When it comes to athletic pursuits, it’s important to remember that success is far more than physical. In fact, champions of all walks of life will attest to the notion that power of the mind is just as essential to their achievement as palpable strength or speed.
So how do some of the world’s most recognized competitors prepare for race day?
Well according to team TYR, they visualize.
That’s right. Both Momma on a Mission Dana Vollmer and breaststroke phenom Cody Miller have more in common than just their American records and Olympic medals. In fact, both team TYR swimmers are advocates of training their minds to help their bodies perform.
So what exactly is visualization? Well, as described by the Huffington Post it is simply a method for creating a mental image of a future event. This technique helps practitioners to see the possibility of achieving a desired outcome, while motivating them to further prepare for that goal.
For Dana, much of her visualization process happens in the practice pool. By training as if she is in an actual meet, Dana works with the emotions, fears and nerves she knows she’s likely to experience on race day. In doing so, she limits the level of surprises she’s likely to feel when it matters most.
However, it’s important to note that visualization alone isn’t enough to achieve success. Dana uses visualization to push her to move faster and swim harder even when she’s feeling tired or wanting a break. That way when it comes to stepping onto the deck, she knows that confidence and muscle memory will be there to take over.
Cody on the other hand takes a different yet equally powerful approach to visualization. For this breaststroker imagining the perfect race is a task he leaves for bedtime. As he physically relaxes for the night Cody visualizes everything from how the race will feel to what it will look like-almost as if he is watching a movie. Next he’ll see himself walking toward the pool and taking his place on the starting block. Eventually, the visualization ends with Cody touching the wall, feeling all of the excitement and pride he does after every great swim.
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In visualizing a race from start to finish Cody feels mentally prepared to take on the real day-just like he’s already done it!
Whether it’s a motivating force to keep you moving mid swim or a way to wind down at the end of the night, there are tons of ways to bring a visualization practice into your life as an athlete. If you’re a fan of this type of prep we’d love to hear what works for you! So, be sure to tag #TeamTYR in all of your training and race day posts.