Sport Psychology for Swimmers, Swim Coaches and Swimming Parents
I recently asked the members of the US Masters Swimming forum, what’s different about being a masters swimmer, and what specific challenges they have to manage compared to younger swimmers.
Although it was not really a scientific study, some really interesting themes emerged, from some pretty detailed and thoughtful responses. Broadly speaking, these fell into three categories: Motivations for swimming; challenges faced; and fears or barriers to overcome.
As there was so much rich data, …
I was given a stark reminder recently that for any competitive swimmer, at any level, setbacks are a reality. Injury, illness and other uncontrollable factors mean that all of a sudden the event that you’ve been preparing for - the goals that you’ve set yourself, perhaps the opportunity to gain international honours or a National title for the first time – can be gone in a flash.
I remember the crushing disappointment myself, of not ‘making it’ to the European Juniors. I use those …
If you believe the multitude of success gurus that have sprung up on the web you might believe that setting goals is absolutely essential for performance and happiness.
Don't get me wrong. Goal setting is a very useful skill. Used well it helps focus your energy, think more clearly and build confidence. But goal setting is neither a silver bullet for performance, nor is it essential.
Indeed, the evidence on the efficacy on goal setting in sport remains patchy. My simple view is that this …
Being the parent of a swimmer is a thankless combination of roles, from financier to taxi driver and many things in between. At the same time as making huge sacrifices yourself, there’s every chance that your teenage child will probably reward you by finding you intolerably embarrassing and tell you on a frequent basis that you’re ruining their lives. Brilliant!
As a parent and psychologist, I’ll start by declaring my own lack of perfection. This cobbler’s children quite often have no …
Why use Goal Setting?
People tend to equate goal setting with motivation, and tougher goals with higher levels of motivation, but that’s a simplistic view that can lead to ineffective goal setting, anxiety and problems with confidence. On the other hand, effective goal setting can help swimmers:
Focus on the right things at the right time;
Become more confident; and
Identify the steps that you need to take on your performance ‘journey’.
For me, goal setting isn't really about …
Reviewing your performance is one of the key skills that a young swimmer can learn. After all, how else do you know what to work on to improve? That's what matters - continual improvement - whether you're an agre grouper or an Olympian.
I used to envy the guys that could throw away a bad swim, but actually, it's as unhelpful to throw it away without learning as it is to dwell on it as I often used to do. Balance is important.
What should I include in a review?
I suggest starting with the …
Sarah Collings is a distance swimmer who won international medals for England and Great Britain, before becoming a mother and taking up masters swimming. You can follow her on twitter @SarahLCollings Here’s more from Sarah.. What are your favourite events? 200m, 400m and 800m FC What honours or awards have you achieved? 1998 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist [...]