Ending the “beginner” phase

Whenever you start a new sport, unless it is very similar to another one you already know, improvement comes in fits and starts.  Especially when you are new to a sport, the only way to get the muscle memory to improve steadily is to work through those early days and train steadily.  Many sports tease you with major improvements in the beginning and then plateau you for a while.  But the cure for plateaus is the same as basic improvement.  Consistency and persistence.  Stay the course and practice.

It had been a long time since I could say I started a totally new sport.  The last one I could think of was roller hockey.  So when I jumped in the pool for the first time EVER to do anything other than splash around, it was daunting.  I knew that I would suck.  And the only way to decrease the suckage was to just stay at it.  Now, after 3 months of swimming consistently 3 days a week and taking a couple of lessons, I think I am finally over the “beginner’s hump” and am seeing some significant improvements.

My form is not as bad as I thought.  My technique is not Michael Phelps, but it’s also not drowning cat either.  But by keeping a plan in mind and trying to work on something specific EVERY LAP, I have to say that I am pleased with my performance.  I feel strong in the water now and while I can’t say I glide through the water effortlessly yet, I can sense the difference.  I also no longer feel completely exhausted, but rather invigorated (albeit tired) after my swims.  I want to do more.  Today I almost added a couple hundred yards to my workout because I felt like I could do more.  I only resisted because it is not a part of my plan at this point.  That is a good feeling to have.


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