The importance of focusing on your own goals during training

When training, remember to focus on your own goals.

Whether or not you participate in any competitive swimming, you most likely have some personal goals that you've set for yourself. You may want to shave a few seconds off a particular distance or improve your swimming form or turns. It's important to remember that you should always focus on yourself. Athletic training is one of the few situations where being a bit self-centered is acceptable. 

In an article on the U.S. Masters Swimming website, competitive swimmer and exercise science specialist Chris Ritter wrote that while it can be motivating to take your cues from others in the pool, it may not be wise to compare your performance. 

"You don't know how long other swimmers have been practicing or training," Ritter wrote. "In a split second, you can easily deflate your drive to achieve your goals because another swimmer surges by you in a set. Beating yourself up because you feel it shouldn't happen doesn't help you reach your own goal."

Ritter noted, however, that his advice doesn't mean that you should never push yourself or completely ignore other swimmers in the pools. Just try not to get caught up in comparing yourself to others. 

You may want to consider joining a masters club if you want to work with other swimmers. Regardless of your plans for competing, being a part of a club can help you improve in a comfortable environment. 

If you are going to train alone, here are a few tips:

  • Choose a lane based on the speed of current swimmer
  • In a crowded pool, stick to the freestyle stroke 
  • Try to keep a safe distance between you and the swimmer in front of you.

Ready to become a better swimmer? All you need to do is grab your swimsuit and Speedo swim cap and hop into the pool!