When you’re involved with competitive swimming, there’s a lot to worry about beyond your competitive swimwear. Whether you swim on your own or you’re part of a swim team, you may feel some anxiety before your races. In fact, many swimmers report they feel anxious either the day leading up to the race or even just hours or minutes before. Regardless of when your anxiety strikes and to what degree you suffer from it, the following tips can help you overcome it.
Keep Your Mind Busy
If you’re solely thinking about your upcoming races, it’s only natural you’ll start to worry about things. This is why it’s important to keep your mind busy leading up to your next competitive swimming race. Read a book, binge watch your favorite television series or do anything else that can help keep your mind busy and off your race. While it’s important to mentally prepare, it’s also not good to solely think about swimming.
Focus on the Bigger Picture
It’s easy to stress about just one race. However, when you’re part of a swim team, there are many more races to come. Finishing at a lower position for one of them doesn’t mean you’re going to do poorly the entire season. Therefore, it’s important to remind yourself not to worry about a single race. Learn from it and make changes going forward so you can do better in the next one. If you don’t focus on the outcome of one race, you’ll have less anxiety on race day.
Find Your Ideal Emotional State
Everyone is different and no two swimmers will be comfortable in the same emotional state. Some individuals prefer to get worked up, almost to an angry state, to give them the energy to get through their next race. Others do better when they are in a calm and relaxed state. Figure out what works best for you and how to get into that emotional state so you experience less stress and feel more confident in your performance.
Don’t Swim for Someone Else
One of the reasons many competitive swimmers feel anxiety and stress related to their races is they worry about letting someone else down. It may be your swim team, your coach, your parents or anyone else. The key is making sure you are swimming for yourself first and foremost. The bottom line is the individuals who care about you won’t be disappointed as long as you perform your best.
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The summer swim team season is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start thinking about the travel involved. If you take part in one of the summer swim teams in Dallas, TX, odds are you will find yourself traveling to at least some of the meets. The following tips will help you properly prepare and make the experience a better one for you and everyone else who travels with you.
Pack Ahead of Time
It’s easy to forget something if you try to pack at the last minute. There are a lot of competitive swimming products you need to take, including your competitive swimwear, goggles, swim cap, towel and more. It’s important to make sure you pack extras as well in case something breaks or gets lost along the way. It’s difficult to replace these items when you’re away from home. It can also be beneficial to make a list so you can cross things off as you pack them. When you have your bag ready at least a day ahead, all you need to do is grab it and go the day you leave.
Get Plenty of Sleep
The excitement of traveling to a new place can make it difficult to get sleep. However, when you’re gearing up for a big meet, regardless of where it’s located, it’s essential to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep the night before, especially if you’ll be traveling. No matter what method you use for traveling, it can wear on you physically and emotionally. When you need to be at your best for a swim meet, minimizing the effects of travel is essential.
Use Compression Gear
Traveling means sitting for extended periods of time, which can negatively affect your circulation. This is why it’s important to invest in some good compression wear for those times when you must travel large distances to your next meet. Using compression gear on your arms and legs ensures proper circulation and keeps your muscles fresh, no matter how much time you spend sitting, so you can arrive at your meet ready to go.
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When most people think of team building exercises, they think of businesses that use these exercises to create a sense of teamwork in the office. Even though swimming is largely an individual sport, with the exception of relays and team competitions, it is important to have a strong sense of team. The use of team building exercises can be a great way to help your swim team feel more unified to increase the likelihood of success.
A treasure hunt is a common team building exercise that is used in many industries. You can tweak this exercise to use with your swim team. Split them up into smaller groups and leave sets of clues for them to follow to a prize. The team that is able to get through the treasure hunt first will be declared the winner. Through this exercise, your swim team will tap into their natural competitive spirit and will encourage them to work together to an end.
The Cup Game
This game can be easily played on the side of the pool before you begin practice or during a rest break. For this game, you will need half as many plastic cups as you have swimmers. Swimmers will pair off in teams and sit facing each other on the floor. Place a cup upside down at an equal distance between each swimmer. On cue, players attempt to grab the cup first. This exercise brings out the competitive spirit and enhances their reaction time, which can help them on the blocks.
To set up this game, give your players the background of being on a wrecked ship with just enough room in the lifeboat for the entire team and 12 items. The team must then work together to create a list of 12 items. It is important for supervisors to encourage all players to have a say, but it is also useful for identifying who the natural leaders in the group are.
Team building may have its roots in the corporate office, but it is a useful tool for your swim team as well. Whether you need to get your team working together, you want to identify the leaders or you want to feed their competitive spirit, these games and others are great ways to get them started. The more your team works together, the more successful they will be.