Presented by Kurt Kirner, Camp Director
Nike Swim Camp at Hillsdale College
Nike Swim Camp Tip: A Plan for Being Mentally Tough for the Big Meet By Hillsdale College Swim Coach Kurt Kirner
How much time do you spend physically training your body for the big meet at the end of your season? Likewise, how much time do you spend mentally training your mind for that same big meet? These are great questions to ask yourself. Often, we find that swimmers are “pumped” and ready to go when it comes to their physical conditioning and preparation, yet as the meet approaches they “crash” or “choke”, because they have failed to train their mind to that same level.
A simple three-step process can help you avoid this pattern of self-destructing. The first step is learning relaxation exercises. This sets the foundation for reducing anxiety, creating an internal base for focus and concentration, and physiologically keeps responses to stress in check. The second step, positive affirmation statements, feeds your mind reinforcement by directing all your thoughts towards positive and constructive focal points. Lastly, mental practice stimulates the brain-to-muscle connection and creates “a mental zone” where an athlete can eliminate destructive thoughts and distractions, and replace them with factors that are within their control. It is important that either your team have mental toughness training in place or that you, yourself implement it.
Learn more at Coach Kirner's Hillsdale College Nike Swim Camp, located in Hillsdale, Michigan roughly 90 miles west of Detroit.