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One ridiculous drill

The drill was slightly ridiculous.

Or perhaps it just looked that way.

Thankfully there were few people at the pool and the far lane was open with no one nearby. That meant I could look ridiculous, uncoordinated and splash all over the place without disturbing anyone else.

Swim workouts are cycling through a series of drills all designed to help with some specific aspect of the stroke -- or the kick.

This particular one was dubbed the "water polo drill." New to me, I faithfully looked at the video clip before heading off to the pool, took a deep breath and tried it.

And ... this is hard.

The drill involves swimming for half a length of the pool with your arms wide and head out of water -- like a water polo player (hence the name). For the second half of the length, you are supposed to put your head down and swim to the wall without taking a breath.

But swimming with my head out water was difficult. It hurt my neck. And my shoulders burned. And I had trouble keeping my face out of the water. Then came the second half -- and holding my breath during multiple strokes is something I'm not very talented at.

So that didn't work so well.

I tried though. I kept at it and did as many as I could, regardless of how ugly they were. Once I felt myself completely losing form, I moved to other drills.

The idea behind the water polo drill is to keep your arms wide and prevent them from crossing over in front of your face. That's what I concentrated on the entire workout, even as I moved onto other drills and laps of plain swimming.

Frankly, there was some frustration and a big dose of, "I just can't do this." That's a line of thinking that hasn't crept into my brain in some time. At least not with the kind of power that had me considering just getting out of the pool and telling my coach in no uncertain terms I just can't do that drill.

But that was a choice I was making. I chose to believe that I couldn't do the drill. Then I chose to believe the drill wasn't helping me at all.

The great thing is that we get to choose again.

Instead of choosing to focus on what was difficult and painful, I shifted my thinking to what was positive and possible. My stroke was getting better, just by trying new things. My catch would be wide. The stumble of the first few times would mean that I could get better at it. My shoulders were getting stronger.

Perfect? Not even close. Not even close to a perfect attitude when I finished the hour workout and got out of the water.

But it was better.

I made it through. Survived. Modified when needed to. The session was still useful and successful and the world still rotated on its axis. 

There are times after difficult workouts where the thought occurs that my skill level might be regressing.

But is it possible to regress? After learning and living and being aware, can we really move backward?

Or does all movement bring us closer to our goals, our dreams and ultimately hour happiness?

If it's in how we think that creates our reality, I choose to believe that we're always moving forward, regardless of how ridiculous it may look at the time.

--- Amy Moritz
Follow Journey to the Finish line on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amymoritz

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