“Why am I not getting faster?”
“Could I be overtraining and need to ease off a bit?”
“How do I build motivation?”
“What can I do better?”
Training the mind is just as important for an athlete to master as physical training. Writing a Journal is crucial to your performance as it helps you to evaluate, reflect, adapt and make changes. It can help you to develop a greater understanding and a wider knowledge about what you are trying to achieve, helping you to break through barriers, get faster, stronger and more experienced at what you do. It will also help you review what went wrong previously or indeed understand what went right so you can put the same conditions and experiences into practice again and again.
Not only does writing a Journal help you to learn more about your training and racing strategies but it develops motivation and positivity and helps you to learn so much more about yourself both in and out of the sport.
Benefits to writing a Journal:
1. Keeps you on track. There is no point setting goals and then not monitoring how you are progressing – that's like a company setting a budget for the next 12 months and not keeping a regular check on how monthly expenditure and income is going and where, if necessary, changes need to happen. By writing things down, what you are doing, how you felt, what you could improve allows you to keep on track and make adjustments along the way, making you more likely to achieve your goals as a result.
2. Builds Motivation. Journalling encourages you to train and to develop other aspects of your sport (mindset, race prep, nutrition, etc). The more you look at your training and racing the more you can develop motivation and determination.
3. Boosts Positivity. A journal helps you review past performances, both good and bad. What you should learn to do is take positives from both; relish and remember what went well in the good performances and any tactics that worked so you can apply them again in the future. And with poor performances, learn from any mistakes and make sure you address them during training to prevent them happening again. Most successful athletes not only make more mistakes because they are willing to push themselves beyond their limits but their success comes from learning from those mistakes they make to make them stronger and more efficient athletes.
4. Gives you a greater understanding. Having a focus and writing about it can give you more understanding about you, your mindset and your ability. Use your support team to your advantage (coaches, family, and friends to develop more understanding and learn to love feedback to improve your performances!).
5. Prevents Overtraining. When you understand your training cycles and the effects they can have on your body, you can adapt your training by tracking how you are doing and if things need adapting to prevent overtraining.
And finally....it’s also a great place to offload! Sometimes the simple act of writing things down that are on your mind is a great way to diffuse any situation and lessen its importance. Clearing the head daily of any junk is a great way to reset and move on and writing things down can be a great way of doing this.
These are just some of the reasons why Katy Sexton MBE kept swim diaries throughout her 15 year career, which were instrumental to her Olympic, World, & Commonwealth success.
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