Students and even coaches are encouraged to write within the Swim & Water Polo program. Open ended questions follow:
How did practice go today?
Was it good? — That’s sorta boring. Why was it decent, or amazing, or not. However today’s practice was for you, try to learn from it. What did you gain? Can you turn a bad practice-frown upside down? Can you capitalize on the momentum of a good workout?
What are some of the things you need to do to guarantee that you’ll have a great practice the next time you are at the pool — or even in the classroom?
What about sleep? Can you put yourself to bed early? Sleep is often the best supplement for your growth and improvement. If you are training hard, you need quality sleep too. Play hard and rest hard.
Do you have a favorite going to bed routine? A favorite pillow? Do you have a favorite blanket? How can you get two extra hours of sleep tonight? With good sleep, you recover more deeply and improve brain functions. You’ll be more focused and attentive in training and boost your immune system.
Talk about water. How about hydration? Can you drink a bunch of water today?
Do not drink the pool water, of course. But, drink from the fountain. Drink at meals. Drink from your own water bottle. Take care of it. Don’t play with it, but treat it as a valued asset to guard and consume. It’s hard to remember to drink an adequate amount of water over the course of the day. Being properly soaked with water, inside and out, makes for a great day.
Performance declines happen when you sweat and body weight drops. Cramps and headaches can be more frequent. And your rate of perceived effort goes up. That means you think your efforts are hard. Don’t make the hard workout feel harder than it has to feel. Hydrate!
Write a goal for your next practice.
Most campers walk into an activity and can only brace themselves for the challenges ahead. You can do more to prepare so you are ready to perform. Don’t just react to everything that comes you way. Be brave getting in. Decide that for yourself. Be attentive to the coaches and instructors and absorb every word they say. Start to listen to them even before they speak. Be ready to catch on what comes next.
Go to practice with a specific goal in mind. The goal doesn’t have to be crazy. Tell yourself to do extra dolphin kicks on push offs the wall. Setting yourself a little goal will give you a sense of ownership and pride in your swimming. Sit down with some paper or onto the web site or tablet and make a training journal note. Write what you are going to accomplish tomorrow.
Tell the world a few things you are grateful for.
As you communicate your ideas about the things in your life you are grateful for, you’ll find that you’re doing one of the best stress-busting techniques ever. Keep perspective. Be grateful.
Writing down a few things you are grateful helps us stay positive.
Pick one piece of self-talk you want to change.
Becoming a mentally tougher is a challenge. Learning how to struggle without quitting. Press on when your heart and chest are telling you to take a break. Use visualization to help remind ourselves what we were saying to ourselves in these battles. What can we do for ourselves to be better for the next competition?
One thing you can do now and write about is to pick a piece of self-talk to use at practice tomorrow.
Controlling your self-talk is one of the biggest steps in developing a tougher, high-performance mindset.
What are some of the things you have said to yourself or others during tough practices in the pool? What negative things went through your mind? Write it out, and do some mental judo to give that negative self-talk a positive tone.
“I’m tired and I don’t feel like I can go faster…”
“I’m tired, but so is everyone else. Let’s give the next play an awesome effort and take things from there.”
Write about the future and explain what tomorrow’s great workout can look like.
Visualization and imagination are big concepts that can be used to improve yourself. Just “daydream” about your swimming. Then daydream about tomorrow’s time at the pool. Instead of goofy daydreaming, take control of it.
Spend a few minutes visualizing what you want your stroke to feel like in pool tomorrow. See in your mind’s eye, the top-of-the-water, clean, smooth energy with your arms and legs. Picture your body zooming along the surface.