Can anyone expect more from an athlete than giving their best personal effort each and every day? Many teams and athletes believe that they are committed wholeheartedly, yet they continue to fall short of their goals. Why would this happen?
In achieving a peak performance all aspects of a swimmers preparation must come together at the same time, including a well-developed mind-set. For swimmers, this is especially important given the fact that the difference between happiness and disappointment is measured by less than one one-hundredth of a second. Unfortunately, many swimmers neglect to take advantage of a comprehensive mental plan for success. As a result, some even subconsciously hold themselves back to ensure a built in excuse in case they fall short of their goals. This is largely due to the perception that their self-worth depends on how good they perform. Good performance, good person. Bad performance, bad person. Nothing could be further from the truth and ultimately misses the point of competition.
What the majority of world-class athletes report immediately before a major competition is that they are feeling relaxed, confident, and highly focused on the task at hand. They are not worried about their opponent or anything that is not within their control. That’s because at this point they are wholeheartedly committed. They are able to answer “yes” to the following question; ‘Am I willing to commit with the fullness of my being when there is no guarantee of the outcome?’ At this point, they let go, and enjoy the moment.
Imagine what your performance would feel like if you were able to consistently achieve a world-class approach to competition. You may already be on your way. The next time you are preparing for a big meet try imagining what your performance would look like id there were no limitations placed on you. In other words, imagine the possibility of unlimited possibility. This type of “out of the box” thinking will help you recognize that your thoughts can either be a tool of uncertainty and fear, or an instrument of inspiration. You have the power to choose.
By choosing to manage these emotions and thoughts you set in motion the power of positive change and open the door for a successful performance. Otherwise, you relinquish control to external influences. Allow the resulting feelings to enter your mind and let them nurture you. Have some fun and be creative with it. Then work to set a goal of overall self-acceptance. This is a critical step if you truly want to shine, and one of the most challenging to achieve. It takes commitment, practice and perseverance to create this mind-set. The good news is you already possess the power to master this. We all do. Your challenge is to develop a willingness to commit with the fullness of your being, establish and refine a powerful mental approach, and recognize that it is the effort, not the outcome, that determines a true champion.