Why do athletes do this?
- When I am not excited for the race that is about to take place (which strangely does happen to all athletes), listening to music alters my state of consciousness to be more "excited" and hence helps me to perform at a higher level, as your body needs to be "awake" when you are going to RACE!
- It can also do the opposite, if the moment seems too big and I seem too nervous, listening to music can relax me and help me not to get too tense before a swim.
- If I want to remember some previous feelings or thoughts on other races, I will listen to music which reminds me of that past race - doing this can bring positive thoughts and emotions and even go as far as make my whole body remember what it felt like. In doing this I can use my past race experiences to build up my present performance.
- It can help me to get to that place were NOTHING is in my consciousness and I can let my body relax and just refuel, either before or even after a race. Some nights before a big race I have found music could even help me sleep!
- Other times I might just not want to talk to anyone else before a race, and in putting my earphones on, I can achieve this without being rude to others.
- Using music to help you perform is like everything else in sport, you need to know what works for you. We are all unique! There is also no unique music, which helps a swimmer swim fast. I have spoken to swimmers and they have all used different forms of music… anything from heavy metal or dance, to country.
- Sometimes you might not want any music - I have found in my own swimming career that I have used music less and less to help me perform and more purely for enjoyment.
- Always know that what works for one might not work for another. Learn to listen to your body, mind and soul and do what your heart truly believes, as this is one of the most powerful forces in sport and in life.