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  Putting the WILL in your Workout!

Printed with permission from:

Pool's Edge Column - Swimming World Magazine - January 2007

By: Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen Aquatic Edge, Inc.

Welcome to The Pools Edge, a monthly column dedicated to providing insight and information on a variety of topics to help YOU find that extra EDGE so that you can train smarter, recover quicker, race better and swim faster.

Have you ever been in this situation before? It’s nearing the end of a descending set of 8 x 100’s freestyle. However, you are maxed out by number six and can’t seem to get any faster than a 1:01. Barring leaving early on the clock (always a surefire way to get a faster time), what can you do?

Use your head and WILL your way to a faster time.

On the next repeat say to yourself “I believe I will do a 59. I will do a 59, I will do a 59, I WILL DO a 59!!”

Guess what? On the next repeat you do a 59.

Whoa! What kind of magic is this? We all know about the power of positive thinking, but how can one simple phrase “I will” to create such a huge (2 second) difference?

“Our words are powerful and full of energy,” explains Gary Quinn, a former FINA Masters World record holder, multiple best selling author and Life Coach.

“The terms "I will" and "I believe" are part of an positive and encouraging internal dialogue that reminds us of how good we are, and how we deserve to succeed and be happy,” says Quinn. “It's not life that makes us. It's what we make of life. Each swimmer can create their own positive "mantra" and through repetition, can implant that thought into their own personal belief system.”

Any level of swimmer, from beginner to elite, can use the “ I will” mental strategy to achieve success. Here are a few steps to follow when starting this process. And just like anything else, it takes time and practice for maximum benefit.

State your goal: Have a clear idea of exactly what “it” is that you want. Give your goal life by repeatedly using the phrase “I will,” not “I’d like” or “I want” or even “I’ll try.” Say your goal out loud and share it with others.

Believe: Philosopher William James once said, “Belief creates the actual fact.” Tap into your “pure potentiality”, use your energy and thoughts to make any dream come true, and KNOW that you alone have the power to make it happen.

Act as if: Use your imagination and picture yourself achieving your goal. See the time you want on the clock, hear the crowd, feel the elation, celebrate! When we act “as if,” our goals and desires stop being just thoughts, they become real.

Get out of the way: You know what you want, believe in it and can see it happen; now detach yourself from the outcome. This is a very powerful thing to do. Detachment does not mean that you don’t care, just the opposite! When you give up attachment to the result, you are letting go, embracing uncertainty and practicing “present moment awareness.” In this state of being, absolutely anything is possible.

“In each moment there is a new beginning, so learning to re-program your thinking is a must!” explains Quinn. “However, you will soon be surprised at the impact of one's awareness of thought and how those thoughts, both positive and negative, will turn into a result.”

Hmm…that means watch out for those negative thoughts, too! They also will have an end result and may even prevent you from reaching your goals.

Try this mental strategy the next time you are at the pool and in your everyday life. Think it, say it, believe it, mean it…then go out and do it! With good intent, positive energy, plenty effort and the power of “I will,” the possibilities are endless.

BIO: Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen is the 2004 World Master Swimmer of the Year and has set over 147 FINA Masters World records to date. Karlyn and her husband Eric own Aquatic Edge Inc, and last year hosted over 50 swim technique clinics and camps worldwide. For more information about Karlyn, please visit www.aquaticedge.org