Twenty Things to do NOW if you want to Win Gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

By Wayne Goldsmith | In Swimmers

1. Start training – today!

Every day – every session – every lap is an opportunity to improve something: your skills, your speed, your fitness, your technique, your pacing, your breathing control….get in there and start working towards London…. today.

2. Believe anything is possible.

Imagine Phelps on the blocks about to swim the first heat of his first event in Beijing. Can you imagine him thinking, “Wow – I don’t think I can do this. It’s going to be too hard. I will never beat the “Sptiz” record”. No way! Winning in London in 2012 means believing you can do it right now!

3. Challenge yourself – everyday

To win in London, you need to be thinking like, acting like, working like a London Olympian now. Many swimmers think they will “build” their performance over the next four years. In fact, it’s the reverse. Think, act, behave and be like the London Gold Medallist now.

4. Get enthusiastic

Be excited. Get loud. Be passionate. This is your dream. Get enthusiastic and make it happen.

5. And then infect some others with your enthusiasm

Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching? Nothing will help you stay focused on achieving your dream more than the company of other people who are just as excited about it as you are.

6. Do some research – understand where your event (and the sport is going)

What’s the current world record in your event? What was it five years ago? Who won the Gold Medal in your event in Atlanta? In Sydney? In Athens? In Beijing? Learn as much as you can about the history of your event to help you understand what you may have to do to win in the future.

7. Improve your skills

There is no doubt that starts, turns, dives, finishes and underwater work have improved at an incredible rate in the past ten years – can you imagine where they will be in four years? Work on your skills every day. If you are swimming 50 – 100 – 200 metres make skills practice the core of your every workout, i.e. skills first….swimming strokes second! It’s that important!

8. Stay on top of changes in equipment, etc

Make sure you know exactly what is happening with changes in training equipment, supplements, training ideas, changes to suits, etc – do not be left “on the blocks” in the technology race.

9. Find a coach who wants to win in London as much (or more) than you do

You will need a coach to help you achieve your London goals. Find one who is passionate about winning – and wants to win in London. Together you will be unstoppable.

10. Plan

“Don’t fail to plan….you know the rest. You need to put in place a London 2012 plan. Include training, competitions and recovery time and don’t forget important stuff like school terms, exams, etc.

11. Be as committed and professional out of the water as you are in the water

When you are in the water – train like a London gold medal winner! But also eat like, sleep like, think like, dress like and recover like a Gold Medallist. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

12. Get your family to come along for the ride

Ian Thorpe’s mum! Michael Phelp’s mum! How important are mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandmas, granddads and friends to swimming success? Priceless.

13. Find something else – other than swimming – to be passionate about

The best swimmers can “switch off” – turn off their minds and enjoy other activities. Being able to switch off refreshes your mind, re-energises your spirit and re-vitalises your body. Get passionate about another sport or reading or going to the movies or music…anything you enjoy doing. What you do when you are not swimming – can often help your swimming as much as training or racing or going to the gym.

14. Improve your underwater stuff

Underwater kick is now the fifth stroke. (There is no doubt at some stage somebody will suggest underwater races). But until then think about what you do underwater as just as important as what you do above water.

15. Learn to deal with tough times

No Olympic campaign is easy. Sometimes you will be injured. Occasionally you will lose races. Often your muscles will be sore and you will always be tired. Learn to deal with the tough times and come through them tougher and stronger than ever.

16. Get tough physically

With the introduction of Semi finals you need to be able to race fast more often. Chances are you may have to go close to the world record in London just to make the semi finals and then break it to get an inside lane in the final!

When training gets tough – learn to love it. Enjoy the “burn”. The price you pay to be the best in the world is the hard work you do each day.

17. And even tougher mentally

What do all Olympic champions have in common? They are tough under pressure and calm and composed at competitions. Spend just five minutes a day working on your mental skills: relaxation, focus and control over emotional stress and you can do anything.

18. Clearly understand who you are.

Spend some time really thinking about who you are, why you want to win in the Olympics, what your strengths and weaknesses are and what you need to do to improve to be the best you can be. In the end, you have to do it your way – but you need to understand what your way is!

19. Race regularly

Embrace the race! There are opportunities to learn lessons through racing that you just cannot learn in training. Learn to love racing. Chase opportunities to challenge yourself in meets. Seek to race faster swimmers to extend yourself. Embrace the race!

20. Learn a lesson a day

Start a diary. Write down one lesson you learnt today. And every day, write down a new lesson – a lesson a day. Over the next four years you will have enough lessons to win ten gold medals.

Remember – mistakes are not fatal– mistakes are opportunities for motivated, positive people to learn, improve and progress.

So good luck in 2012 – I will be the first guy to come down and shake your hand when you succeed.

Wayne Goldsmith

© 2011, Wayne Goldsmith. All rights reserved.

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