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Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Written By: Dana Skelton

Curiosity- A strong desire to know or learn something.

Curiosity- The ability and habit to apply a sense of wonder, to learn more.

Curiosity- “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Curiosity- “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein

Curiosity is an amazing thing:

  • Curiosity helps keep your brain active

  • Curiosity creates new worlds and possibilities

  • Curiosity helps prepare the brain for learning

  • Curiosity is a proven driver to a high-performance life

While doing research for this write up, there were two specific points that stood out to me. I found both points fascinating and useful for coaches. We can use this information to not only improve ourselves, but also to help our athletes as they strive for their goals. Like so many of the Words to Grow By, that have been shared, when we take the time to implement these concepts into our own lives, we also role model for our athletes.

The first point, people that live and seek answers to their curiosity tend to be happier. Our brain rewards us for being curious! When we explore and satisfy our curiosity, our brain releases dopamine.

This in turn leads to the feeling of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. You will feel happier and have a stronger desire to repeat that process.

The second point, what is the difference between curiosity and simply seeking information? The difference is in the motivation. When someone is seeking information due to an external motivation, for example school work, you are required to do, this is not curiosity. When someone is seeking information because they are internally motivated, that is curiosity. I loved the thought process behind this and the impact it could have on the swimmers that I work with.


How to practice curiosity:

  1. Have an open mind- This is the most important and first step to practicing curiosity!

  2. Role model– Let others know something new you have learned and how exciting it was. You can also invite others to find answers with you. For example, at practice ask the swimmer, “if you do this with your streamline, will that make you faster or slower…why?”

  3. Reward curiosity- The next step is to notice when others are being curious. Take time to ask them about it, point out the dopamine “feel good” that comes with it, and provide resources so that they can continue with their journey.

  4. Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity- Imagine the impact this could have on the kids we work with!

  5. Try something new…challenge your perspectives…broaden your comfort zone.

  6. Read or listen to things from people that do (or are) what you want to become.

  7. Hang out with a child- Take the time to watch and listen as they explore the world around them. Go into a practice and see what you can learn from the swimmers. If you work with the senior swimmers, take time to visit a 10 & under practice.

  8. Deepen your understanding in an area you already know.

  9. Use your personality and interests- Are you more of a hands-on (kinesthetic) learner, what can you find to tinker with? Are you a very social person, what can you learn about a new co-worker? Are you interested in cooking, purchase a cookbook to learn a new technique.

Learn More From Dana at @girlsstrivingthroughsport on Instagram and Facebook!

Dana is in her 14th season with the First Colony Swim Team. She is the lead coach for Age Group 1, where she gets the privilege to work with the 9- & 10-year-olds. She is also the Head Developmental Coach, working with the awesome coaches in the novice groups. She is an ASCA Level 3 certified coach. Dana started her coaching career with the East Bay Bat Rays in California. This introduction to USA Swimming kick-started her love of coaching, working with young swimmers, and learning what it means to be a great coach. Her coaching philosophy includes doing what is best for each child, parent, and coach in the sport. Focusing on what we can do as a collective whole to promote the sport, help everyone become better people, and have the children see the benefits of working hard. She uses an IM based training (with lots of kick) to ensure the young athletes have a solid base to keep developing through the sport. Dana has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, East Bay. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 daughters. Hobbies include being active, being crafty/creative, exploring the great state of Texas, and seeking out education to continue improving herself (on and off the deck).


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