1. !0-11 year boy swimmingSet your self a daily goal to improve by one tenth of one inch. Anyone can improve one tenth of an inch each day. Over a week that’s almost an inch. That’s about 4 inches a month. That’s about 3 feet a year…..and 12 feet every Olympic cycle.
  2. If you are in a pace line (i.e. a line of swimmers) chase the feet of the person in front of you.
  3. If you are leading the pace line, imagine the person behind you is a shark or crocodile and you need to make sure you stay ahead of them!
  4. Promise yourself a small gift or reward for improving your skills and drills – reward excellence in technique – technique is the key to swimming success.
  5. Encourage other swimmers – the better your team mates perform – the more it will lift you and your performance – “a rising tide lifts all the boats”.
  6. Keep a training diary and write in it three things you improved each day.
  7. Keep a PB record sheet on your wall. Watch how you improve over time.
  8. Remember you are special. How many people are prepared to get out of bed at 5 am, train hard and balance school, swimming and life the way you do?
  9. Link your seasonsby making your short course PBs this season your long course PBs next season.
  10. Make it your aim to have your 100 yard kick time no more than 10 seconds slower than your 100 yard PB swim time.
  11. Reward PBs with things that will help you do more PBs. For example, if you do a PB, reward yourself with a copy of the latest swimming magazine.
  12. Understand what motivates you – not anyone else – what motivates you! If you are motivated by winning, then do everything in your power to prepare to win. If you are motivated by learning new skills and challenging yourself, do it. The key to motivation is knowing what it is that motivates you.
  13. Make a PARTNER PROMISE. Find someone in the team who wants to swim fast and make a commitment to them. For example, make a commitment that you will help each other achieve your goals. Each session say something positive to each other, encourage each other, meet at the pool early and do some extra work together, support each other through the tough times. Sometimes knowing you have made a commitment to help someone else is a great motivator for you.
  14. Play imagination games in training like imagining the final lap of every set is the final lap of the 2012 Olympic final and all you need to do is work hard for a few more strokes and you will win the gold medal and break the world record. These imagination games are great fun and very motivating.
  15. Make up some unusual, fun and weird goals that mean something only to you. Like how many times can you say “sausages” on a single breath or what’s the weirdest stroke you can come up with. Having fun is the best motivation of all.
  16. Find a fast beat song that you enjoy and play it before you get in the water. “Feel the rhythm” and the beat when you are swimming and feel it lift you when you get tired.
  17. Do your favourite stretches that make you feel good – as you start to stretch, you will find you begin to relax into the right mind set for fast swimming.
  18. Imagine you are finishing a race when you pass someone in the next lane. Thinking about it will ignite the competitive fires!
  19. Think about how heavy you thought the weight was when you first started doing gym.  How much heavier are you lifting now?
  20. How many push ups / sit ups / chin ups do you do now? How many did you used to do? Be proud of all your success. Enjoy the journey.
  21. Think of the other swimmers that you have beaten recently that used to beat you. Give yourself permission to be proud of your resilience, your toughness, your perseverance and your character.
  22. Imagine how good you will feel when you go home, have dinner and curl up in bed tonight? – Now work hard so that comes quickly!
  23. Challenge yourself to turn (or start or finish) better than ever. Before you know it you will feel better and motivated to train hard.
  24. Think of each lap as an opportunity: an opportunity to improve in an area of your swimming, which will bypass you if you don’t take it.  Remember, someone somewhere IS taking that opportunity.
  25. Ask a top swimmer (or successful athlete in any sport) what they do to stay motivated. Learn from them. Copy them.
  26. Work hard – sometimes not thinking about it – and just doing it – is all the motivation you need.
  27. Do the old NEVER ENDING STORY routine. Make up a funny story and tell someone in your lane a small piece of it between repeats. See how long you can make the story. It really motivates you to get to the end of the pool fast (and start telling the “never ending” story).
  28. Get some support!!! Talk to some friends about motivation and every day support each other, encourage each other – motivate each other.
  29. Put some photos of Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin and other swimming greats up on your wall. Imagine about what they would be doing, what they would be thinking and how they would be training each day.
  30. Finish off one task every day. Nothing motivates you like finishing something! Might be something as simple as homework. Or a chore at home. Just finish something.
  31. Shave down in training – no reason – it just feels great.
  32. Stay positive. Everyone has tough days – the difference is in how you allow the tough days make you feel. Tough times fade…..tough people never do.
  33. Say one positive, encouraging thing to every person in the team: coaches, swimmers, parents, pool attendants – everyone. You will be surprised how motivating others will motivate you.
  34. Believe anything is possible – never, ever stop believing that.
  35. Buy yourself a new, fast swimming costume.
  36. Switch your brain on to something else. Focus on improving in another area of your life – school, music, another sport……..success breeds success.
  37. Remember the three best things that ever happened to you. Just the thought of these amazing things will change the way you look at life.
  38. Put up motivation quotes all over the place. Some good places are next to your alarm clock, on your swim bag, on the top of the bathroom mirror and in your training diary.
  39. Get to training early and motivate some of the younger swimmers in your club. They look up to you and admire you the same way you look up to and admire older and more successful swimmers. Being a role model for others will trigger some really great, positive motivation messages in your brain.
  40. Be the first. For example, get to the pool first on January 1st and be the first in the team to swim a lap, a mile, two miles, five miles and so on. Striving to be the first is a great driving force and very motivating.
  41. Try a new sports drink. Or sports bar. Or a new all natural diet. Motivate your “inside”.
  42. Do something everyday that is “impossible”. Try kicking 50 metres underwater at maximum speed. Or sprinting 60 metres on a single breathe. Or aiming to do a PR from a wall push off (i.e. no dive). Keep trying one impossible thing each day and sooner or later the impossible becomes reality.
  43. Form a triathlon team with two friends at school who cycle and run and enter in a local triathlon.
  44. Lead the team cheers at your next meet. Even better, get some of your team together and write some new team cheers….and lead them at the next meet.
  45. Allow yourself to be proud of you. Look in the mirror and take time to realise what an amazing person you are.
  46. Do something away from the pool to help your swimming. Take an aerobics class to improve your fitness. Do a martial arts course to build strength, balance and confidence. Take up dancing to improve rhythm and co-ordination.
  47. Play a counting game. Swimmers are great at these. Count tiles, laps, turns, breaths, strokes…………….you know the drill.
  48. Have repeat or two in each set which is PERFECT. If you are swimming 10 x 50 always make the second, fifth, eighth and tenth ones perfect.
  49. Challenge someone much faster than you to a race at the end of training. Nothing motivates like a real challenge.
  50. Smile. It is impossible to smile and not feel better.

Wayne and Helen