Those moments before getting into the pool can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re preparing for a competition, challenging yourself to a new personal best, or getting into the pool for the first time. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a more casual swimmer, experiencing anxiety before stepping foot in the pool is completely normal. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to soothe your nerves and help you get the most out of swimming.
We’ve compiled our 5 tips to feel calmer before swimming to help you feel mentally prepared, in control and ready for your swim.
Visualise the Swim
Before getting into the pool, take a moment to visualise your swim. Ask yourself, “What does a successful swim look like for me?” Close your eyes and picture your successful swim from start to finish.
Imagine the rhythm of your stroke, the steadiness of your breath, and the feeling of the water.
A simple yet effective technique, visualisation is a powerful tool that can help you enter the water with a positive mindset.
Establish a Pre-Swim Routine
Routines can be incredibly calming. Try developing a pre-swim routine that helps to settle your nerves. Your routine could include a series of stretches, breathing exercises, or a particular warm-up sequence.
By performing this routine before you swim each time, you’re signalling to your body and mind that it’s time to focus and relax. As with any routine, consistency is key. Over time, your routine will naturally ease your anxiety.
Focusing on your breath is arguably one of the easiest ways to soothe your mind before swimming (or any exercise).
Try taking deep, diaphragmatic breaths to oxygenate your blood and clear your mind. You can practice this type of breathing anywhere: sitting on the poolside, standing at the water’s edge, or getting into your swim gear.
To help ease anxiety, box breathing works wonders. Try breathing in for four seconds, holding for four seconds, then breathing out slowly for six seconds. Repeat this process three-five times and notice how it makes you feel.
Focusing on the rhythm of your breath helps to keep pre-swim jitters at bay and prepares your body for the physical exertion to come.
Warm Up Thoroughly
Jumping into the pool without a proper warm-up can lead to injury. A thorough warm-up gets the blood flowing to your muscles and reduces the shock of the cold water.
Aim to warm up for at least five-ten minutes before entering the pool, focusing on your shoulders and core to loosen your joints and increase blood flow.
Positive self-talk helps you to feel more confident and self-assured before a swim. Affirmations like “I am strong”, “I am prepared”, and “I can do this” might feel strange to say out loud, but can help to build a strong, positive mindset.
Positive talk helps to boost your morale and combat any negative thoughts.
Going into your swim with the right mindset will give you the best chance of achieving your goals and - importantly - enjoying your time in the water.
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