Successful athletes have to learn how to cope with a demanding schedule. They put in lots of hard work, preparation and planning to achieve their goals. They also need to cope with setbacks, learn lessons and come back stronger. As we continue our sponsorship of the Derbyshire Institute of Sport, we see more and more how similar the challenges are in the worlds of sport and business. Here’s an article written exclusively for us by swimmer Ryan Reader. He tells us how he copes with his demanding schedule.
I started swimming when I was very young. It was a safety precaution first. My parents wanted me to learn to swim so I’d be safe around water.
At first I had the usual swimming lessons for children, but I was quite good at it and enjoyed it so I started training a few times a week with City of Derby squads when I was still only five or six.
Winning the senior 5k National Open Water Championships last year was my greatest achievement to date.
Progressing through the local swimming squads has given me so many opportunities to travel the world and have all sorts of massive life experiences.
I’ve been to Zambia on a training camp and we did loads of stuff for the local area, helping in orphanages and teaching people to swim. So I’ve had the chance to do lots of positive things, not just for me.
You do get negatives with injuries and things like that, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Ultimately, I’d like to see myself on a senior GB team and just keep enjoying it and having fun.
Swimming is a sport that is very demanding. You have to get up early for training and do a lot of sessions. I train in the pool for about 20 hours a week and in the gym for about five or six hours a week.
For anyone who faces a demanding schedule, in training or in work, I’d say the best way to deal with it is to get into a routine. But at the same time, within that routine, you need to keep enjoying it and that means changing things up.
At the moment I am working part time at a school, as a lifeguard and swimming teacher and working at holiday camps as well as preparing for university.
When I’m working at the school I try to change what we are doing to keep it interesting and engaging. I try out different teaching methods and keep my mind active. Always changing and always learning helps me as well. The biggest kick for me is learning about something I’m interested in and then it doesn’t matter if it’s been a long day or not because of what I’m learning. I feed off that.
On a Friday I don’t get back from training until 11pm and if I’m up early the next morning to go to work then it’s hard to try and balance that. But that’s when being surrounded by support helps you keep the cogs moving and makes everything work. For me, my support comes from my team, my family, the Derbyshire Institute of Sport and my club. They all seem to work as one to keep everything moving fluidly.
There are times when you have a big setback and you need to take a few days to get your head round things. Then you go back and look at it and try to find the positives and then build off that. Those positives become your foundations. You say ‘This is where I am at the minute and this is where I want to get to’. Then you build a plan. If I’m at point A and I want to get to point B then I need to know how I’ll get there, so I put my rungs of the ladder in place so I can climb them one by one to finally get to the place I want to be.
I find if you do a jump that’s too big, it can be quite demoralising if you miss your target. Small steps and small achievements slowly get you back into the swing of things and finally back into your stride.
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