Presentation on theme: "Claire-Marie Roberts Sport Psychologist University of Glamorgan, UK Building mental toughness and confidence in competitive swimming."— Presentation transcript:
Claire-Marie Roberts Sport Psychologist University of Glamorgan, UK Building mental toughness and confidence in competitive swimming
Common thoughts? “I haven’t swum a PB for ages” “Other people are overtaking me – I’m not as fast as I used to be” “Other people aren’t having the same problems as me” “I’m not good enough to swim in this race. There are so many people here that are faster than me” “I’m not sure I can do this”
The reality Not even champions swim to the best of their ability all the time We all experience self-doubts, performance slumps and plateaus If it was easy to be a competitive swimmer, everybody would be doing it! Successful swimmers learn to DEAL WITH these problems Every great swimmer has to overcome problems on their way to the top!
WHAT THOUGHTS GO THROUGH YOUR HEADS WHEN YOU ARE PREPARING FOR A RACE?
What makes a successful swimmer? Goal setting Physical & mental training programmes They look after themselves (lifestyle) Mental Toughness Mental Toughness Correct nutrition Motivation to succeed Technical ability Strength, stamina
What makes up your performance? My performance Me, my values, attitude, desire to be successful Stroke technique, competitive abilities, tactics, knowledge Mental Skills Physical prep, power, speed, strength, stamina
Results: Coping Mental SkillWhat it does RelaxationKeeps you calm, composed and confidence. Stops you from wasting energy and effort on worry Imagery / visualisationImproves your racing / technique skills by allowing you to see it and then do it. Arousal / nerve controlHelps with relaxation, self control and nerves. Can also be used to pump you up! Self belief / self confidenceHelps you to be able to be your best and accept your best Environmental awareness / focusAllows you to focus on the correct cues and screen out the irrelevant (like what other swimmers are doing) Motivation / attitudeAllows you to get the most out of every session, every lap, every drill – not just “going through the motions!” Pressure and pain controlAllows you to stay calm and in control when things get tough (linked to breathing control)
What does it mean to be mentally tough? Psychological Edge Coping with the demands of training, competition, lifestyle & any set backs Remaining focused Being (and staying) confident in your own ability Being in control under pressure
Belief Focus Using long-term goals as the source of motivation Pushing yourself to the limit Controlling the environment Regulating performance Staying focused Awareness and control of thoughts and feelings Handling pressure Handling failure Handling success
Get yourself into pairs…. Think about a race that you were unsuccessful in 1. What did you do in the lead up to the race? 2. How did you feel? 3. What were you thinking? 4. What was your behaviour like? 5. How did you prepare in the lead up to the call room / warm up? 6. What did you sit and think about / do in the call room for 20 mins?
and now the opposite…… When things went well….what happened? 1. What did you do in the lead up to the race? 2. How did you feel? 3. What were you thinking? 4. What was your behaviour like? 5. How did you prepare in the lead up to the call room / warm up? 6. What did you sit and think about / do in the call room for 20 mins?
More than an hour to eventRelax, sit with friends and distract myself with chatting and messing around 1 hour to my swimMy time, time to move away and start thinking about my race, what is my strategy, is this a priority race etc? Speak to my coach and get changed. The minute I go to put my suit on I switch into athlete mode. 15 mins out from warm upGentle stretches and drink, snack if I feel like I need it, away from distractions, so away from mates and parents. 10 mins out from warm upSpend some quiet time on my own but make sure coach knows where I am. Move away from friends / other swimmers and start getting ready to go warm up, don’t let any upset my routine or mess me around. Warm upIn the water - know what warm up I do, should be the same every time. After warm upStay focused. Put on clothes and just stay in the moment, don’t go chatting to people and getting out of the zone, stay in my bubble, stay loose and warm. 5 mins prior to call room, grab all my stuff, drinks, snack, goggles etc Make sure its altogether in one place and I have back ups, extra hat / goggles / suit. 20 minutes in call roomPlug into my music, focus on thinking through my race, and controlling my nerves with deep breaths and positive statements “This is my time, to show everyone what I can do” “Focused and controlled” Don’t look at anyone else, I not interested in anyone else, just me. Walk out to pool deckEyes forward, in my bubble, thinking about how I am going to race, my race, not being forced to race someone else’s race. Stick to my race plan.
Pre-race Strategies Do what is right for you (not your best mate or your biggest rival) Manage your timeline Think about all the options, what you are going to do in the time, how long do you need to swim down, then warm up again etc.. Priority races? INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY Don’t leave mental prep to chance…what is your race strategy? Fast start / first 50? Or second half of race and final meters? If you don’t know then who does?
What’s the point? Consistency Helps calm nerves Blocks out other distractions Helps you focus / use the time in the call room to good effect
Tips Design and use a “big picture” game plan. Make back-up and emergency contingency plans or “what ifs.” Formulate a routine for you specifically. Visualize your success in each event. Plan quiet time for yourself Use positive self-talk and positive imagery. Be around people who don’t rain on your parade. Be around people who are role models of mental toughness.
But....what happens if it doesn’t go so well? What strategies do you use if you have a bad race? Negativity breeds negativity –If you deal with it but others let it drag on…remove yourself from that situation! Be selfish but polite 5 minute rule –At a meet you can rant and moan for no more than 5 mins about a bad race, then bin it…ban talking about it until after the whole event, then you can make more sense of it, talk it through with your coach and make appropriate changes. YOU HAVE A CHOICE TO LET IT ANNOY YOU OR MOVE ON….SO MOVE ON ALREADY!
Things you might include in your pre- race routine Forget the last race, its done, you can celebrate or analyse the faults later, the focus is on the next race. Manage your timeline to the race: –A set time out from the race complete warm up –Time to get drink / snack and make way to the call up room –Sit and focus just on my race, no one else Listen to music, think through the race and visualize my race, repeat key words or triggers that help you focus on what you have to do –When its time to go, walk confident, tall and focused –Own routine behind the blocks / onto blocks
Final Thoughts Read, review and celebrate your past successes. Maintain a consistent, organized schedule so there is no last-minute rushing. Seek supporting individuals to reduce pressure on yourself. Remain flexible and confident in your training and ability