Negativity: A Swim Team’s Cancer
Negativity: A Swim Team’s Cancer – Photo/MLyn

Negativity: A Swim Team’s Cancer

 By SwimmerJoe 


This sucks!

I feel like crap!

What the heck is coach doing?

Dude, we are going to stink this weekend.

Over the years, I have heard all of these complaints. It is like putting fuel on a nerve-racking psychological fire.

So many times less-confident athletes bring down the entire team. They’re not feeling confident. They don’t have “that feel” in the water. So, it’s easy for them; they just say something negative because they want to bring everyone else down to their miserable level. These sour athletes want to invite people to the pity party.

Negativity passes through a team like a strong-flowing river. It can run through a team in just a day or two, easily!

Words are very harmful to the innocent followers, and the team leaders who can stand up to this river are few and far between. But leaders are needed to deal with this difficult problem.

So, I want to take a moment to talk the coaches, swimmers and parents through all of this.

Coaches – Talk to your team about the power of speaking positively.

Coaches, you know who I am talking about. Yes, it’s worth a sit down with them. It may even be your “leaders” that are negative. I have seen it before. But even if it’s not, negativity is a virus that must be rooted out.

Your strength as a coach is your ability to help young athletes though this. This will help them with the rest of their swimming career, as well as their life at home and at school and then work.

Create an atmosphere of believers and positive thinkers. Your actions are very contagious. As you know, coaches, athletes can actually swim fast while sore – we all have done it!

Swimmers – How can you cure your swimming cancer?

Talk to your coach – Let them know your swimming problems in private. No matter what you think, they can help. They have been through anything you are going through, ten times at least, and they will help you get you through it.

Continue to visualize your races, visualize your preparation, and visualize your greatness.

Tell yourself how fast you are going to go, also let your self know how good you feel. This feeling is absolutely a state of mind.

Tell your teammates they look good in workout, and help boost their self-esteem. Karma will come around for you, don’t worry.

Lastly become a believer. Be a believer in your training, a believer in your coach, and a believer in your awesome ability.

You have no idea how good you can really be. If you have an iron clad, strong mind, your lifelong goals won’t be goals for very long, they will be your greatest athletic achievements.

Parents – Be supportive, try not to coach. 

A clean mind is a healthy mind!

The reason I say this is because they are young athletes who are impressionable. They will listen to you because you are their parents, but the only person they really should be listening to about their races is their coach. (Sorry, parents. Your only job is to be positive, even in the face of overwhelming negativity.)

If the coach tells your athlete something, then you say something different to your child, then your spouse says something different, just imagine the mix up in a very fragile mind of an athlete!

Imagine having 3-4 bosses at work telling you something different for the same task. How would that go?

Trust the coach. The vast majority of them have been to the elite level, which means they have not only been coached by the best, but they also have been through all the trials and tribulations of the entire career of swimmers, which is immeasurable. They have also been through years of athletes. Some have even been coaching longer than you have been a parent!

So coaches, swimmers, parents – Go confidently into your greatness, believe in yourself as a communicative coach, positive thinking swimmer and supportive parent.

So, if you have swimming’s version of that negative sickness, cure it now.


Reach SwimmerJoe at

SwimmerJoe is Joe Auer, an award winning blogger, writes at, for Florida Swim Network, and for the International Swim Coaches Association at