Nerves are good, "It's not about getting rid of the butterflies, it's about making them fly in the same direction." James Parrack (British Olympic Swimmer)


A feeling of nervousness helps the body get ready for the performance you want to give.


The body has exactly the same response to things you are anxious about, like going to the dentist, or feeling excited about .. like Christmas Day. In both cases you might not sleep much the night before, you may feel nervous, or be thinking a lot about what is to come etc. The only difference is how you think about it. In the case of the dentist you may not want to do go, and so on. About Christmas Day you may think Bring It On!!


You have to ask yourself 'Is this really where I want to be right now, here, doing this?' The answer should be Yes!


If you find yourself getting too excited, you need to relax.....


Relaxation, sometimes we need to take time to relax. If we spend too much time getting excited, we will have used up all our nervous energy before we get to the race. Relaxation helps pass the time, helps you focus on the performance and keeps the butterflies ready for when they are unleashed.

Breathing exercises are good. Breath in for 3, Hold for 3, Out for 3. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this exercise any time you feel the need to relax, especially on the day of the race.


Visualisation, when you are relaxed, this is the time to spend a few minutes visualising the performance. Go through in your mind exactly what you want to do in the race. See yourself walking out, feeling strong and confident, hear the noise , think about the swimming pool smell, getting on the block , hearing the gun, visualise the perfect streamlined dive, the strong kick into the stroke and every aspect of the race.

Run through this a few times.

When it is done well, visualisation can be a very powerful tool to help the body rehearse the performance you want to give. The more realistic you can make it, the better.




A big thank you to James Parrack (British Olympic Swimmer - Blue Water Training Camps) for kindly sending information on Race Preparation, Turning around Negative thoughts or comments and Focus on Performance Goals Not Outcome Goals which have been summarised on this page.

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