At The Race Club camps, our fifth and final point of peak performance mental toughness training is called anchoring. Anchoring is sports psychology that the swimmer does or says or thinks either standing behind or on the starting block, just seconds before the start of an important race.
The Anchoring effect to the swimmer is what the switch is to the light bulb. It is what the curtain-rise and spotlight is to the actor. Without anchoring techniques, the swimmer’s brain simply doesn’t get quite the same message that it is showtime. Anchoring psychology is the final and critical piece in the process of peak performance mental training. Without the positive thinking anchor, the peak performance is likely not going to be as good.
Every elite swimmer has a peak performance anchor. Some anchoring techniques are obvious. Some anchoring methods are not so obvious. I can assure you that each elite swimmer is saying or doing something right before that big race begins to get into the zone required of great performances. Anchoring is essential.
The fun part about anchoring is that each swimmer gets to design or invent his or her own peak performance anchor. It doesn’t matter too much if other swimmers in a race know what your anchor is, or even that you are anchoring. It is only important that you know.
An anchor can be as simple and subtle as licking the inside of your goggles or saying a few key words to yourself. Or the anchor technique can be as flamboyant as kissing your biceps (be ready to back it up!). You get to create your own. Just be sure you do that and don’t forget to use it before the big race.
What is your peak performance anchor going to be?
Yours in swimming,