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Belief - An Essential For Success
Craig Townsend

The most potent weapon a swimmer can possess in their armory is a powerful, unquenchable belief in themselves. It can single handedly overcome a competitor with superior ability, technique and physical strength - and all because it originates from the subconscious mind, the control center of all human movement.

So often you see a fabulous swimmer with all the talent in the world, yet because they lack the belief in their own ability, they don't perform when it counts most. This is one of the tragic realities (and most common) in sport throughout the world. A swimmer (or athlete) without inner-belief will never achieve the greatness they deserve - it's as simple as that. It is an absolute 'must' for any success - but how do you get it?

Well, the fact is - it's different for everyone. Some swimmers build it gradually through slow and steady progress, whilst others find this does not help them at all! So what's a sure way to build belief? I'm going to 'let you in' on a method today - but first, it comes with a few warnings.

This method is not for everyone, and is possibly designed only for those who will truly do whatever it takes to gain 'the edge'. It is a method which is often done easily by people who already have some level of inner belief, but it can be very difficult for those who don't - and ironically it is those swimmers who need it most! So if you refuse to try this method because it's difficult (or even silly) then it will most often mean that you need to work on this area - your own level of belief in yourself.

Another warning before begin, is that this method is incredibly simple, so simple you will wonder how it can possibly make any difference to your swimming - but don't doubt it. Regular practice of this technique will bring a steady increase in your confidence, self-esteem, inner belief and your results, and I mean 'regular practice'!

OK, now this is a technique you can use alone (and it might be better to do it firstly when no-one else is at home, or they might think you're a bit crazy!), or it can be an exercise your whole squad can use together - but as this exercise has to be done in front of a mirror, it pretty much restricts the places you can use it anyway! Here we go:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror, about 10 steps back from it.

  2. Look at your reflection, and put a 'strong, serious and powerful' look on your face, this is important - absolutely no smiling allowed!

  3. Stare at the reflection of your eyes. Never take your focus off your own eyes, not even for a moment, just look deeper and deeper into them.

  4. Say to yourself in a loud, strong voice "I am power!".

  5. Feel the power of what you have just said, letting it 'sink in' for a few seconds, maintaining focus on your eyes, and now take one step closer to the mirror.

  6. Repeat it again, but with even more conviction - "I am POWER!".

  7. Allow these words sink in, feel their power.

  8. Step closer, never taking your focus off your eyes, and repeat it again.

  9. Continue this until you are almost right up against the mirror.

  10. Say it 2 more times from 'close range', staring right into your own eyes from six inches away, repeating the affirmation with power and conviction.

  11. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and imagine your lungs filling with power, strength and confidence, feeling it pulsing right through your body.

  12. As you exhale, breathe out all doubt and fear, letting them go forever.

  13. Repeat this again, breathing in, and then breathing out.

OK, the exercise is finished - and wow, is this powerful if you do it properly! I have seen a group of martial arts students do this together, and it sent shivers up my spine just watching them. For some of them, it created some major transformation and feelings of control and strength, others felt calm and focused - everyone was different. But doing it once won't do it! You have to use this regularly if you want to get some results, just like your swimming. This method also works brilliantly if you use it at home before you go off to a meet.

There are always those who snigger at this technique and say it sounds 'stupid', but ONLY THE ONES WHO HAVE DONE IT can truly know how powerful it can be. It may well be one of the most powerful exercises you will ever do.

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