Mentally preparing yourself to swim fast can be as easy as A-B-C. Sport psychologist Aimee Kimball brings usaswimming.org her second installment of the ABCs of mental training — “B” is for Building Your Mindset.
Check back in two weeks to find out what “C” stands for.
How should I think to swim well?
Every individual has a unique mental state under which he or she performs best. There is not one right way to think. The key is to know what you are thinking and how you are feeling when you perform your best.
How do I know my ideal mindset?
To identify your ideal mindset, think about the best performance you ever had. Ask yourself:
· What did I do to mentally and physically get ready (music, routines…)?
· Was I relaxed or pumped up?
· What did I focus on throughout the event?
· What words describe how I was feeling? What I was thinking?
How do I recreate this mindset?
First, you have to choose to create your ideal mindset and take responsibility for your thoughts. Second, before each practice and event you should develop a routine that allows you to recreate this mindset. Imagery, music and positive self-talk are great ways to build your ideal mental and physical state. Third, you can come up with a trigger word, phrase or action that reminds you of the characteristics of your best performance. This trigger needs to have meaning to you so that it can focus your mind to help you perform your best. Write the trigger on your hand, goggles or bag so when you see it you will be reminded to think that way and to approach each event with your ideal attitude.
Build your mindset
Instead of just hoping you will be mentally ready to compete, take control and create the mentality you want before each event. Know your ideal mindset and choose to create this mindset through pre-event routines, trigger words and by simply telling yourself, “This is how I’m going to think today.”
Make it Great!