As an athlete and coach of synchronized swimming, the art of consistency is a very powerful tool. Maintaining consistency in your training and performances as an athlete is the number one way you can take control of your success in this sport, build trust with teammates and coaches, and accurately evaluate your performances.
Starting with a basic list of routine and figure standards is where you will all want to begin. E.g. Hips dry in our back layouts, shoulders dry in our eggbeater etc. Are the standards clear, well communicated, measurable, and achievable?
Once established, the standards do not change until you have evaluated them. Your coaches, following competitions or big performances complete evaluations: these evaluations must be based on the standards created. Were your hips dry in the layout? Yes, or no?
Striving for your personal and/or team standards is especially important when you’re at competitions and see your competitors. Athletes – I see you do this all the time: sitting and watching your competition during a figure competition. Are they doing something that you are now going to do for the first time in front of the judges? A lot of the time, yes that is exactly what you are thinking about doing.
Please don’t do that!
Know that your coaches are highly educated professionals! If they wanted you to do that fancy thing that your competitor just did, you would have trained that in practice – over and over and over again to perfect it before it went into your personal plan to complete that figure successfully.
What are the odds that fancy thing you just saw for the first time and are now planning on trying for the first time in front of a group of judges will be successful?
Consistency does not come from reaction, stress or panic. Consistency does not come from worrying about the outcome of your performances. Consistency certainly does not come from rash decision-making.
Consistency is built like a foundation to a house: education prior to the planning, communication of the detailed plan, execution of the plan, constant evaluation and communication during construction, inspection and evaluation after competition, and finally, important changes made prior to building another story to the house.
Do you know what standards you are trying to achieve for each figure you compete? Each routine you swim? Make sure you know them, have them in your goal books, and most importantly strive to achieve them every day.
That’s the art of consistency.
Photo Credit: Lisa Whitton