Coaching for Champions blog post, May 2017
by Kamala Nellen
Though I usually prefer to work with young or professional athletes—simply because of their enthusiasm and their drive to succeed—I recently found that the passion to excel in a sport is not age specific.
In March I met a real champion outside of the youth and professional demographic, someone who has delighted and astounded me as he describes the big results he is reaching for and who has the drive to sustain his momentum. Peter is 55. He is a natural born swimmer. How do I know? He is bursting with excitement as he shares the joy he feels in the water. He strives to reach the goals he has set for himself. So, I have to say, Peter is an ideal client and I am happy he has crossed my path.
Peter said he never had the chance to follow his dream in high school because his school had no pool. When he got to college, he felt unprepared for competitive swimming. Since he hadn’t competed in high school, he didn’t have the confidence to follow his heart. Over time, however, his dream kept surfacing until, finally, he just had to follow through. From my perspective, if Peter had trusted the passion he felt in college, he would have won gold at the Olympics. I am thrilled and proud to say that now Peter is a champion swimmer! He has found his confidence and his stride. He just won two medals at the 2017 Nationwide US Masters Swimming Spring National Championship in Riverside. He is far from complete with the goals he has set for himself, and I am excited to have a front row seat and to share his journey as a support. I have no doubt he will reach his goals. Age is no issue for Peter.
Peter is a school teacher by profession, so he works regular hours and his job is demanding. At 5:30 a.m. every day, before he goes to his classroom, he is in a swimming pool, training with his teammates, all of whom are top-level competitors, and getting pointers from swimmers who have participated in Olympic trials and several USMS national record holders. When Peter reached out to me in March, he was preparing for Nationals, which was five weeks away. He had entered seven races—yes, seven! Five individual races and two relays. When he came through the door for his first session, he was grinning with enthusiasm. In describing his goals, Peter unfurled a list of the many races he wants to do—not just in a pool but also in the ocean! His fervor for competitive swimming was contagious.
Peter had already stretched his limits a number of times. One of the ocean races he completed was a relay from Alcatraz Island in which his leg of the race began at 2:00 a.m. As he told his story, Peter’s face reflected the ecstatic feeling he had during that nighttime swim—seeing the blanket of stars above him and the glow of the algae then present in the sea around him. Once he had hit his optimum tempo, he saw that he had gained a companion—a dolphin surfaced from below and began to swim alongside, as if cheering Peter on his way!
In Peter’s sessions with me, he is attentive and totally focused on the physical and mental practices I give him. He gladly accepts my suggestions and has always done the between-session homework I give him. Probably, this is because he’s had astounding results.
It is a privilege and a joy for me to work with Peter and I look forward to supporting him on the next leg of his competitive journey. I’ve told him that when he goes for his highest goal, I want to be in the stands. I am sure, as the years go by, he is going break his own records and, more than likely, the records of other swimmers in his age group. Competitive athletes of any age can take a lesson from Peter. He is clearly a champion.
Kamala Nellen is a sports performance enhancement coach in Ventura County, CA, with 40 years experience using time proven tools that dramatically improve sports performance. Contact Kamala Nellen at www.kamalanellen.com to start manifesting your goals. Get Kamala Nellen’s book on Amazon: Working IN: The Elite Athlete’s Guide to Working Out from the Inside.