After the many days of training, money well spent on a good swimsuit, and a professional coach to perfect your swim technique, it all comes down to the seconds or minutes that following the starter pistol. Many swimmers place so much focus on the actual race they often forget to take the time to use the right swimming drills and strategies to mentally prepare for their best time. Check out these mental preparation tips that you can use for your next race or practice:
Stick to the plan – Race day is not the time to try out a new warm-up regime (unless it is a similar variation to what you are already doing). The time to try new things is during training. Stick to your swimming drills and techniques that you learned and trust in your ability to win the race.
Visualize the win – We discussed the importance of visualization when it comes to attention and swimming, but here is a positive way to keep your head in the clouds. Take two minutes to your pre-race routine to swim through the whole race in your mind. Mentally walk down the board and go through every single motion after you hear the start gun. From diving into the water, swimming through each stroke and breath, until finally, you reach the win. This is a mental technique for boosting your confidence and solidifying the proper swimming drills before the race. It is not all about sight, sometimes all it takes is a vision.
Expect the unexpected – Many swimmers are familiar with Michael Phelp’s Olympian win for the Men’s 200-meter butterfly race. As soon as he dove in, his goggles immediately filled with water. Rather than settling for a loss, he trusted his training, visualized a win, and not only brought home another gold medal but also broke a world record. Accidents can happen when they least expect it but the most important thing to do is stay positive and trust in what you’ve learned as a swimmer.
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