Everyone has an inner voice. It is the continual commentary that we have ongoing in the back of our minds. When swimmers learn that their ‘self talk’ can be their friend, then they have gained a very powerful asset. But it can also be unfriendly.
In sports psychology, the term ‘ideal performance state’ means the perfect state of mind that will allow you to swim your fastest. To get into that state of mind a swimmer must be aware of their ‘self talk’. If your inner voice is saying; ‘you will die on the last length’, ‘you are not fit’, ‘you are going to lose’ or ‘you can’t swim that fast’, then you have to learn to control your self talk.
Once a swimmer starts to be aware that self talk can be mean or discouraging, then it is very important to turn that around. Every time you hear yourself saying something negative, then it is your task to say three positive things immediately.
For example; if you hear your self talk say ‘you are fat’, then you should immediately say to yourself; ‘I am fit’, ‘I am getting fitter all the time’ and ‘I am proud of my improvements in fitness’. You will need to come up with your own postitive affirmations. After doing this 3 positives for 1 negative task, you will begin to hear discouraging self talk quickly and control it. Then it will become your friend. Say positive things about yourself all of the time. Even little things. You like your hair style, you like your helpfulness, you like your new shoes, you like your kind remarks and anything you notice. Your mind is a powerful ally, you want it on your side.