Katrina Radke shares ideas for new intentions to help you have new possibilities in your practices and meets.
Dear Katrina: I get bored in practice. How can I not get bored?
As swimmers, we spend a lot of our time in the pool. Some people like to say, “you spend way too much time staring at that black line.” But is that what we are really doing?
We have the opportunity to get involved in what we are doing, to the point where we are immersed in the practice set, the race, the feel of the water, the joy of racing a teammate, competitor, or the clock, that time can seem to go by very fast.
What allows us to not get bored? There are many answers that could be valid for this. But let’s have a simple approach to making our days, practices, and races better.
Some questions to consider:
- What truly motivates you?
- What is your vision for what you want to create for yourself, your team, coaches, family, and/or friends?
- What simple steps can you start doing today?
- What is your intention for your training and racing, today, this week, this month, this season, and beyond?
- What can you do differently today, to try something new, to stay fresh in your approach to swimming?
I am a firm believer that when you create an intention for your day, it is more likely to come true. If I am a swimmer who finds myself getting bored, what are some things I can do to get refocused and engaged in what I am doing?
Here are a few ideas, and as a swimming community, we’d love to hear your ideas on what you do to have a great day, set, practice, or race:
Example Intentions (this could be done daily, weekly, for each set, and so on):
1: I am going to be ready to get in the pool 5 minutes before practice (I tend to run late), so that I can do at least 30 seconds of two stretches – one that is my favorite that makes me feel good, and one that I know will help me even though it is tougher for me to do.
2: I am going to encourage others around me to race, and I am not going to make excuses. I take full responsibility for how I feel, and I no longer complain; rather, I focus on what I can do to get the most out of myself in the practice.
3: I let my coach know what my intention is for the workout, so that s/he can help me be at my best.
4: I learn how to read the pace clock (if I don’t already do so). I use the pace clock during sets. i.e. If I am doing 10x100s, I know my time at the end of each 100, and also my 50 and 25 splits. I learn to look at the clock off the walls and start knowing what my pace is in practice.
5: I start playing a game – I tell myself I am going to go a certain time on a set, and I see how often I can match it (This trains my mind to say something and then follow it up with doing it. This builds trust in myself as I say what I do, and it also trains me to know what a certain time feels like).
6: I make the decision to stop thinking and doing the exact same thing, as I realize that will only give me the same results, and I will feel bored/stale/want to quit. Instead, I choose to dare to try something differently, even if it tests me. By making this decision, I already feel good, knowing that I am challenging myself, rather than getting too comfortable and unsatisfied with what I am doing.
7: Even if others choose to not warm down, I do my best to warm down the appropriate amount of time (in the water, on land via stretching), and by refueling my body with good nutrition within 30 minutes of my workout. By taking this little extra step, I allow my body to recover more quickly, and be ready for the next great workout.
8: I count my strokes in practice, and start seeing if I can take one less and go the same time. This allows me to become more efficient in using my body in the water.
9: I develop my underwater kicking ability. I take x number of kicks off of each wall. I use my tempo trainer (FINIS) to train myself to do 3 kicks in one second.
10: I accelerate into my turns while keeping my eyes looking down (vs. looking for the wall). At first, even though I am nervous to do this, I give myself permission to make this my science lab, where I am allowed to make mistakes. So, if I miss the wall initially, I know I am training myself to keep my momentum going into the wall by training myself to not look for the wall. Then, as I get used to not looking, my time from the flags to the wall and back to the flags improves.
11: Most importantly, I choose to pay attention. If I noticed that I drifted off and was not present, I bring myself back to what I was doing, so I can remain aware. By being aware, I can notice if I am giving up mentally, thinking about something else, or if I am fully engaged feeling my body do its magic in the water.
12: I appreciate myself, for giving my best effort in this given moment, and for doing my best to stay engaged. When I am in this place, I feel most content, and I am able to be at my best.
What are some intentions you can set, to take action on this week in practice or at a meet?
Please feel free to share all of your ideas, so we all can help each other!
Katrina Radke is an Olympic Swimmer, Sport Psychology Professor, Motivational Speaker, Health and Peak Potential Expert, and Coach. She is also a Bestselling Author of Be Your Best Without the Stress. Want to connect with her? www.katrinaradke.com, twitter.com/katrina_radke, www.facebook.com/katrinaradke1.