I get to go to practice and continue improving at this sport I love.” That’s a BIG difference, and will allow swimming to feel like something you choose to do rather than something you feel like something you have to force yourself to do.
2. Leave Swimming At The Pool.
I cannot stress too much just how important this one is. It’s so easy, when you’ve had a bad day at the pool, to drag that home with you and let it have a negative effect on the rest of your day, and sometimes beyond that. As a consequence, you suffer, the people around you suffer, and your levels of happiness suffer. When you’re done with swimming for the day, especially after a really bad day at the pool, always make sure to leave your swimming at the pool. Disconnect from it as best as you can and don’t carry that baggage home with you. When a practice or meet is finished for the day, leave it behind you and allow yourself to enjoy the other areas and people of your life outside of the sport without constantly dragging swimming around with you.
3. Have Other Hobbies & Do Other Things That Aren’t Swimming Related.
One of my swimming clients loves to read about ancient history in her time away from the pool. One of my other swimming clients loves to go kayaking when he’s not swimming. Justin Ress, a US National Team member and former swimmer for NC State, loves to play Fortnite and stream it on Twitch. Caeleb Dressel, one of the best swimmers on the planet, loves to play Mario Kart! Whatever it is you love to do, it doesn’t matter. It’s simply important that you have something outside of swimming that you can enjoy doing and allow yourself to use as a mechanism to help you disconnect from swimming. This helps to keep your motivation levels sustained and does a really great job at staving off burnout.
Love your swimming. Be committed to it, be disciplined, be dedicated, and give it absolutely everything you can. Be passionate about it. However, balance those out by always remembering the following: You are not a swimmer. You’re a human being that swims. That distinction is very, very important. You’re not just a swimmer. You’re a valuable, amazing human being that does swimming. As Allison Schmitt said, it’s an important part of your life, but it’s only part of your life.
Thanks for reading, and see you next time!
Will Jonathan is a sports mental coach with an extensive amount of experience working directly with swimmers and swim programs. His clients include Age-Group National Champions, NCAA All-Americans, Senior-Level International Swimmers, and Olympic Swimmers, as well as having worked with various NCAA Division 1 nationally-ranked swim programs such as Florida State University. He gives talks and presentations on the mental aspects of swimming to swim programs all over the country, and is the author of the book “The Swimmer’s Mind: Mastering The Mental Side Of Swimming” which can be found at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.