Scott Dickens Olympic Swimmer

3 tips from an Olympian on How to Improve

scott dickens canadian olympic swimmer

When it comes to achieving goals, two-time Olympian Scott Dickens knows a thing or two.

With eight years between his two Olympic Games, Scott, Director of Strategic Partnerships at FORM, learned a great deal and is ready to share his top tips.

1. Make Specific and Measurable Goals

For a lot of people, their goal is simply ‘Win Gold’. It’s a great end goal, but it’s too generic. How do you know where to start or how to track your progress toward it?

As I matured in my career, I realized that, if I was going to achieve my goals, I had to have a way to measure against them in a workout.

So whatever your end goal is, take the time to break it down into smaller, well-defined steps that will help you get there.

Don’t forget to celebrate and acknowledge the little victories along the way, too. Each success gives you more motivation to get to the ultimate goal.

2. Tell Someone

You’ve set yourself a goal — now, it’s time to tell someone! Whether it’s your teammates, coach, or family, telling someone instantly makes the goal more real and makes you want to achieve it more.

They can all hold you accountable and, from my own experience, the more people I told, the more my mindset changed. I wanted to achieve that goal for not only myself, but them, too.

Remember: it’s easy to make excuses when you only have yourself to answer to. So get it out there!

3. Develop a Plan and Stick to It

I’ve had a lot of goals in my time, but the ones I achieved are the ones I developed a plan for.

The beginning is always the hardest. I know how frustrating it can be to make changes and not see an immediate improvement.

I developed a new plan with my coach before London 2012 that included more weight training and less swims and, initially, it actually made me slower — but I stuck to the plan and had a lifetime best performance at the Games.

No one likes change. When I first adjusted my stroke technique, it felt awful, but three months down the line, when I started to see improvements, it became easier to persevere.

So don’t get discouraged, and stick to your plan. It takes time, but it will pay off!