Visualization: Swimmers Can Benefit From This Mind Activity During Coronavirus

michael-phelps-

Visualization

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced the world to stay at home. Pools and gyms are shut, as are schools, colleges and offices. While most of us can’t physically get into the pool and train, there are several ways we can keep fit and motivated through this difficult period. One such incredible technique is visualization.

All of us often daydream about succeeding at a particular task. Whether that is winning an upcoming race, or meeting a qualifying time, or breaking a personal best, we all think about the things we want to achieve. Goal-setting is definitely one part of the story, however, visualization is something that can significantly change outcomes for the positive. Swimming, as we all know, is not just a physical sport. There is definitely a crucial mental component to racing, and we must harness it to our fullest advantage. After all, the human mind is a very powerful thing, so we must train both our mind and our body.

What is visualization?

Basically, visualization is kind of like a mental rehearsal, a simulation of real life. It is as if you are swimming the race, but in your mind. In the process, you use mental imagery to really experience every detail of that race, using all of your senses. Visualization is actually a really important technique that can be used in all aspects of life, not just swimming. Surgeons, chefs, business executives all use this techniques to fine-tune aspects of their tasks.

How does it work?

When you think about your body doing something, such as diving in, or swimming the first lap, the motor cortex in your brain gets activated. Studies have also shown that the brain does not distinguish between an actual memory and an imaginary one. Visualizing movement actually changes the network connections in our brain. So, in essence, if you imagine yourself swimming a technically perfect and strategically sound race, your brain will think you have actually done it! Visualizing your races will help prime your brain to swim your races exactly how you want to.

Does it really help?

Studies have concluded that mental visualization and training drives the muscles to a higher activation level and increases strength. Besides, you boost your confidence levels, and in turn, lower your pre-race anxiety levels. If one visualizes all possible scenarios, including worst case possibilities, it can greatly reduce the amount of stress we have prior to a race.

What are the best ways to practice it?  The more the detail, the better

We can use visualization to our advantage for all races – whether they are sprints or distance events. We can visualize getting up on the blocks, our start dive, the coolness of the water, the number of underwater kicks we do, the adrenaline flowing through our veins, everything. We must focus on not just the physical aspects but also the emotional and mental aspects of racing. When do you want to kick into a higher gear? How do you want your flip turns and push-offs to look? What breathing pattern do you want to follow? You can plan out even the most minute aspects of your race through visualization.

Consistent practice is key

It is not enough to just visualize a race once or twice, and be done with it. Visualization is not a substitute for training or technique. Rather, it is a tool to harness the power of your mind. To truly use this technique to your advantage, consistent practice is key. Set aside a certain amount of time in your daily or weekly routine to practice visualizing. Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t able to do it on your first try! It is vital that you keep at it, and persevering at it will help you achieve richer successes going forward.

How can visualization help us during this pandemic?

Most of us around the world are confined to our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic that has spread globally. While we are not able to get into the pool, we can use our time at home to hone our mental skills and practice visualization, both for training and for racing. At this time, when motivation levels might be lower than usual, this technique can help us prepare for the upcoming season, when we will be pumped up and ready to race!

11 comments

    • avatar
      donnafnelson

      Hannah, Work from your house for two to six hrs every day, and start getting averaging 1000-3000 bucks at the end of every week. Read more information here>… iⅭ­a­s­h­68­.Ⅽ­O­Ⅿ

  1. avatar
    Jimmy

    You visualise the “coolness of the water”.

    I doubt my comment will be published, and if so, will not harmonise with some. However, this article is misleading.

  2. avatar
    Pragati Gupta

    Great article!

  3. avatar
    MDG

    It is a powerful technique in many walks of life!

  4. avatar
    Shohini

    Good to know about this technique!

  5. avatar
    Mandira Dasgupta

    A very innovative idea. Your articles are so impressive. Congratulations Pro

  6. Richard Allen

    a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  7. Ildiko Morris

    I do visualize every day and it helps a little. Still dying to get back to the water😢🏊‍♀️

  8. avatar
    Meena

    Wow! Beautifully thought through and well written! Keep it up Proteeti!