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Conquering Fears of Competion

Fear itself is relatively normal. Most athletes have some concern about performing poorly. Issues arise when athletes focus more on the negative emotions of not doing well rather than on the excitement they feel if they have a good race. Basically, there are two types of athletes, those with a positive approach who focus on achieving success (they “swim to win”) and those with a negative focus who work to avoid failure (they “swim not to lose.”) Start by asking your athletes why they think they wouldn’t do well in the first place. If they trust their training, their coach, work hard in practice and have a healthy lifestyle, then there is no legitimate reason why they can’t compete to their potential. Then, turn the focus to why they think they should succeed. Have them make a list of the fundamental things they need to do to swim well. It’s as simple as having a great start, a smooth stroke, a strong kick, etc. By having your athletes simplify the sport and recognize that all they need to do to have a good race is swim, it helps to build their confidence and assuage their fears