We have a couple of swimmers who have been working diligently building their bodies stronger. We like to see this purposeful individual drive. It shows us that they have a level of personal investment and intention in their season.
We find it interesting that they seem to feel that this will be the answer to their success. We hope to make them aware that this is one of the 3 legs on the all-important stool of success. Coaches everywhere know that it takes three groups of people to have a successful team: swimmers, parents and coaches. Take away any of those three elements and the quality of the team suffers dramatically.
For a swimmer to have success perhaps we could argue that indeed there are three cornerstones for them as well. Certainly the physical body is important. It needs to be really strong and very flexible and have great range of motion: we like the phrase “functional strength”.
And yet that by itself ensures nothing. We like to think about the mental strengths that are needed as well: fortitude, determination in the face of adversity, willingness to learn from mistakes. The phrase “mental toughness” comes to mind.
Still that is not enough. The swimmer needs the third leg to balance their game. That third leg is a free mind, one that is not burdened by other people’s expectations. A mind that operates free from “should” “ought” or “what’s the matter with you; how come you can’t…”
Sculpting your body is important. But it isn’t more nor is it less important than mental toughness or a free mind. Those three legs will support any swimmer’s level of intention…in our opinion.