PVC Mental Strategy 6


Tightness is the enemy of fast swimming. Every swimmer experiences a certain degree of tightness when they push their body to the limit in competition, but some have it so bad they can barely move through the water. Muscle tightness is caused by four things:

  1. Insufficient Speed-Endurance Fitness
  2. Mental stress relating to competing
  3. Fear of getting tight when racing
  4. All of the above. 

First off, one needs to understand what Speed-Endurance Fitness is. It’s the ability to prolong the amount of time where you can maintain near-maximal speed. Typically, swimmers who tighten up significantly on the second 50 of a 100 race or the second 100 of a 200 race lack the Speed-Endurance Fitness necessary to finish the race off as they started it. 

I’m preparing a detailed article on Speed-Endurance Training for the PEAK Virtual Coaching Program, so stay tuned. 

Mental stress relating to competing and the fear of getting tight when racing, are two areas swimmers must overcome; if not, they will destroy a potentially best time performance. Specific mental strategies can be employed to address both of these issues. Examples include building mental toughness in training to cope with tightness, applying distraction techniques before competing to prevent overthinking, reducing the amount of performance-related stress, and targeted visualization work, where swimmers confront the “tightness enemy” in advance of competing. These strategies are also available as part of the PEAK Virtual Coaching Program.

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