Talent is Harder to Hide than it is to Find.

swimming poolWhen looking for the characteristics, traits and abilities that may indicate a swimmer’s talent, the most obvious things to look for are the physical ones.

However, swimmers with real physical talent are harder to hide than they are to find!

How many times have you been to a Swim Meet and seen the ten year old who is built like a fifteen year old blitz the opposition and break the Meet record? Finding physical talent in very talented swimmers is like telling people you discovered the Pacific Ocean-someone was going to find it sooner or later – hiding it would have been a far greater challenge!

And…ultimately, physical talent is only one indicator – and not a particularly good one – of performance potential.

It’s more than merely muscle.

Real talent is a far more complex thing than merely muscles, tendons, nerves, blood and ligaments. It’s an integration of mind, body and spirit: a combination of physical, mental, technical, tactical, genetic, cultural and personality factors that come together in a pair of swimming costumes that may one day break the World record or win the Olympic Gold Medal.

So what are the Top Ten Talent ID Techniques for Swimming: how do you find the most talented swimmers in the talent pool?:

  1. Parents – (genetic material): choose your parents carefully;
  2. Parents- a supporting, loving, caring environment, where parents or carers provide a swimmer’s core needs in nutrition, time management, sleep, rest, education and family support;
  3. The Ability to learn fast – learn more in a shorter period of time = faster progression and improvement;
  4. The Ability to deal with difficulty, adversity and change – the path to greatness is never straight or smooth. Many Olympic Gold medalists have had to endure set-backs, surgery, illness and disappointment and fight hard to achieve their dreams;
  5. Physical talent- you have to have at least one “weapon” – speed, size, strength, power, flexibility….having at least one physical gift is useful;
  6. Self confidence / self belief – they can who believe they can;
  7. Passion – the love of swimming is the driving force of so many great swimmers and great swimming performances;
  8. The ability to get along with other people – swimming is an individual sport wrapped up in a team environment. The ability to work well with team-mates in often tough, hard, high pressure situations, e.g when touring with a representative team, is a critical skill and a much under-estimated talent;
  9. The ability to keep a sense of humour and balance about life – after all it is only swimming and you are so much more than just a swimmer;
  10. Time availability – whilst not strictly a measure of talent, the amount of time available to train, prepare, rest, recover and compete are critical determinants of the level of swimming you can achieve.

Or if you like…

  • Talent is….
  • Attitude to train to your full potential everyday;
  • Love of the sport;
  • Enthusiasm – particularly in the tough times;
  • Nurturing – unconditional love and support at home from a family who cares;
  • Toughness – being able to persevere and keep giving your best when your feel so tired you can barely lift your arms;
  • Inherited characteristics – choose your parents carefully;
  • Desire – never give up.

Putting it all together.

So when looking in the talent pool for talent in the pool, keep your eyes, ears, heart and mind open.

It’s a lot more than just being the biggest, the strongest, the tallest or the fastest…..talent is a total package: a combination of factors that, when combined with consistent hard work, dedication, commitment and an uncompromising devotion to perfect preparation, turns potential into performance.

Wayne Goldsmith