Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Twin Pillars of Success

Reading this title makes us feel a little presumptuous…really, can we be that smart or insightful? However, based upon the observations from the last couple of weeks we are confident when we say that inspiration and disappointment are both critical to moving forward.

We just finished our summer season of racing. We had trained pretty well, for the most part. We rested, shaved and suited up…and then went for all the marbles. And our swimmers were either inspired by their performances or they were disappointed. It was, after all, a swim meet.

The inspiration part is rather straightforward. You have an awesome swim and record a best time, maybe even make a cut for the next level meet – winters or summers or even a ticket to Omaha next summer. Perhaps you get fired up by a swim one of your teammates does or even better yet, a relay performance…still better is a relay you are on. We are sure you get the picture. One good swim triggers another and so it goes.

What about the other end of the scale? When things don’t go as planned or even worse, as hoped for? Yes hope is a dangerous platform. It almost always comes just before failure. If hope is your next to last emotion or feeling or statement…as in “I hope this works out for me”…you are pretty close to failure.

This next piece of wisdom comes directly from Ken. “The degree of disappointment can only be in direct proportion to the degree of your commitment.”

Yep; you cannot be greatly disappointed if you only prepared a little bit. One of our swimmers tried to claim major disappointment. Ken pointed out that the swimmer had worked up to the 80% effort level many times this summer. Often the swimmer was actually below 80%. When the best times didn’t materialize it was hard for that swimmer to be disappointed very much.

In fact, if you say “well man that was a bummer” but within minutes or maybe an hour the bad taste no longer lingers it is simply because you didn’t invest much in yourself. Therefore you had little reason to actually expect a return and so when you don’t get one you cannot be all that disappointed.
The more you invest the greater your odds of getting a decent return. The less invested you are, the less right you have to be disappointed.

Major commitment and then failure to get what you want? That is how life works more often than not. How you rebound from that marks your odds of successfully continuing on down the road. Swimming mirrors life…or maybe the other way around.

If you cannot handle failure swimming is not the sport for you. When you fail you are not a failure. Failure is a feedback mechanism. Take an honest evaluation and then go back to the drawing board. Sit with your coach and teammates and see if you can figure out where you can improve your approach…there are so many factors…from technique to racing experience to strategies to training to rest and sleep to nutrition to mindset…the list is endless.

And so is the opportunity for success…endless indeed.

Have a nice break and then get back to it…with a plan you can execute.

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