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Fishgrrl
August 19th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Confession time: I struggle with a committee in my head (and I've tried to ignore 'em) that tells me things like...."you suck"..."you'll never get any better", blah blah blah.

Now that BillS has encouraged me to delete that dreaded work from my lexicon, I am sure that another one will pop up.

I know this is kind of a rant....but how does one really feel good about themselves as a swimmer yet avoid being delusional? Seriously....how do you keep a balance of positive thinking while being able to honestly regard how you swim and what needs to change/improve?

What do you guys do? Is it good coaching, simply having a solid self esteem in the first place....?? Is it simply that people carry their low self esteem into the water...if so, how do you overcome that...?

Thoughts?? What in the world is sports psychology anyway?

hmlee
August 19th, 2005, 03:40 PM
When you find the answer, please let me know. I too am dealing with low performance-esteem and anxiety issues.

fatboy
August 19th, 2005, 03:57 PM
Kari,

Ande had a something in his tips on this. Tips #27 & 28

Some good stuff here

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4229&perpage=15&pagenumber=8

ande
August 19th, 2005, 03:59 PM
falls in the area of self image and self talk
people have mental patterns they return to like trails they walk

people do carry their low self esteem into the water

I've trained with self loathing low self esteemed world record holders.

We become what we think about.

Thoughts become things.

When negative thoughts appear,
let them drift by or replace them with something constructive.

the NLP swish technique might work.

If you want, you have all the controls to your mind.
You can turn the volume up or down.
You can make images bright or dim.
You can move the screen far or near.
You can visualize yourself from your own set of eyes or as a narrator would from the side.

You may not be able to stop what your subconscious throws at you, but you can decide what to do with it once it does.
and you can work to imprint new mental habit patterns to become the you you wanna be.

Ande




Originally posted by Fishgrrl
Confession time: I struggle with a committee in my head (and I've tried to ignore 'em) that tells me things like...."you suck"..."you'll never get any better", blah blah blah.

Now that BillS has encouraged me to delete that dreaded work from my lexicon, I am sure that another one will pop up.

I know this is kind of a rant....but how does one really feel good about themselves as a swimmer yet avoid being delusional? Seriously....how do you keep a balance of positive thinking while being able to honestly regard how you swim and what needs to change/improve?

What do you guys do? Is it good coaching, simply having a solid self esteem in the first place....?? Is it simply that people carry their low self esteem into the water...if so, how do you overcome that...?

Thoughts?? What in the world is sports psychology anyway?

jim clemmons
August 19th, 2005, 04:03 PM
Speak what you want not what you are.

Keep it to yourself and you won't have to worry about others thinking you're delusional.

Of course everyone has "bad" moments. It's how they handle them that helps them to rebound easily and quicker than most.

In your question you even regress by stating:

"I am sure that another one will pop up."

Statements like that will just drag you back into negative thinking.


Speak what you want not what you are. Speak what you want not what you are.

Jim

Leonard Jansen
August 19th, 2005, 04:10 PM
I often had that or similiar asked of me when I was coaching racewalkers. The answer I often gave was this:

Get lost in the process of your training.

Reasons:

You will achieve your best results from training; not from worrying about arbitrary goals or how you stack up against everyone else.

We set goals for ourselves, not realizing that they usually become barriers at the same time. "I'd be happy to swim XXX for YYY" means that you've probably just created your own Everest. Just swim and blow right through the barriers.

If you keep one eye on your "goal" you will only have one eye to find the path to that goal.

-LBJ

P.S. I urge you to pick up a copy of the book "Zen in the Martial Arts". There are several chapters that would be most instructive here. It's a short and accessible book.

Blue Horn
August 19th, 2005, 04:35 PM
For me, I just enjoy the moment and focus on the feel of the water and let the improvement come. I love that feeling I get from a good workout. The improvement will come, just don't expect it to happen over night. It requires consistency of training 4 to 5 days a week. After a few months you will see improvement. Plus, you will reall notice it if you swim with a group.

A saying that always helps me change my percpective when I am down or frustrated with a situation is: "You can get bitter or better." When I say that to myself, I generally end up thinking about how silly it was for me to get bitter over the situation. Sometimes I respond by laughing at myself and thinking that I will stay bitter for a little longer and then I will get better.

Good Luck, I truely hope things get better for you. I have been in that depressed state and I know it is not fun.

Hook'em
Blue

Karen Duggan
August 19th, 2005, 06:50 PM
Kari,
I feel like I'm following you from thread to thread.

Get yourself to some of our workouts, there's no time to feel negative or depressed- too much fun and hard work going on. Kerry is a great cheerleader. He doesn't always know the exact right thing to say, but you know he is ALWAYS THERE and believes in you. He can be very matter of fact which I admire and need to hear!

I love to go to workouts where I didn't want to go- those are ALWAYS my best ones. The other 90% of the time I give myself a challenge during a set. Usually they are time challenges (I'll do this 25 fly on :14, etc..) However, other times they are physical challenges. I'll only breathe 3 times on this 50; I'll make sure I anchor my right arm before I pull; there are a million things to choose from.

I usually make the timed goals I set or come within a second, so I feel pretty good. I've learned a lot about technique from Kerry so in my mind I feel like I know where I can "pick up a tenth" here or there: "if I just put my hand here" "if I hold that streamline a little longer"- and the physical challenges hurt a lot (breath holding especially) and if I make it I think of it like I just made another deposit in the swimming bank, and when I'm hurting in a race I'll remember "hey, you've done this before, you can do it".

Just some ramblings, sorry.

Moral: It's YOUR shoulder and your swimming, think good things and make small goals that you will achieve; build confidence and then move on. I've seen you swim and know you can do whatever you put your mind to. No, it won't be easy, but the good fight is never easy. Come swim with us!!!!

laineybug
August 19th, 2005, 07:04 PM
Several years ago I was surfing around looking for sports psychology (as those kinda things are interesting to me--wonder why?) and found this site. Most of it is 'pay to view' but there are several articles that are free, you might find interesting. Click on the archive link on the left.

swim psychology (http://www.swimpsychology.com)


Ask yourself if what you are doing, is working for you. Is the negative self talk getting you what you want? If it isn't, then ask yourself why you continue to engage in that behavior. Finally ask yourself how you can change your negative talk into positive criticism.

Most people have some self doubt and engage in critqueing their own behavior a sometime. When you feel the need to critque your performance, do it constructively. Instead of saying, "I suck.," Say, "My elbow wasn't as high as it should have been." That kinda of "negative talk" focuses you on how you could do better. Then you have to follow through and work on improving. Beware though that you shouldn't try to fix everything at once. Focus on ONE or TWO things. Don't worry about other things, and try try try not to make negative statements about the things you haven't chosen to change. As the things you have focused on improve (keep a chart), at the very least, remind yourself of how far you have come in both the skill and self talk (and reward yourself with a new suit, or fins, etc.), then select something else to improve. Now that's a positive way to approach the problem.

Positive reinforcement increases behavior and punishment decreases behavior. Then there's omission and negative reinforcement (which isn't the same as punishment) but I'll hold those for another lesson.

A simple behavior mod technique for eliminating negative thoughts (would be considered punishment): wear a really good, thick, stiff rubber band on your wrist at all times. The second a negative self thought pops into your head, pull that rubber band back and give your wrist a good stinging snap.

Lainey

Fishgrrl
August 19th, 2005, 07:04 PM
Everyone:

Thanks for all the awesome feedback. It is so hard to pull yourself out of a state of "swimming depression" alone; it's hard to see anything good about yourself.

Karen - those are really great ideas - picking out something small and attainable. Yeah, I need confidence - that's for sure. My next few Saturdays are crazy but I plan to show up soon....
Thank you for the kind words.

Fishgrrl
August 19th, 2005, 07:10 PM
Dear Dr. Lainey (from As the Swimming World Turns fame)

I'm wearing a big rubber band tomorrow to workout! Good idea....

Thank you for the website too

laineybug
August 19th, 2005, 07:17 PM
Don't forget to give yourself some positive self talk... my elbow wasn't as high as it should have been but my hand entry was pretty good.

using both the positive and negative will decrease the unwanted self talk and increase the positive thoughts.

Lainey

Allen Stark
August 19th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Positive self talk is great,as is positive visualization. People sometimes still get caught in negative self talk. when that happens remember IT DOES'NT MEAN ANY THING.(Actually it means something related to the past and if you want to analyse it alone or with a therapist fine, but I mean in the here and now,it is meaningless.) I find it often helps people to think "there I go again" when they start to think negative and then let it go and start over.

Fishgrrl
August 19th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Lainey - will do.

Fishgrrl
August 19th, 2005, 07:22 PM
Allen - that's what my rubber band will be for..."here I go again..." snap

Karen Duggan
August 19th, 2005, 07:41 PM
Hey Kari-

Better yet- get a really small LIVESTRONG band.... snap that puppy- talk about positive outlooks!

Alicat
August 19th, 2005, 07:58 PM
"I know this is kind of a rant....but how does one really feel good about themselves as a swimmer yet avoid being delusional?"

What's so wrong with dulusions? I swim in the psychology pool five days a week, and yea, sports psychology -it's a post grad degree from a few colleges and universities. :rolleyes:

Very helpful I suppose for the oober awsome and elite athletes, and yes, it starts with positive self talk and guided imagery, but that is also counseling 101.

The idea of dulusions however is not a bad thing... If thinking, and racing, like you are next to Phelps, Thorpe, and Spitz --there is nothing wrong with that and would be encouraged.

Now if you think you are Phelps or Thorpe we have medication for that!:D

ande
August 19th, 2005, 08:54 PM
read "oh the places you'll go" by dr suess

"when you're in a slump
you're not in for much fun
unslumping yourself is not easily done"

mattson
August 20th, 2005, 12:30 AM
You might find the book "The Warrior Athlete" by Millman useful.

In one section, he suggests that you treat yourself as you would treat others. Do you go around yelling at other swimmers, "You suck! You aren't good enough!" ? Shouldn't you be as courteous to yourself?

In my view, there is a world of difference between "(I'm okay now, but) I could be better" versus "I'm not good enough now".

PeirsolFan
August 20th, 2005, 06:04 AM
Give it time. You should be able to feel how good you are when you swim. Balance is applicable to all aspects of your life so work on your general self-esteem. Try not to compare yourself to other people, because everybody's body is different and works differently. Do the best you can.

You might try reading some of the interviews at www.usolympicteam.com. Athletes from a variety of disciplines have discussed how to deal with failure and frustration and it helped me a lot.

Bob McAdams
August 20th, 2005, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by Fishgrrl
I know this is kind of a rant....but how does one really feel good about themselves as a swimmer yet avoid being delusional? Seriously....how do you keep a balance of positive thinking while being able to honestly regard how you swim and what needs to change/improve?

If you want to improve your times - even set a world record - that's not delusion, it's desire. Now, if you believe that you've already set a world record (when you haven't), that's delusion!

I really don't see any conflict between "positive thinking" and honestly regarding "how you swim and what needs to change/improve". It's pretty hard to believe that your times are going to get better unless you can see things that need to change/improve about how you swim.


Bob

FindingMyInnerFish
August 21st, 2005, 02:04 AM
Interestingly, my self-esteem issues seem to be given a rest when I swim or run, not b/c I do either one so fast, but b/c the process of trying to get faster is so interesting and so free of any kind of connection to who I am. Paradoxically, I think it HELPS in my case that I've NOT been a star in sports. I can go to the pool or out running and be free of the pressure to perform b/c no one expects me to be super fast, no job or scholarship is on the line, and any step forward is good. My swim coach has one of either of these pieces of advice on his workout sheets-- either "Go your own pace. Don't worry about what others are doing" or "Do the best that you can do. Don't worry about what others are doing." I've been trying to apply that advice elsewhere too--to life generally.

Conniekat8
August 22nd, 2005, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by Fishgrrl
Confession time: I struggle with a committee in my head (and I've tried to ignore 'em) that tells me things like...."you suck"..."you'll never get any better", blah blah blah.

Now that BillS has encouraged me to delete that dreaded work from my lexicon, I am sure that another one will pop up.

I know this is kind of a rant....but how does one really feel good about themselves as a swimmer yet avoid being delusional? Seriously....how do you keep a balance of positive thinking while being able to honestly regard how you swim and what needs to change/improve?

What do you guys do? Is it good coaching, simply having a solid self esteem in the first place....?? Is it simply that people carry their low self esteem into the water...if so, how do you overcome that...?


I know them little comittee voices in my head are just a bunch of mean little liars. I know better then to listen to liars. I tune them out like I tune out destructive relatives. ;)

To keep balance, you set little realistic goals, things you know you can attain with a little stretch, but without killing yourself.
Over time those little goals will add up to progress.

Every time you attail one of those little goals, give yourself a little pat on the back for accomplishing it.

Conniekat8
August 22nd, 2005, 02:02 PM
I tend to listen to my coach who also happens to have a masters degree in sports psychology.
:D

Fishgrrl
August 23rd, 2005, 03:33 PM
Thanks everyone for all of your encouraging words. Practicing being a good self coach...it's hard sometimes but I'm tired of the alternative.

Karen - I'm ordering a kiddie LiveStrong band!