3 Habits To Immediately Adopt For Better Swim Practices


3 Habits To Adopt For Better Swim Practices

Swimmers have an amazing ability to get better when they put in the correct work at practice.

While most athletes use effort as a way to measure their success, they are not always using the right tools to ensure they are getting the most out of practice when they dive into the water each day.

But consistently efficient swim practices are the results of good mental habits.

For most swimmers, it is not that they do not want it enough or that they are not putting in enough hard work, but rather, it is that they do not necessarily have the right kind of tools or habits to fuel effective workouts.

So, here are some mental habits you can use to start training more efficiently, more often.

Accept Feedback From Your Coach

Studies on high performance athletes show that coaches play a pivotal role in an athlete’s development. While this might seem obvious, perhaps it is also a reminder that you do not have to do everything by yourself. You need to hold yourself accountable to improvement, which includes soliciting advice from your coach.

They want to help you succeed and they want to help you get better, even if it’s not always obvious.

So, ask them what you can do to improve.

Not only will they provide you with immediate feedback, whether it is related to technique, timing, nutrition, or your mental state, they will also be there to hold you accountable. They will track your progress throughout the season, and temper those inevitable moments of frustration.

Ask them how you can improve and do it regularly.

Conquer Practice From the Very Beginning 

Which lap of practice is always the hardest?

The first one.

For many swimmers, getting into the water can be the hardest part of the day. Especially during those grueling months of a long season. But once they get going and they find their stroke, the original resistance begins to subside, and then they decide to get after it.

This is because during warmup, they have experienced a shift in mindset, which has directed their focus to swimming.

But why wait until you get in the water to flip this switch? Make it your goal to conquer each and every practice before you even step foot on the pool deck.

Decide to put your best work in before it even starts.

Think of Hard Sets in Terms of ‘Reps’

That resistance we just talked about is not always unique to the start of practice– often, it presents itself at the beginning of a hard set as well. But breaking down main sets into smaller, more manageable tasks can help you overcome that feeling.

Commit to one rep. Or commit to swimming one lap as fast as you can. Even deciding to make the send-off time with 10 seconds to spare for the first 100 of a set of 10 x 100s and reassessing from there can be just the mental loophole you need to conquer those big sets.


Better mental habits won’t help you become an Olympian overnight, but it can help you achieve something just as crucial.

It helps you train like one, which is a big step closer to those big drops on race day.

When you step onto the pool deck today, as yourself if you are using the right mental habits to get the most out of each and every practice.

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D 1 diver JB
6 months ago

Great points that are the difference between best times and crappy times, earning podium swims or consolation swims. It always kills me when a kid ignores great coaching advice. Then, the kid asks why he/she did not swim faster in the post season meets. Duh!

Ben Yamsek
4 months ago

Another way to have “better” practices is to tell the whiny complaining swimmers to shut up or leave the pool. A tactic I know well.