Do these four things to achieve long-term results
Swimming impacts your aerobic system and your overall level of fitness. It keeps your heart rate up, which allows you to build strength and cardiovascular fitness without the impact stress of other sports. It also forces your body to adapt and ultimately become more fit than if you had spent the same amount of time doing anything else.
But taking advantage of these health benefits and becoming a better swimmer is all about understanding the tools you need to progress. Small daily improvements are the key to long-term results, and these only come once you develop healthy habits, which can take several weeks.
Here are four important healthy habits for new swimmers, things that will point you in the right direction. Following these habits will lead to a much more enjoyable swimming experience.
Whether you’re in the pattern of swimming every day or only once a week, once you break your cycle and make an excuse for not attending a practice, you create a bad habit. Indifference makes the difference.
Therefore, if you’re looking for the secret to success in swimming, it’s simple: Show up and make it count. Arrive at practice on time. Be present even if the weather isn’t looking too great. Attend the one long course practice your club has. Come out to support your teammates at a meet, even if you’re not swimming. Just show up.
Staying consistent in your swimming schedule also adds up exponentially. Each workout builds on top of the previous one. That’s why you need to stick to a regular schedule. Swimming at least three times a week is ideal for small gains and maintaining your level of aquatic fitness. This process is a lot like keeping a wet sponge wet. You have to keep adding water. If you don’t show up and swim, you’re going to dry out.
Ask anyone who swims regularly what it’s like coming back from a two-week, or even a one-week, break. They feel the difference. They feel slower, weaker, and out of breath. It’s only then that they realize what kind of shape they were really in. That’s why it’s best to stick to a schedule and be consistent.
Don’t make excuses. Of course, life will sometimes get in the way. Even if you’re going to be late to practice once in a while, show up. Getting in half a practice is better than not showing up at all. Actions communicate priorities, and if making progress and reaching a goal is a priority, you have to be physically and mentally present.
I’ve seen the most amount of progress and success from swimmers who are patient. Everyone has their own learning speed. To get the most out your training, it’s crucial to focus on one thing at a time. Consciously practice whatever you’re learning until it clicks before worrying about the next thing. Rushing or giving up before you’ve got it right is counterproductive to long-term success.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you become impatient and give up halfway through, you’ll end up executing the technique incorrectly, and this action will become your new habit. Take the time to get something right, so the proper technique becomes your habit. Thinking about what you’re doing. Going through the motions slowly in the beginning is the best way to grasp new things in a short period of time. You’ll thank yourself later.
So, you’re showing up to practice and you’re being patient with yourself, but what exactly are you supposed to be practicing? Ask questions, lots of questions. It doesn’t matter if they’re good questions, silly questions, or bad questions. Open up the lines of communication and start having regular conversations with your coach. Coaches are there to help you understand why you’re doing a certain set or drill and how to do it properly and ensure it’s beneficial. If you don’t understand why you’re doing a certain drill, ask! If you don’t know what you should be focusing on, ask!
Isidor I. Rabi won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1944. Growing up, he was not asked, “So what did you learn at school today?” He was asked, “Did you ask a good question today?” Let that sink in for a second. Asking questions is another way to actively participate in the learning process.
Swimming can be an individual or a team sport. You can easily come to the pool, do your workout, and go home. However, I’ve found the best way to keep it fun is by reaching out to those around you and making friends. Learn the names of people you swim with and get to know your coaches. Talk to them about how their kids are doing, how their partners are doing, how things are going on at work. Ask how they’re doing with their streamline or kick, how they like the new fins they bought, or how great you two did on the last set. Looking forward to seeing a social group every time you go to the pool will make swimming a lot more enjoyable, which in turn makes it easier to keep showing up!
These four habits will point you toward not only learning how to swim but sticking to swimming in the long term as you swim toward your goals. I sincerely hope that you follow through and give all of these healthy habits for success an honest chance.
- Technique and Training