Great swimmers hold an innate ability to handle pressure and control their negative thoughts. Some of these skills are intuitive but some are also absorbed along the ride. It is even said that the more you hang out with these champions, the more strong-minded you’ll be.

But what exactly goes through the minds of these great athletes before and during a race and what do they do to relax their thoughts and nerves?

Before a race, feelings of nervousness and self-doubt creep in. However strong-minded you are, they will get you. The trick is to learn how to relax with these few examples:

1)   If you still have time before a race: read a book or listen to some music with headphones

2)   Talk or laugh with friends

3)    Do some relaxation exercises such as meditation or visualization

4)   Ignore your competitors and focus inwards: on how many hours you spent training and on all the time and hard work you invested

5)   Remember all the times you achieved awesome swims and go back to the same mental attitude you had during those successful performances. Then apply it for future races

6)   Clear your brain of the little race details like the actual competition, the water temperature etc… and focus on the first step (the dive) only, then visualize each and every step alone and go for it!

7)   Breathe deeply, it will calm you

You should also know that last minute negative thoughts and self-doubt are absolutely normal and that every athlete goes through them. Just trust yourself and let it happen!

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