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How to Focus for the Length of Synchronized Swimming Practice

One of the most difficult aspects of synchronized swimming training can be the ability to stay focused for hours on end. Often, the same task can take up an entire morning's worth of work. Thus, training requires an even more disciplined focus, since it could easily become frustrating, or worse, boring.

There is good news, though! Just like you can train your body, you can train your mind. The more you improve your ability to pay attention throughout the length of synchro practice (whether two hours long or ten), the more you will actually enjoy it. You know what they say: Time flies when you're having fun!

If you're having trouble keeping your eyes off the water polo team one pool over (or anything else that makes its way into your line of sight), these mental techniques should help.

Set Reminders for Yourself

It will be nearly impossible to improve your ability to focus unless you can catch yourself in the act of drifting off. One good trick is to set reminders for yourself that will help you realize when it's happening.

For example, make the act of looking at the clock your reminder. When you glance at it, realize that you're not making the most of practice because you're not fully mentally involved. Everyone gets distracted at some point. This technique will just help you realize when you're distracted so you can reel yourself back in.

If This Was the Last Practice

Simply ask yourself, “What would I being doing differently if this was the last practice before the meet? Another good one is, “Am I swimming how I would be in competition?

If either of those were actually true, you probably wouldn't let yourself just go through the motions. You would be fully present and in the moment of each movement. Try tricking yourself a bit and imagine that the practice is a crucial one, because actually, all of them are!

I think the one lesson I've learned is there is no substitute for paying attention.

Diane Sawyer
US Television Journalist

Set Aside Distracting Thoughts for Later

Another obstacle in staying focused could be that you have a lot on your mind unrelated to synchronized swimming. Focusing on outside thoughts while you're trying to practice can be extremely distracting.

One technique is to set aside some worrying time for later. Decide that you are going to sit down for ten or twenty minutes and sort through those troublesome thoughts when you can be fully dedicated to them. Keep your practice time for just that: Practice!

Physical Alertness

When you're tired from lack of sleep, your mind will feel the effects too. Focusing takes brain power. Taking good care of your body will help your mind too.

Planning ahead can help. Most athletes need at least eight hours of sleep a night, so give yourself enough time at night to wind down and actually get to sleep in time to get sufficient rest.

Mind Control

You can learn to take control of when, how, and where your mind wanders. It's possible to train yourself to be a more focused athlete, just like you can train yourself to be a better synchronized swimmer. By improving your focus, your practice time will be more valuable and take your swimming to the next level.

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