PVC Mental Strategy 3



  • Swimming fast on race day means preparing your mental side of swimming weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds before competing. 
  • You condition your physical and technical sides every day at practice, so you must also prepare your mental side as well—otherwise, you put your swim meet performance at risk.
  • If you fail to work on your mental side, it can work against you when you most need it. 
  • To gain the mental edge over your competitors, make these three strategies part of your daily ritual. 


  •  Involves thinking positively about your performance (weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds) before competing. 
  • Your thoughts can either be or helpful or hurtful—so choose the helpful ones. 
  • Helpful thoughts like: “I’m going to swim all best times this weekend.” empower your swimming performance.
  • Hurtful thoughts like: “I’m going to swim badly this weekend.” undermines your performance.


  • Involves picturing how you want to perform (weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds) before competing. 
  • The most incredible fact about imagery is through repeated practice; your body learns what you want it to do in the pool (without being in the pool)!
  • For example, if you repeatedly and consistently imagine blasting off the block, swimming with your best stroke ever, and nailing your turns, your body will know to do that on race day!
  • Imagery can complement your training in the poo!
  • Michael Phelps had an incredible racing imagination and used it time and time again to win Olympic gold time and time again. 


  • Involves managing your emotional state (weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds) before competing.
  • Just like a thermostat controls the temperature of your house, emotion controls your performance outcome. 
  • While emotional preferences vary amongst elite swimmers, most prefer to remain calm (weeks, days, hours) before competing and psych themselves up from there.
  • You can lower your emotional thermostat with meditative breathing, distracting yourself (music, reading, friends), or spending time in nature.
  • You can raise your emotional thermostat by thinking about your races and goals beforehand, watching swimming videos on YouTube, or listening to upbeat music. 


  • Swimming fast on race day is a science—not luck, meaning it’s exacting, has a step-by-step structure, and a predictable outcome.
  • The results you achieve aren’t the result of your horoscope or voodoo, but the quality and consistency of your mental, technical, and physical game plan.
  • That means if you work your mental side (like you do the two others), your chance of competitive success increase significantly!
  • Science states, if you think positive about your performance—you’ll swim faster!
  • Science states, if you imagine a successful outcome—you’ll swim faster!
  • Science states, if you manage your emotions—you’ll swim faster!
  • So let science lead you to victory!

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