Buildings require a strong foundation to remain upright. Swimmers require a strong mental foundation to succeed, and confidence is an essential component.
Many people view confidence as an elusive quality that some fortunately possess and other’s not. In truth, all of us were born with a full helping of confidence, but unfortunately it diminished over time due to the trials and tribulations of life. Each time we made a mistake were ridiculed or teased, neglected, unfairly criticized or made to feel ashamed our confidence shrank. A lack of confidence puts a stranglehold on our lives and severely limits our potential.
Many swimmers know little about the important role confidence plays in peak performance. I find this very sad as confidence is the catalyst of great achievement. To reap the benefits that confidence delivers, swimmers must make confidence-building a top priority. Perhaps the famous poem, “The Man Who Thinks He Can” by Walter D. Wintle will underscore my point:
If you think you’re beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but think you can’t
It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all a state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself
Before you can ever win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.