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Feature Articles

Thinking into Success - Mind Training Tips for Swimmers
Craig Townsend
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By Craig Townsend

What do you do when you are approaching a meet, but suddenly find that you cannot think one positive thought by you will do well? Plus, what do you do if you don't BELIEVE that you can swim a particular time, or beat a certain competitor? The answer lies in your thoughts, and surprisingly, your 'reasons'.

What I am talking about is: the reasons why you think you CAN, versus the reasons why you think you can't. It's a constant battle between the two every day you get out of bed. Which one will win today? For instance, let's say that you are feeling a little 'down' about a meet this weekend - all this means is that your mind has found more negative reasons why you CAN'T do well, than positive reasons why you CAN! Your negative reasons could be a whole range of possibilities - "I won't do well because of........ the water temperature, sickness, recent slow times, I don't like the pool, I never been Ian, my dog died last week..." and so on. This is quite simply a case of: Negative defeated Positive - by 10 reasons to 3 ! Needless to say, when this happens, you don't feel very motivated to go out there and show the world what you can do! In fact, it usually makes you feel unmotivated, tired, slow, depressed, etc. So all you have to do to change this all around is to 'reverse the process', and start coming up with heaps of reasons why you will succeed!

Now here is the secret: As soon as you can think of MORE REASONS why you will succeed, than reasons why you might fail, you will succeed. Your motivation and positive energy will come back and you should put in a fine performance. The trick is to 'program' your mind by to focusing on the positive reasons, not the negative - and at first this can be very difficult! When you are feeling negative, you often cannot think of any good reasons at all why you'll succeed!

This is very common, so don't worry, just continue to focus upon the positive reasons, and eventually a few small positive reasons will come to mind. "I will succeed because I've done well in the past" - not a world-beating reason but at least this is a start! Then, continue to do this, and the longer you do, the more you will find that these positive thoughts will appear more and more until your mind becomes flooded with thoughts of success. Soon you'll have a whole bag of reasons why you will succeed - " I'll swim great because..... I feel great today, and...... I've done some good times in training, and...... I beat (Ian / Mary) here last year, and.... my coach thinks I can do it, and..... these are my best events, and..... I'm going to show them what I can do....... etc.

Once your mind is thinking this way, you are programming your inner computer for success. Remember, your mind works just like a computer, and so your swim is the computer 'printout' - yet your computer can only print out the data YOU put into it - garbage in, garbage out, as they say. So feed your mind great reasons why you'll succeed and you will bring out the best in yourself!

Craig Townsend, Author of Mind Training Tips for Swimmers

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