Managing swimming anxiety.

Managing Swimming Anxiety.

Sport psychology can be a valuable tool in helping swimmers with anxiety. Swimming is a sport that can bring a lot of psychological pressure, due to the need to perform at a high level and to constantly strive to meet personal goals. First, it is important to recognize the signs of anxiety in a swimmer. These may include physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, or shaking; mental or behavioral symptoms such as poor concentration, negative self-talk, or avoidance of activities; and emotional symptoms such as fear, worrying, or depression. Once these signs are identified, a sport psychologist can then intervene with evidence-based strategies to help the swimmer manage and cope with their anxiety. Imagery is one such strategy that can help swimmers get more comfortable with their performance in the pool. This technique promotes relaxation through visualizing positive outcomes and rehearsing techniques for peak performance. Other psychological techniques such as goal setting, motivation, and self-talk can also be employed to help the swimmer gain confidence and focus on task-oriented goals. In addition, sport psychologists provide support to swimmers in the form of counseling and psychotherapy. During these sessions, they can work with the swimmer to help them develop coping skills and strategies for managing their anxiety. They can also help the swimmer identify unhealthy thought patterns and replace them with positive ones, teach them how to manage stress, and provide guidance in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Finally, sport psychologists can help swimmers with anxiety by teaching them mental toughness, resilience, and positive attitude. Mental toughness involves developing an individual’s ability to stay focused and motivated in the face of adversity, while resilience focuses on finding strength in times of difficulty. Positive attitude involves focusing on the good aspects of one’s life and using a hopeful outlook to remain optimistic. In sum, sport psychology can be a powerful tool in helping swimmers with anxiety. By employing psychological techniques such as imagery, goal setting, and self-talk, as well as providing counseling and psychotherapy, sport psychologists strive to help swimmers maintain a healthy mindset, cope with their anxiety, and stay mentally tough and resilient.

Stephen Renwick
Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist (Psychology)
Director of Champion’s Mindset