Performance Lessons From the Pool

by Pool Builders on 07-01-2013 in Articles

Last weekend I made the effort to get up early and get to the Lido for some swimming training before it got too busy.

As I happily made my way up and down the pool, feeling that my training was going well, I was overtaken by a fellow swimmer who was really motoring. Instinctively I increased the pace a bit but to no avail. My technique soon became compromised and I was just getting more tired without making up much ground.

In the past this would have been frustrating. These days I'm much more pragmatic about how to make improvements so, rather than thrash away, I waited for a convenient moment and asked him the secret of his speed. He gave me some really good advice and even took a look at my swimming so he could recommend any technical changes.

His advice reminded me of three vital strategies, essential for success with fitness, leadership, management and decision making.

1. Spend time on planning as well as action
At the weekend, slowing down to focus on my technique made my swimming faster and more efficient. The same is true for the day to day routine for most people at work. No matter how busy you are, protect time to review what's going on to ensure you're working effectively and not just working hard.

2. Learn from others
Don't expect to have all the answers. There is always someone you can learn from, even if it's your competition. If someone does something in a way that you'd like to do it, find out the strategies they apply and modify them for your own use.

3. Run your own race
Stay focused on your agenda and make sure that all your behaviour is focused towards your end goals. Talking to my fellow swimmer was of great value to me, not least because I found out that he's training for a much shorter event than me, hence the focus on all out speed. If I'd spent my swim simply trying to catch him I'd have ruined a valuable training session.

A quick pause for thought resulted in some useful advice for my swimming, the context in which to apply this advice, and a training session that ended up being time really well spent. A good reminder that no matter what goes on around you, having a clear objective by which to make considered decisions will always make you more effective.

So whether your aim is faster swimming, delivering a great presentation or completing a demanding project with a tight schedule, take time regularly to ensure your strategy is correct so that all your actions and the efforts of your colleagues are directed towards success.

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