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We could all use a coach.

Posted on January 10, 2018 at 9:05 PM

A few months ago I was inspired to go to the pool. I really love swimming and it had been quite some time since I had put on my suit. In my head, I was going to do laps in great form and then get into tip-top, stealth-like shape.

Day 1:

Get to the recreation centre. Pay the fee. Change, shower, stretch, get in the water. Before I get even halfway, I am out of breath and have to take a rest. I go back and forth doing, poorly formed strokes and gasping for air.

I check out the other swimmers in the lanes (while I am resting between laps). I am thoroughly impressed by their form. I do a few more laps,taking a rest at each end of the pool. A lifeguard with short grey hair and an athletic frame asks if I am okay. “Sure, I am doing okay” I reply. At the end of my first session by 8:00 a.m, I head to the change room, still breathing deeply. I barely feel strong enough but manage to take a shower and get dressed.

Day 2:

Similar to Day 1 only difference is that I feel my back hurting and I am catching a cold. End of swimming.

A few weeks later I decided to head back to the pool.

The grey-haired lifeguard is there again. We chat for a while and she is really friendly. I get into the pool and start doing my laps. It’s like déjà vu. I am struggling to breathe and resting at each end of the pool. After about the 5th lap the lifeguard asks me how I am feeling. I say okay. She gives me a few suggestions about my breathing.

  • Stay relaxed in the water, while doing my strokes.
  • Take a deep inhale from my diaphragm breathing in through my mouth, turning my head to the side.
  • With my head underwater, breathe out through my nose. Fully exhale.
  • While exhaling underwater through my nose, tilt my chin towards my chest. This will prevent the air bubbles from blurring my vision under water.
  • I repeat what she says to confirm I understand and then I try what she suggested.

Result: I complete a full length of the pool. I don’t feel tired. In fact, I feel exhilarated. I did it. At the other end, she asks how I feel. Without gasping for air I say awesome. She also tells me that when I get to the end of the lap if I feel tired take a deep breath in then submerge my body down underwater while breathing out through my nose. I try it and again I am feeling great. The rest of the session goes really well. I feel Olympic good. (It does not take much for my imagination to go wild.)

At 8:00a.m I get out of the pool and thank the lifeguard profusely for her wisdom and kindness. What a difference her encouragement and insight had on my performance in the water. In a short time, I improved so quickly. This has implications for other areas of my life. Here is why;

  • The right coach has a sincere desire to share her expertise and help you improve.
  • Through active listening and paying attention, she is able to decipher where assistance is needed
  • The information and guidance from a coach can save time and unnecessary struggle.
  • The objective perspective of a coach gives her the ability to identify where improvement is required, though this may not be obvious to us.
  • A coach is willing to address the fact that with some instruction I could perform at a higher level
  • A coach can lead us to acknowledge what we may not be willing to acknowledge and guide us to see for ourselves where change is required.
  • Reflecting on the information from a coach, applying the instruction and taking immediate action helps you to learn faster and become better in a short period of time.

Sometimes we feel like we have to go it alone in our pursuit to learn new skills and develop our talents. We don’t! There are always individuals who have already mastered what we want to become good at and they are willing to help us grow. Sure there is a price to pay to improve, and we are worth the time, effort and money it costs to help us build a life which makes us proud.

Is there an area that you would like to improve your level of performance? Consider a coach and take action.

Be strong. Loving. Fearless.

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