It's normal to be nervous on race day. But don't let last minute jitters sabotage months of rigorous training and diligent dieting. At the meet, you'll be pushing your body to the limit, so use these mental hacks on race day to stay motivated and reach for your best performance.
1. Focus on you
That's right. To stay on top of the game mentally, you've got to tune out everyone else and focus on your performance. Compete with yourself and avoid comparing your times to everyone else around you. The best swimmers are experts at focusing on what they can control, which is their own performance, and letting go of what they can't control. Releasing control of the extra stuff helps you focus on what you can control: your technique, your swimming, and your results.
2. Envision all of it
And by this we mean the successes and the possible roadbumps. Spend time before the race meditating and visualizing how it will feel to win the race and how it will feel to walk up and receive the medal, trophy, or ribbon. Sit with these feelings and really let them sink in. If you practice this mental hack enough, your body will respond to these positive thoughts and when it comes time to get on the block, this surge of positive mental practice will surge over any jitters that creep up. Be proactive and consider any hiccups that you might have during the race. Mentally walk through how you'll handle them, so that if and when they do happen, you're not so stressed about it and can work through the situation without it derailing your performance.
3. Repeat after me
Have a mantra or a few inspiring quotes that you can repeat when you get a little nervous. These positive words act as your private coach and cheerleader, giving you that extra boost of mental motivation that you'll need on the big day.
4. Stay positive
Be the positive person on your team. Give others a pat on the back when they have a good performance. Positivity breeds positivity so surround yourself with positive people and images, and you'll be able to give it right back to your teammates. Use this mental hack to acknowledge your successes and reward yourself with a pat on the back when you have an awesome performance and you see how your hard work has paid off!
5. Pregame ritual
Have something that you do to signal to your mind and body that it's game time. Maybe it's a chant, or a series of slaps on the quads, but whatever you do, make sure that you do it every time. It's a signal to your mind and body that you're ready for competition and gives you that mental edge that will keep you at your personal best on the day of the race.
Doing some or all of these mental hacks for swimmers on race day will definitely give you a competitive edge and put you on the path to your personal best!