If you’ve ever been around the sport of swimming, you know the dedication and commitment it requires. Both of which are incredible life lessons. And this is one of the best things about participating in sports; you will learn many great things along the way that are far more important that your techniques and drills. All of the time and commitments breed more than just medals and ribbons, it teaches valuable life lessons. But at the same time, swimming certainly doesn’t teach you these 3 things:
1. Swimming will not teach you how to take short cuts.
There is no way to reach your goals in swimming if you slack off and skip practices. Unlike other sports where pure talent can play a bigger role, if you’re not at practice working hard, there is always someone working harder who will beat you at the end of the year. Likewise, doing one-arm Butterfly and sloppy turns won’t help you reach your goals. One thing that swimming will teach athletes; in order to be the best, there are no such thing as short cuts. There is no way to cheat hard work! Like they say:
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
2. Swimming will not teach you how to procrastinate.
Swimmers at an elite level know that there is no time to waste when you are committed to two practices a day, school in between, and meets on the weekend. Sleep is so important for athletes and waiting until the last minute to study and complete projects usually leads to lack of sleep or a missed practice—both of which hinder an athlete’s ability to reach their goals. The time and physical commitments a swimmer has demands that they plan ahead and stay on top of schoolwork, all in a time-efficient manner in order to maximize rest and recovery. Although it’s challenging, successful swimmers will find a way to balance their sport with other commitments.
3. Swimming will not teach you how to be a quitter.
No matter what distance, no matter what stroke, at some point in a race, a swimmer will start to feel fatigued. Whether it’s the 50 Freestyle or the 400 Individual Medley, the end of the race is going to burn. Naturally, quitting would be easier—it would be easy to stop trying and allow your body to rest, but swimmers know they don’t stop trying until they touch the wall. Swimmers will find more energy, more power, more speed. SWIMMERS DON’T QUIT! It’s not what they spend hours in and out of the pool working toward. When practices get tough, they rely on teammates to hold them accountable and encourage them to reach that extra level. This doesn’t mean swimmers don’t feel the desire to quit, it simply means they want to succeed more than they want to quit.
For most swimmers, these lessons are usually learned after a disappointing season, when a swimmer looks back and realizes maybe that week-long vacation mid-season really did have an impact on the end-of-the-year swims. Or maybe staying up late every night and skipping morning practice wasn’t a good idea. The good news is that it is easy to apply these lessons, and even easier to see results!