Success in the pool starts and ends with effort

The Simple “Hack” to Train Better

Shortcuts and hacks abound.

“Take this supplement and you will be 432% stronger!” or try this sweet new bathing suit: “Up to 16% of 40% better than the other 2/3’s of suits on the market!”


It’s enough to keep us darting from perceived shortcut to perceived shortcut like a hummingbird on two cups of coffee.

And while we waste our time and energy putting our hopes and dreams into questionable methods we ignore the one thing that is tried and true.

That works every…single…time.


Instead of looking outwards, start by looking in the mirror and asking yourself…

“Am I giving the best effort I can each day at practice?”

If the answer is no (and it almost always is), then your super secret hack is simply giving a better effort.

Why effort is the ticket:

Effort is all-encompassing.

Giving a good effort doesn’t just mean swimming fast. It means giving it your best shot, whatever that means for that particular practice. Perhaps this means you had fantastic technique throughout, or didn’t give up on the main set (when typically you might have), and so on. Effort goes beyond what is on the stopwatch.

Effort is something you control.

There are always days where you don’t feel that great in the water, and no matter how hard you try you can’t hit top speed. You can’t always control how you are going to feel in the water, just like how you can’t control how other swimmers perform. But you can control your effort.

Effort provides endless motivation.

Giving a good effort will always yield a boost in motivation. It’s why you can walk away from a practice where you didn’t swim as fast as you’d like but didn’t quit and still feel pumped about your swimming.

How to Get Started

Okay, you might be thinking. I’m sold! Sign me up! Gimme that effort!

Sooo, now what?

Rank your effort, that’s what!

The simplest way to be more consistent with your effort, to be more honest and productive at practice is to grade your workout every time you get out of the water.

To spend literally about 10 seconds grading your practice and writing it out.

Each and every day after I get out of the water I go home, sit down with my log book, and after writing out the workout I grade myself out of 10.

If the practice is a profound stinker I can expect a 2 or a 3. But they usually rank up there in the 8’s and 9’s.

A 9.5 out of 10 is the highest I’ve ever given myself (no such thing as a perfect workout, in my opinion, but that’s just me).

You can use the old letter grade (A+, A, A-, etc.), or use a smiley face system, or rank your workout out of 5 golden retriever puppies, or whatever.

Your choice.

Grading your effort will push you.

A fun side-effect you will notice with grading your effort in practice is that it will be in the back of your mind every time you get into the water.

On days where I’m struggling I know the thought of jotting down a 4 or a 5 gnaws at me enough that it helps to get me going.

And on days when I am having a really good workout, I will do the little extras towards the end of the workout so that I can write out a 9 or a 9.5 instead of an 8 or an 8.5.

This is the power of grading your effort.

Using a log book is a powerful and proven way to improve effort.

From writing out your workouts, to managing your goals, to planning for upcoming meets, YourSwimBook has your training covered from top to bottom.

You can go the Caeleb Dressel route (US Open record holder in the 50 yard freestyle) and write pages of notes and thoughts on each workout, or you can go with a simpler route by writing out your workouts along with an effort grade.
Olivier Leroy