2019: Practice with Heart, Swim with Intelligence, Compete with Courage. 1

When you read this article, it will be time to set your resolutions for 2019 to make it your best year ever.  But before you start writing down crazy, hard-to-keep goals, I want you to think about this motto; “Practice with Heart, Swim with Intelligence and Compete with Courage“.  This is the motto the YMCA age group team where I coach chose for their 2018/2019 season.

I think it is something you should ponder, whoever you are: the young, the old, the beginner or the top-level swimmers, the triathlete, the newbie, etc.  It should be in your mind when you start writing down your specific and measurable goals for 2019.

Practice with Heart: this should be taken both literally and figuratively.

You should practice swimming or any other sport because you like it; sorry, you love it.  Every time you step up on deck, you should be ready to jump in the water and have a good workout, your heart must be into it.  If it is not the case, either swimming might not be your sport, or you might be swimming too much and have lost the spark.

Now you need to work your heart at each and every practice.  Here, I am talking about playing with your heart rate.  Unless you have a medical condition with your heart, you should increase and decrease your heart rate often during practice.  Stepping up your heart rate for short periods of time, will help you get to the next level of fitness and/or improve your time if you compete.  Whether you are long distance or lap swimmers, don’t continuously swim at the easy to medium speed.  Bring your heart rate up if you want to get fit in a minimum amount of time.

Swim with Intelligence: here we are talking about technique, efficiency, smart training.

One of my goals for 2019 is to bring more clinics to a pool near you to improve your technique, efficiency in the water and to bring smart training tips to the day to day swimmer.  Oregon Masters Swimming has a wealth of experience with many coaches, pool and open water swimmers, and we would love to spread that knowledge to all the adult swimming community.  In that respect, our first step is to assess your needs and our manpower in order to organize by region and to be able to reach out locally.  We have a monkey survey which will come to you and that we would love if you can answer it.  Your help is really appreciated.  The survey can be accessed thru this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T7S53GR or you can also leave a comment below.

Clinics are almost like magical tools to make you more efficient in the water and enjoy the sport of swimming as a lifelong sport.  Whatever your level, the goal of each clinic is to have at least one “aha” moment, one tip to work on when you go back to practice the next day.  Be prepared to continuously think about that tip for quite a while in order to make that change permanent.  Do not rush to the next step too quickly, patience is key.  Swim with intelligence and you will be greatly rewarded.

Compete with Courage:

Not everybody likes the stress of competing and it is perfectly OK.  Indeed, competing does take courage, first to register not knowing what to expect, second, going faster than usual is hard, third competing against more experienced swimmers is humbling.  But everybody needs to start somewhere, so have the courage to compete, you will be rewarded by the great feeling of having done it.

Now as you prepare to write your specific goals for 2019, remember that: “working smart is hard, working hard is easy”.

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