While you are swimming, if you say a few words that strengthen or build your self image, you will cancel out some of the negative things encountered during a workout or race. Repeating a short, positive phrase or a few power words will help you ignore distractions and outside influences like:
- Minor aches and pains
- Other swimmers' distracting antics
- How many repeats you still need to complete to finish a set that seems to be going on forever
- The homework you still have left to do today
- The person swimming RIGHT behind me, touching my toes every other stroke
Saying a few, simple words or a short phrase, over and over, works like self-hypnosis. In this case, you don't want to do the "you are getting sleepy" routine, you want to use words or phrases that make you feel strong, secure, powerful, and confident. Repeat a positive affirmation that makes you feel good. Repeating that positive affirmation, power words, or self-talk will help your self-confidence. In turn, by increasing your self-confidence levels, you will increase your own ability to push yourself in a race or workout, and you will be more likely to achieve success - and more likely to swim faster.
What are the power words to use? Each swimmer may have different words or phrases that they like the best. What is the difference? It might be the specific words, it might be the order of the words, or it might even be the rhythm or timing of the words, but a positive self-affirmation in the present tense (not "I am going to be fast" but "I am fast") - some self-talk - should be individualized or custom-fit to each swimmer. The next page has some ideas to help you develop your own power words or affirmations.