“A well-deserved victory is always of great importance, but it is much more important to never forget the lessons that defeat has given us.” – Bill Gates!
In this statement, which belongs to one of the richest people in the world and just a brilliant businessman, so much is painfully familiar to every swimmer!
It’s just embarrassing. Tears well up in your eyes, and you want to fall on the shoulder of your native coach and sob, but instead of pity, she silently hands you a tablet with a task to hitch. She understands everything, she knows that now you need not only to buy, but also to recover, so you also silently wander, hanging your head and lowering your shoulders, into the warm-up bath and slide into the water like pasta.
Such emotions are very difficult to experience, but experiencing them for the reasons described above is absolutely normal, because this is part of the thorny path of a real winner.
Any of the famous swimmers who have ever stepped on the Olympic podium, more than once or twice experienced flashes of such feelings, knocking down no worse than a knockout, but they always got up from their knees and continued to move on to the Olympus of world swimming with lifeguard class. Therefore, there is no need to think that you are the only one of your kind who has this heavy emotional burden on his shoulders. Chin up! As soon as everything inside you more or less calms down, you will understand that all this was nothing but a useful lesson. I’ll tell you why:
Failure is your best chance to correct your course for success .
Defeats inevitably force us to pay close attention to how carefully we prepared and how hard we trained. Questions arise: how many workouts have you missed? Can you honestly say that the quality and diligence of the work you have done is fully consistent with your ambitious goals and the size of your expectations? Results, good or bad, are just small steps on a long road leading you to success. Therefore, in moments when you are annoyed and frustrated with your seconds, you have only two choices: continue to do everything the same as before, hoping to someday achieve the same results. Or, having made the necessary conclusions, change in the necessary direction and thereby help yourself achieve success with the same goal, but in a slightly longer perspective. As Confucius said: “If the goal is unattainable. Don’t change your target. Change the way you achieve it.”
In addition, the value of the competition is far from getting beautiful glitter and cute soft toys. Competitions – there is always the most impartial assessment of the level of your preparation and fitness. Use the findings to adjust the course you are on and find the next step that will allow you to rise to the level you want to be. If your results say you need to train more, go ahead! If they signal that you need to work on your technique, come on! All in your hands!
Any disappointments play into your hands. Sooner or later you will understand this .
The best swimmers of our time have achieved their results not only due to continuous victories. They take their place in the world record tables due to the fact that they were able to endure and overcome much more fears, doubts and disappointments than everyone else. Truly amazing things begin to happen to you when you realize that defeat is a powerful tool, fuel for your future victories, and not a dark streak of despondency and soul-searching that prevents you from building a sports career. You become less and less afraid of failure. You can more easily endure the emotional burden that falls along with them on your shoulders. It’s strange, but sometimes you even wait for them, in order to illuminate them like a signal rocket in the darkness and see all your minuses and shortcomings that need to be corrected. Because defeat doesn’t scare you the way it used to, and also due to the fact that they most often make you look back at the past and, after analyzing your mistakes, choose a different tactic, they are a kind of “afterburner” for the engine of your success, because all that remains for you is either for a while retreat, rethink everything and rush into battle again, or completely abandon their plans. But you will definitely choose the first one!
Failure builds your emotional resilience .
Probably, my words will seem very strange to you, but in the moments when you are faced with another failure, you actually experience the most positive and rewarding experience. Defeat makes us more selective emotionally.
We learn and learn from the hardships we have experienced. As a result, we become more patient and calmly take on the hard, monotonous work we are accustomed to, without which neither we ourselves, nor our teammates, nor anyone else can see significant success, like our own ears. In other words, we gain valuable experience by subtly delving into the meaning of the saying that says: “Water drop by drop wears away a stone.”
We learn the meaning of the word – humility. At first, this feeling can prick you very painfully, but it is due to it that we learn to identify our own shortcomings and appreciate our strengths. Humility and developed self-awareness are very good qualities.
Defeats are a way of self-motivation .
Another strange, at first glance, thought is that sometimes only defeats can open you the shortest path to achieving your goal. However, there is a considerable amount of truth in this judgment. If several times during the season you have experienced the bitterness of defeat, do not rush to waste the magnificent gifts given to you by life experience. You can throw thunder and lightning in all directions, desperately lamenting and indignant, but you can also collect all these outlandish emotional monsters – anger, hatred, rage and anger and make them work for you by channeling their atomic energy into a productive workout. Michael Phelps is a classic example of this. Every time he fails a swim or unexpectedly loses to one of his principal rivals, all we see on his face is thoughtfulness and calmness, testifying to the intensive process of introspection that has begun inside; this stone mask is a full-fledged expression of his anger, due to which he will pile on in training two, five, ten times harder and put all his strength into ensuring that such an unfortunate misunderstanding does not happen again in the future. You can use the energy of your emotions to move forward, or you can sit and think endlessly, destroying yourself from the inside. The choice is yours!
Then you just weren’t ready to win yet .
Yes, this phrase is painful to hear, but throughout my entire sports career I myself have come across this unpleasant fact more than once. We often think that this is a huge sweet piece of success, very close and goes straight into our hands by itself. In full confidence that we have done absolutely everything that is possible to achieve it, we sit back and open our mouths wide!
Sometimes just to get a good punch in the teeth and close it. Close it for a long time and not open it, gritting your teeth from hard and hard work. Progress, at times, creeps painfully slowly forward, too slow for our spoiled ambition and excessive expectations. But progress is progress and, like everything in this universe, it moves at a certain speed for itself. Find out how fast you can progress and gradually get ready to take your next step, after which there will be another and another.
Does everything written above mean that in the new swimming season you should tune in to only one defeat?
Of course not – start the new season successfully and, no matter what happens, do not lose confidence in yourself! Leave the desire to jump right into the quarry and look at what you are doing as a rough diamond, endlessly requiring cutting, polishing and constant improvements.
The purpose of this article is not to create an opinion that losing is good, no, and no, but rather to give you the idea that any defeat can help you achieve your intended goal, you just have to want it. As you struggle with the emotional consequences of another unexpected failure, always keep in mind that any defeat used as a tool of self-motivation has only a limited duration, and therefore it is worth using it in a timely manner.
Yes, failures can really shed light on the parts of your system that are malfunctioning or not working at full capacity, but their real value is that more often failures highlight things that you really do very well. Achieving results is not so easy, especially in swimming.
And the chance to lose is always very high, even for the coolest professionals and champions. But all this does not mean that defeat should become something ordinary and familiar. Learn to deal with it properly, understand how to use it for your own benefit. And believe in your strength, clearly define your goal and move towards it, Champion!