The 7 Cardinal Sins of Mindset in Swimming

  1. Indifference/Apathy- If you want to achieve your goals and improve performance, there is no room for any lack in effort.  Always put in 110% and do not feel bad for working hard.
  2. Stubbornness- Being stubborn means you are not coachable.  Being uncoachable will hinder your success. However, being open-minded will expose you to new skills and/or techniques which you may have otherwise ignored. 
  3. Pride- Confidence in yourself is a good quality, however, being overconfident may lead you to become obnoxious and prideful.  Being prideful may lead you to make unnecessary mistakes and potential embarrassment. Ask yourself, is your pride coming from a place of self-confidence and internal drive to succeed or are you holding onto a tenuous self-confidence where you must constantly “prove” yourself. No matter how good you are at swimming, there is always someone around the corner who can beat you. Maintain a humble attitude in and out of the pool and you will be a true role model for everyone.
  4. Self-Doubt- It is very easy to be overly critical toward yourself, especially after experiencing a loss or setback.  All of a sudden, from the result of a loss, or gain in time, a swimmer can start doubting their abilities.  Having a meet with one loss or a slower time can easily spiral into a “slump”. To avoid a swimmer must have short term memory of the ‘bad’ days.  Everyone has a bad race here and there. Forget about these races and focus on the skills you have mastered for your strokes.
  5. Cautiousness- Hesitation will cause us to miss out on key opportunities and allow for the opponents to take advantage in the lanes.  Instead, don’t pace yourself off another swimmer, YOU set the pace. Don’t hesitate to kick your legs harder and faster early in the race.  Swim gutsy! If your lead is over a half a body length, make if a full body length. 
  6. Perfectionism- When setting goals; you don’t want to force high expectations on yourself.  Many swimmers are too concerned with perfect hand position, head position and body position when racing.  While technique and form are details which must be practiced, each swimmers style is their own. There are no style points in swimming.  Sometimes you need to be ok with swimming aggressively, even if it is a little ugly!
  7. Over-Seriousness- You should swim because you like it and you enjoy it.  Being over-serious decreases the enjoyment of the sport and adds extra stress on yourself.  At times like this, try to remember why you began swimming in the first place. Listen to the words of Simone Manuel “I swim for myself. I love it, I have fun, and just representing my country is the greatest honor I could ever have.”