Visualization Tips for the Perfect Race


Visualization Tips for the Perfect Race

You step up on the blocks, ready to race. After training for this moment for months, you have confidence in your strength. But you are also prepared mentally, because you have been here before. You visualized this exact moment, and the ones that will make up this race, over and over. 

Swimming is equal parts mental and physical.  It requires mental toughness to wake up at 5 a.m. for practice before school, give hard practices your all, and get on the blocks for an intense race.  Just like you might do extra race pace during practice or spend more time in the weight room to prepare physically, you need to prepare mentally as well. 

Visualization is a great technique for mental race preparation.  It takes practice, much like with meditation.  Here is some advice for visualizing your perfect race.

Sit in a comfortable position, in a quiet place with no distractions.  Try to clear your mind.  You want to be as focused on the race as possible.  Close your eyes, and picture yourself on the pool deck.  What suit are you wearing?  Are you wearing shoes, a parka, or sweatpants?  If your mind starts to wander, gently redirect your thoughts back to the pool.

Maybe you visualize yourself warming up right before your race, or maybe you begin by walking over to the blocks.  Choose a starting point, and begin to picture yourself doing exactly what you will on race day.  If you always do 10 arm swings before your 100 freestyle, visualize that routine.  Feel the deck under your toes, and hear the starter’s commands for the heats in front of you.  Put yourself in that pre-race environment.  

From the moment you step up on the blocks, visualization begins for your perfect race.  Do your best start, be on pace for your ideal splits, and have a powerful finish.  Look at the board and see your goal time.  Now open your eyes.

In order to create the most ideal situation to have the best race possible, it is important to control everything you can.  Factors like pool temperature or the order of events are not in your power to manage.  Making sure you eat, sleep, and warm up enough are all ways to control the factors impacting you when racing.  Your physical and mental shape are two of the biggest elements contributing to your success that you control through preparation.  Physically, you will be ready due to the months of hard training, ending in a period of resting or tapering where you practice racing.  Mentally, you have been trained to endure the difficulty of fast swimming, but you must give yourself a chance to practice a championship race mindset by visualizing the race.

When the time comes to race, you will be prepared both mentally and physically through visualization– setting yourself up for success.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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