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Swimming left me drained

A teenage boy dreads the thought of competitive swimming again. Does he have to go back?

Not if it feels like a chore, says our elder. Find something that makes your heart soar instead.

Dear EWC

I have always been a strong swimmer but was never a competitive swimmer. Recently I joined one of the clubs in my area and made great improvements. The coach was really pushing me because he saw that I had potential and my parents were pushing me to. The problem was I was drained, mentally and physically. My grades started to drop and I had no energy whatsoever. I had a friend in the program and that was a big help but he is done with swimming now and I ended up quitting and just swimming with my high school. I still did good but that’s over now and I am feeling split. I feel like returning would be what everyone wants and with two more years of high school I could potentially be at a level where (full) scholarships could be on the table but every time I think about going back I just dread the thought. I don’t want to wake up every morning being tired and thinking about how the afternoon will suck. My grades were also something I always took pride I but now they are not at my standards and I don’t know what to do.

Green-Man replies

Being a good swimmer is just that. It does not make you a racer and it does not win scholarships. To be any kind of racer you need the desire and motivation from the inside, the kind of motivation that gets you up at 5am to go training when everyone else is in bed! You don’t sound as if you have that, indeed most people don’t! Without that when the going gets tough, as it will, you will want to give up and then you will, and in that you will think badly of yourself. Trying to be a racer when it is not your own desire and motivation is to set yourself up for failure, don’t do it.

Be a swimmer, enjoy swimming, but save your ‘training and racing energies’ for something that makes your heart lift, something that you really want to excel in, until then enjoy swimming and don’t make it a chore.

I hope that helps, do come back with any comments or questions that may help on this or indeed any other topic, we will always be pleased to hear from you.

Best Regards,

Elder Green-Man

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