Swimming Opinion is courtesy of Gavin Cooley. Follow: @Gjcoolone
What do the best swimmers in the world do unlike anyone else? Actually, let’s change that. What do the best athletes in general do to be so amazing? What makes them so much different from the rest of us? Sure, the hours put into training, the nutrition, the mental capacity for competition, and many other characteristics all have to do with it, but what is one quality that all the elite possess? Why are they so special?
The answer is simple.
The best athletes, regardless of sport, have mind numbing consistency to the point of complete and total failure within their training. There is no task too big, no challenge they can’t overcome, all because of consistency. No matter what, they never stop moving forward. Elite practices are monotonous. The same process is followed each day, with little variation. It is said that the Beatles practiced for a jaw-dropping ten thousand hours before they went big time… In all truth it is this simple fact that keeps most from being great. It is not lack of skill, or time. It is a lack of commitment. As my coach says, that’s just being brutally honest with you.
Why aren’t more people “great” then?
Tragically, most people just lack the willpower. The best don’t necessarily live extraordinary lives, doing crazy activities frequently. They just don’t eat that extra slice of pizza. They do that extra squat, push up, or pull up. Bedtime is 8:30, and the rooster crows bright and early, at 4:45. While waking up that early is impressive (especially if you aren’t a morning person), it’s not something thousands of people worldwide can’t do. Being great isn’t as monumental of a task as you think.
How can I become great?
Start out making small changes, big changes can actually harm you, and most people can’t complete their goals if they try to make big changes right away. Dedicate yourself to one small task to completely focus on, long term and short term. In swimming, it’s details that win races. If you can take one more dolphin kick off your wall than your competitors, or keep your head down and hold your breath for one more stroke, it could be the difference between winning and losing. To be able to do these small things well, they require sharpening. A blacksmith originally sharpens the blade while it is still hot, giving the sword the ability to cut. By practicing your small details under fatigue, when you are rested you should be able to excel in those parts of the race, and the little things add up.
Do you personally know or have you heard of someone who is great through consistency and focus in the swimming or business community? If so, comment their stories below!