Anxiety: “A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome” (oxford dictionary). Not so great when you are learning some drills when swimming. You don’t quite get what is happening until someone shows you the same drill, just in another position. Front versus back. Doesn’t seem to be so much going on here, but there is.
You start understanding when you are comparing your front from your backstroke to realize that there are up to 10 strokes difference between the two of them … every 25 metres … how interesting and what a wake up call.
Swimming may not mean a lot to you. That being said, anxiety is not only limited to that sport. In running, let’s say you have two courses, same level of elevation but different terrain. One is cross-country and one is road running. Which one would you run faster? If you are new to running in the trail, how would you feel if you had to go through a technical piece that frightens you? You can always slow down, right? Not everyone wants to lower the pace … what about transitioning from riding solo to a pack? There must be something that gets you out of your comfort zone, which scares you, right?
What I find to be helpful is someone that will help you recognize that, in my case, the drill makes you feel anxious. That feeling can definitely affect the quality of your workout and that is why it needs to be addressed if you wish to grow as an athlete at heart. Taking a step back to face those small but significant obstacles will help you leap forward in the long run.
I must say that having a great swimming coach as part of my support team to help me address those issues has helped me greatly. The fact that he is also studying in counselling is a bonus in helping myself and others learn, in my opinion. He made me recognize that I had an obstacle with the help of one of his swimming drills that made me realize how swimming the front crawl was inefficient because of my breathing anxiety and that there were tools for me to get more comfortable in the water.
I have to admit, there is still a lot of work to be done with the breathing anxiety when dealing with the front crawl but I am one step closer to getting through this because someone helped me recognize that.
Do you have a coach helping you out with your sporting endeavors? I find that sometimes getting someone from the outside, shedding light on some of our barriers and someone that actually helps us going through them in one piece is very beneficial.
Do you have barriers in your sport? What makes you get out of that comfort zone? My last question to you is this: do you have any tricks to get through those barriers or do you just avoid them?