“Whatever you feel like you should do…”

I’ve never been one to give something a half ass effort. I will jump in, head first, feet first, or belly flopping. While I may not having my mental competitive skills up to par yet (if anyone can teach me how to “visualize” hit me up, I’m starting to think it’s not really a thing), I love to train. In fact over the summer at the Iowa Diving Camps, I said it was my favorite part of the sport when asked. I love putting in the hours, seeing dives change and improve within the span of an hour or a year, love feeling like I really accomplished something by the time I head to bed that night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always happy about being tired, sore, and constantly busy, but overall I’m more than happy to go to the pool every day. I wouldn’t have it any other way- why else would I be doing it if I didn’t truly enjoy the work I put in.

When it comes to practices, and competitions, I put impossibly decently high expectations on myself. Outside of the pool no one would dare describe me as a perfectionist, but inside the pool, well…guilty. I want to fix problems and I want to fix them right now. So when it comes to a new dive I learned in the late fall, that still isn’t competition ready, old insecurities started echoing in my head. It wasn’t just going poorly, I swore it was getting worse. The little voice in my head was telling me that I might never achieve my goals if I don’t fix it TODAY, and that this ONE dive is going to hold me back from everything else I had learned. Not healthy thinking, I know. I felt the stress of this dive seeping out of me ever since I came back to training in January- obsessively brainstorming ways to “fix” it. I know I had done some in the fall that were high point scoring caliber, and I felt like it had become nearly out of reach to reproduce those performances.

Fast forward to practice this morning, working on the category on 1m.

Todd: “You look like you’re trying really hard”

Me: “Uhhhhh, yeah”

Todd: “Why? You’re strong enough to make it off a concrete stand.”

Me: “I feel like if I don’t give it everything I have, I’m not going to make it. I’m going to land on my back.”

Todd: “Whatever you feel like you should do, do half. However hard you want to try, do less. You get too tense- trying too hard and trying to force it. Let it happen. Relax. Everything you want to put into this dive, cut in half. Try half as hard. Give it half the effort.”

Me: *brows crease in confusion at the thought of doing less*

I’m sure anyone who has ever seen a Disney movie or read a book can predict what happened this afternoon when I attempted the dive for the first time since last week (where I balked 8 times and may have shed tears in the shower because I was sick of smacking). After approaching the 3m with the self talk running through my head filled with “do less,” “try less,” and “40% effort,” I kid you not the dive was easier to make than any other day in my life. The first once even went flying over, with the second and third easily making it around with no balking or feelings of anxiety. Every time I hit the water my thought process was “huh.” Todd got to look proud and say “I told you so.” I’m still slightly confused as to how that worked out, but I’m trying not to question a good thing!.

I feel like I broke the laws of physics. Putting in less effort=better results. Doubting this has a strong chance of success in any other area of life, but will report back if I find ways!