USA Swimming News

Monday, January 6, 2020

Mental Toughness Toolbox: Work on Your Weaknesses to Become a Champion

Mental Toughness Toolbox: Work on Your Weaknesses to Become a Champion

Perhaps you've heard of the old saying, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

Within these words lies the straightforward formula for your ultimate success in the pool. If you have a BIG dream in the pool and you really want to turn it into a reality, then the fastest, most direct way to make this happen is to highlight and then aggressively work on your weaknesses. 

Will you get better working on and strengthening your strengths? Absolutely! However, you'll improve faster and make much more significant gains in your swimming by committing yourself to highlighting and then going after the things that you're not so good at. But let me state the obvious here: This is far easier said than done!

Most of us do not like working on things that we're not good at. Spending time with your weaknesses can be a frustrating and oftentimes demoralizing process. It's never fun to focus on things that you don't do well. As a result, we go out of our way to avoid the emotional discomfort of this kind of work. Unfortunately, when you avoid your weaknesses and only work on the things that you think you're good at, your weaknesses stay weaknesses. They remain your “Achille's heel,” and as a result, will always be the one thing that holds you back.

For example, if you lose time on your walls like a lot of swimmers do, and you avoid focusing on what you're doing wrong there, then it won't much matter if you get faster between the flags. Your turns will always be the one thing that holds you back from achieving that cut you so desperately want to achieve.

Similarly, if there is one stroke you repeatedly tell yourself you “hate,” and is your “worst stroke,” then every time you have to swim it, you will totally psych yourself out. This mindset will physically tighten you up, making the stroke even less efficient than it is, and the fact that you “hate it” will help you avoid working on it and possibly correcting the technical mistakes you're currently making.

Keep in mind, there is a four-word formula for your ultimate success both in and out of the pool: GET COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE!

That is, if you really want to achieve anything worthwhile in your life, then you have to practice consistently stepping outside of your comfort zone. You have to get used to being “uncomfortable.” By regularly moving towards and working on the things that you're not so good at, whether it's your under-waters, a stroke that you “hate,” a bad habit with your breathing pattern or something else, then eventually you'll turn that weakness into a strength. Of course, the end result of this is that you'll soon start going faster. And when that happens, I can promise you that you won't get bummed out by it. On the contrary, the weakness that you avoided like the plague will soon turn into one of your strengths.

So let me suggest to you that you start making a list of all of these things that you “think” you're not good at. Write them down, and then go have a sit-down with your coach and come up with a plan for you guys to help you “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” and turn these so-called weaknesses of yours into strengths!

Connect With Our Community

© Copyright 2020 USA Swimming. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy Terms & Conditions