By Dr. Jim Bauman//Sport Psychologist | Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The first strategy is having a PLAN. Call it what you want – game plan, battle plan, business plan -- any of these work. I choose plans instead of goals. Goals tend to address aspirations at different points in time. Somewhat like those “connect-the-dot” pictures many of us played with when we were young. More specifically, goals represent the “dots,” but the lines that connect the dots are the plans, and the plans are what make the aspirations happen! To complete the picture, you need “dots” and you need “lines.” But just like when we were kids, the trick in completing the picture is making the lines. I am most interested in HOW you get from point to point (your plans). Remember, I also introduced the idea of a “pit crew” and how all of those around you support you in your aspirations and your plans. Include all of your “pit crew” members in putting your plans together.
- Gradually disconnecting (mentally & physically) and transforming from your usual role and into a competitive swimmer (change your clothes – change your thinking)
- Pre-competition warm-up routine (mentally & physically) that includes more focus on your job (swim as fast as I can today) and what is relevant to you doing your job (race plan and biomechanics of your stroke). If you are having thoughts and/or feelings that are counter-productive to your competitive spirit, leave them outside the building and out of the pool. Those things are just extra weight and are not helpful in swimming fast AND having fun.
- Revisit your race plan (start, underwater kick, synchronizing & choreographing a rhythmic stroke with your breathing, stroke rates, powerful turns, underwater kicks, repeating stroke/breathing rhythms and rates, taking a last breath, and finishing long and strong to the wall).
- Post-Competition cool down (mentally & physically). As you physically cool down in the pool, begin to quickly review the race looking for not only corrections that you can make, but more importantly, reminding yourself of what went great so you can repeat that next time.
- If you have additional races, let this one go, rest, recover, and start at the top of the list again for your next race. Record (notebook or phone) any special insights you learned from the race. Great to have for future reference. Like a good business, it is important to keep good records of your progress.
Our next “pit crew” strategy will address healthy perspectives.