Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Charlie Sheen and the Athletic Mind

Charlie Sheen has revolutionized the self-help industry in a matter of weeks.

As a coach, I feel that the athletic mindset is something I am expected to teach.  It is not always natural.  I have seen way too many swimmers talk themselves out of good races by letting self-doubt corrupt and dominate their thoughts, sabotaging all of the work they have done to get to the big meet.  I teach my athletes to not let the negative thoughts enter their minds.  Replace them with positive thoughts.  This is a pretty common concept in athletics... your mind and inner dialogue are one of the few things you can control in your sport.

Beyond that, I believe in delusional self-confidence.  Tell yourself you are a bad-ass often enough and eventually you will start to believe it, and be it. 

This is why I love the first few weeks of American Idol.  William Hung is a hero to me.  I show Idol tryouts to my team sometimes just so they can see that confidence doesn't have to be reasonable.  Some of them are horrible singers and even experienced record execs and successful recording artists can not convince them otherwise.  Others, even though they suck, still land record deals!  If Simon Cowell couldn't convince some of these people that they aren't good at singing, are you really gonna let some other high school kid convince you that you can't beat him or her in a race?  Really?

As an athlete I have a responsibility to carry myself like I am the greatest in the world and no one is gonna tell me any different.  If I don't believe I can be the best, there is a 100% chance I never will be.  Right?  On American Idol you have to not be afraid to make an ass of yourself in front of millions... but in swimming, is there really a negative consequence for being delusionally self confident?  You don't really have the opportunity to sign up for the Olympics unless you actually were fast enough to get there, so...  why not just convince yourself you are awesome enough to win your heat and go faster than you ever have every time you swim?

This is why I am disappointed that Charlie Sheen is such a drugged out, porn-addicted loser.  I can't really point at him as a role model.  He has the mindset right.  He is absolutely the greatest example of delusional self-confidence in history.  He is completely unafraid to just let himself be as awesome as he thinks he deserves to be.  

"dying is for amateurs."

"they picked a fight with a warlock."

"I am on a drug.  It's called Charlie Sheen.  It's not available.  If you try it once you will die."

"I'm tired of pretending like I'm not special.  I'm tired of pretending like I'm not bitchin', a total freakin' rock star from Mars."

Think about it guys.  With thoughts like that replacing all of your self-doubt, there is no way you won't swim all best times every time.  I challenge you to be tired of pretending you are not a total freakin' rock star today.  

Just stay out of trouble, okay?


  1. pretending is the first step to creating reality.

    pretend you have perfect strokes
    pretend you have super strength
    pretend you have a destiny to fill
    pretend a college recruiter is watching you
    pretend the TV camera is filming you
    pretend you're the one the youngsters are watching
    pretend you have more talent
    pretend you are humble
    pretend you are happy to work hard
    pretend it doesn't hurt

    my new philosophy..
    "pretend makes perfect"

  2. yeah... maybe we should spend about 80% of our practice time just doing visualization. Is that what your team does, Hydro?

    My job would be a heck of a lot easier if I had to just convince them they are fast, instead of actually making them fast. I could master the pretending thing.

    Sounds like a pretty good plan.