It’s amazing how much having things fit right affects performance. Swimmers spend a lot of time trying (and rejecting) brands and styles of suits, goggles, caps, fins, etc, in order to find the right fit. Once you find it, you pray the manufacturer doesn’t change anything before you can buy a lifetime supply of what “fits”. I’ve seen kids reduced to tears over the “good” goggles breaking, and I know my own workouts are impacted by a new suit that rubs in the wrong place.
Having equipment that is just the right fit might seem a trivial concern, but not having to think about something leaking or rubbing or falling off while you train or race is crucial. The wrong fit is, at the very least, a distraction and at worst, the cause of minor injuries. No athlete wants to have to waste time thinking about what their uniform and training gear are doing while they train….they just want to train, so a lot of non-training time is devoted to finding the equipment that is just the right fit.
If only we spent that kind of time and care making sure other aspects of our lives fit right! How much happier would we be if we dedicated the time to making sure our colleges, our jobs, our friends, our homes, our communities, our churches, our life partners, were truly the right fit, the BEST fit for us. In those really important and crucial parts of our lives, we allow ourselves to be swayed by the opinions of others or by the reputation of the institution, or by money, or by convenience, rather than choosing what fits us.
I have witnessed a lot of conversations between swimmers regarding goggles, why people use these or those, and I have yet to see anyone change what they use just because a friend uses something else. They might try them out, but it’s usually more in the vein of “Let me use your goggles for a minute and see how they fit”. When it comes to suits and equipment, fit is a choice they make and stick to with confidence.
Yet we are so easily swayed when it comes to our choices in important matters. Sometimes the wrong fit is just a distraction from being our best selves, sometimes the wrong fit can cause us injury of some kind, whether physical, emotional or mental. Forcing ourselves into situations that our gut is telling us is the wrong fit certainly will cause stress if nothing else.
My recent coaching experience was an example of a wrong fit in my own life. For various reasons, I ignored some signs and gut reactions that this was not the right place for me, and as a result, I wasn’t happy, and certainly was NOT my best coaching self. It has left me dissatisfied with the experience, but also a bit annoyed with myself for not honoring that inner voice. Despite all my years of experience with suits and goggles, I tried to force something to fit when it just wasn’t the right thing.
You would think I would have known better.