By Alan Dickson
We’ve all been looking to find ways to keep fit and find a positive use for all the downtime we have while we we’re unable to train.
I have been giving a bit of thought about how to keep us all ready for when the time comes to get back in the pool.
It’s important we don’t lose sight of that even though it could be some time off.
One thing that I have been reading about is visualization. It’s a strange thought that just imagining doing something can get you ready to actually do it, but it’s true and it’s a technique which has been used successfully by many leading swimmers.
Michael Jamieson was asked by an interviewer how he managed his nerves prior to his Olympic final in London 2012. Michael responded he was totally calm as he had visualized himself swimming that race thousands of times. He had heard the roar of the crowd the feel of the water the burn in his muscles even down to who might be in the lanes next to him.
Of his Gold medal race in the 100 breast at Rio 2016 Adam Peaty said: “It’s weird because I didn’t really get that nervous during the Olympics”, “I’d swum that race a thousand times in my head. I’m a big fan of visualization so I’ll always visualize my race beforehand.”
So, what is visualization?
Put simply it is a way of daydreaming yourself into a situation and using your mind to prepare your body for the physical sensations you will experience when you get there for real.
To get the most of time spent it is important you recruit all your senses so don’t just see the pool, feel the water, smell and taste the chlorine, hear the splash of the water.
Peaty says: “You start by feeling your environment and seeing it at the same time – what the water feels like, who is beside you what it feels like to touch the wall.”
How you do it is really simple, whilst you could just do it in bed at night I would suggest you:
Find a quiet space. If it helps turn the lights off, listen to some music put a swim towel over your head, anything that helps you relax
Spend 2 or 3 minutes working through a scenario. Just a few minutes is enough but do it regularly and consciously.
Above all keep it positive
Keep it real! Visualizing a sub 1:50 200 free won’t help if you have never gone under 2:00.
Details are key - remember see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it
I would also say it’s a good idea to visualise things linked to process rather than winning races.
For example, think about getting ready and arriving at our first session back, think about your perfect land or flexibility session. Look out for some suggestions.
So, there it is. It’s not rocket science and I don’t claim to be an expert but if you want to be ready when the call comes think about it – you know it makes sense.