Practice Makes Perfect

So as everyone now knows, I’ve started to do swimming. Starting something new in anything will reveal to you a lot about yourself that you might not have known before. I have learned so much not only about swimming but also about myself and my life. I was quite surprised to learn this information just by swimming and found it to be quite refreshing.

Practice makes perfect. We all know this. If you want to be good at anything, you have to first work at it. Somewhere along the lines I forgot that practicing can really suck. You can fall off the wagon a lot…I mean, A LOT.

There were a few swim practices I had where I just totally sucked. I had my lesson and then went back a day or two later to practice all that I’ve learned and I don’t know what happened in those days because when I got in the pool it was as if my body just decided to not listen to my brain one bit… or maybe it was the other way around. But there was just a whole mess of what one could only assume to be swimming going on in the pool.

At times, I came home very disappointed after what had just happened. I felt like it was going to take me forever to progress and I would be stuck on the same strokes time and time again.

The lifeguards on duty probably thought of me as a lost cause to swimming.

But I persisted! I kept at it and I kept trying. I would slow down my stokes, break them down, go through the motions outside of water and then put them in the water and tried again.

The most liberating aspect of practicing is that you can really goof off on it and it’ll be okay. I mean, you’re free to try some really wild things while you’re practicing because, hey!, it’s practice.

Keep in mind that I’m not competing or anything of that nature, I’m just working on this for pure fun. But my sessions are more concentrated on the mechanics of strokes, breathing, turns, etc. In practice I can try out different turns that might work better for me while in action.

Somewhere in between the failed attempts and the liberation of trying out new ideas, practice is rather fun. When I have one of my ‘failed’ practices, I try to figure out why. Was it something I did in the pool or was it my mindset due to factors outside the pool? What could I have done different? What questions do I have for my teachers at the next class?

By thinking all of this through, I can better prepare for my next class and get the most out of it. All of that wouldn’t be possible unless I had gone to the practice in the first place.

I can remember when I was younger and took piano lessons. I HATED practice. I was going ridiculously slow and I never wanted to do it because it was boring. I was just looking at these dots on a page and when I played (since it was so slow) it never really sounded like a song but rather just a weird combination of notes. This was very detrimental to my already lacking desire to practice.

I eventually quit.

But with these swimming lessons, I have teachers who are really passionate about and it’s contagious. I see them get excited and I get excited too. When I see them do the stroke, it looks as if they are poetry in motion. They glide with the water as if it’s a dance. It’s incredibly beautiful.

It’s inspiring to me during my practices and I keep them as my focus.

Then, I’ll have a really good practice day. I’ll get in the water and I’ll swim as if it were the most natural movement in the world for me to do. If anyone has seen the breast stroke, you’ll know that is no way natural looking. But when I get in and can finally do it – and do it right – after what seems like 1,000 failures, it’s the most exhilarating moment. I get so ecstatic and thrilled I could probably hug the person in the next lane. It’s due to the prior practice sessions that this moment was made possible. It’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

So while my practice sessions may not always be stellar, I definitely feel like practice makes perfect and it can be seen in those wonderful moments of success. I’ll continue my practices and hope that I continue to improve as well and keep aiming for those glorious moments and hope they keep on coming!

 

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