It’s time for the Big Race. The one you’ve put months and days and hours into training for. Now you are on the block. Teammates, friends and family are watching and waiting. You can almost feel them hold their breaths.
Waiting for the gun is probably the hardest part of any race. Your mind risks going all over the place and slipping into near panic.
Over-thinking can cost you that vital good start when you need to leave the block fluidly, targeting your entry into the water with steely precision. That’s hard to do when you suddenly find you are rethinking a poor start in training a few weeks back.
What to do to avoid the anxiety? I calm my nerves by focusing on small mantras, something that reflects what I want to achieve. It could be a word like ‘powerful’ or a short phrase thought such as ‘fluid turn’ or ‘stay smooth’. Actually, I use mantras in both my daily training and day to day life as when I need to chill out.
Mantras have been used for thousands of years by practitioners of yoga to calm a racing mind by providing it a focal point. Whether you are in a stressful meeting or in a fight with your partner, repeating a simple mantra can slow the negativity down and slice through feelings of anxiety.
Next time you are on the block or in a tough meeting where not everyone is taking on board your great ideas, why not give it a go. Relieving stress and regulating the heart rate, a mantra also eases fear in my experience, which makes them ideal for getting me centered.
... And totally ready for an awesome, explosive start!