The New Cycle:
At the start of every new cycle, not just at the start of the new year, it incredibly important to reset and remind yourself of personal targets and goals. This helps you stay motivated and positive when training can get tough and challenging. In my personal experience, at my club Plymouth Leander, we may get together in a small group and share our long and short terms goals and how we’re going to get there. Throughout the season it is always useful to reflect on these and maybe adjust your goals if you’ve achieved them already.
Staying motivated to keep training hard and to achieve goals, isn’t just an issue in the new year but throughout the swimming season or throughout many seasons. Swimmers may go though many seasons without getting any personal bests. This is hard to take, and hard to keep motivated in order to continue. Goal setting is the main motivator with any sport, not just swimming. However, these goals need to be S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound). Goals which are specific are ones which aim for the particular target whether that be a time barrier to beat, position/medal, qualification for a particular meet or level, etc.
Measurable goals are ones which include a definite end and is able to be quantified so people know when they’ve achieved their goals. Realistic and achievable goals are personal goals which are suitable to the individual. Time-bound requires goals to have a time period to which the goal has to be achieved.
Hard training can be tough and demotivating, there’s no doubt about that. Staying motivated to continue and train hard can be challenging but there’s a few things you can do. You have to be mentally strong and tough. Training requires money and time meaning you have to make it worth your while. The mentality of ‘go hard or go home’ is one which I usually reflect on. Taking time out of daily life means making the most of the time you have in the pool to make it worth the sacrifice – there’s no point training and wasting time if you’re not going to get the most out of it. Some world class swimmers will train hard and fully commit since they believe they have no choice, any slacking or absence from training is simply not allowed.
Ways I Motivate
Another way I try to stay motivated is through social media and the use of YouTube. Keeping up to date with the swimming world online, seeing swim results and races can motivate me to train hard. Watching and replaying YouTube videos of past world championship and Olympic races helps to inspire and further motivate me when I need it as well as watching ‘vlogs’ of US Olympic swimmer Cody Miller.
Staying motivated yourself can help to keep others motivated too. Everyone training hard together will go through tough times together; when a few people get demotivated it important to reassure these people and help them get back up.
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