That very feeling is the point I am at in my life right now. I have been defined as a competitive swimmer for the last 14 years. I started when I was 7 years old and just finished my college career this year at the age or 21. Swimming is something that as always been a constant in my life. Now that it is no longer in my life, I have had the time to look back on my four years as a collegiate athlete, and must say I gained a lot of perspective on what it means to perform at that level.
Before writing this post, I took some inspiration from Olivier Poirier-Leroy’s blog on Swim-Swam. It made me very nostalgic, especially since my swimming career is still fresh in my memory.
I have done many things in my short life so far, but my swimming career is the thing that I feel the most proud to say I accomplished. I would like to share three of the important lessons that I learned from my college career as an athlete.
1. Make sure you love the sport you do. If you choose to participate in college sport that you no longer have passion for, or no longer like doing, it is going to be a long four years. You will end up resenting the sport that you came to college to do in the first place. Then one day you will want to quit, and you will end your career on a sour note.
2. Do it for you, and no one else. I don’t know what it is like to participate in a team sport, but in my experience, I always seemed to perform better when I swam for myself and not to make anyone else happy. I that that same thing applies to every sport; if you take all the nerves and need to impress people out of the equation and just do it because it makes you happy, you will be able to perform much better than you ever imagined.
3. Make time for other thing besides practice. If all you do all the time is your sport, you will get burnt out and will begin to resent the sport that you fell in love with all those years ago. Make sure you have a balance between your athletics life and your social life. Now don’t party too hard and let your social life interfere with your performance, because that is now good either, but finding the healthy balance will allow you to be able to blow off some steam on your days off.
These are the three things that I came to realize throughout my four years as a college athlete. Some of them were hard lessons, but some of them were easy for me to learn. I hope that this advise can help you, as future athletes, make your college experience one that will stay with you for the rest of their life. Start those memories today at practice. Live everyday like it is the last day of your college career.
Image Credit: photo by Chicago Smelts on Google Images