Mental Game

On this page I plan on updating some of the things I work on with my mental game. Believe it or not this is where most of my time is spent on a daily basis. Every time I think about swimming I work on a “winning mentality” whether I’m at work or in heavy training. I am working closely with a sports psychologist to perfect this side of my swimming. Sports psychology can be very interesting and extremely useful. Huge improvements are being seen in training and in competitions.

Prepare to be your Best on your Worst Days!

Most athletes shine when they “feel” perfect and the conditions are ideal when its time to compete.  This is that golden moment where everything seems to be just right. You stand up on the blocks in your favorite lane at the Olympic Games and you feel like you are a million bucks. No one can beat you because you have never felt this good. In that case its easy to perform at the top of your game.  But, what if you don’t feel perfect? You are in your least favorite lane. You are shaking from being nervous and feel like your legs are noodles.  Are you still going to win like you would in your perfect world?

More often than not athletes fail because they are so accustomed to ONLY performing at their top when they feel perfect and the conditions are exactly what they need and want. The majority don’t feel perfect at race time and don’t have the exact conditions necessary for that perfect swim to just happen with ease. When that’s the case many fail because they didn’t prepare for it!  More often than not you will not have ideal conditions for your race or you may not feel perfect. Maybe your plans may need to change on the fly seconds before your swim. Will you be ready for that and still not have it affect your perfect race?

On your worst day when you feel horrible from getting sick and the pool is to hot,  will you be able to simulate your perfect mindset and perform at the level needed to be successful at the big meet? This is what you train for! Expect the best, but prepare for the worst! When you are put in not so ideal conditions learn to step up and perform at top levels. This is how you can  increase your success rate at the big show.  This will help you make sure no matter what happens you WILL succeed!

By: Nick Brunelli


Wear Positive Thoughts & Emotions on Your Sleeve

Swimming isn’t a team sport where we get the benefits of a positive team atmosphere at the toughest times in training. We miss having a team-mate pick us up when our head is buried in the water trying to just finish a set let alone doing it well. The times when we can be good team-mates are limited to before the workout. between the working sets and after the workout.  I think the most important time is after your done top carry it to the next big set.  After you worked your butt off it feels great to hear someone say “Awesome Set.” But what really feels good is when you have an awesome set and you make an effort to let someone else know they did awesome too!!

Take every moment you have in swimming and bring in positive team atmosphere. It goes a long way in helping others you care about but also yourself too. Spread the positive vibes whenever you can!

By: Nick Brunelli


  1. very nice topic .

  2. How does one stay positive coming back from surgery when your training is all over the place? Some days are ok. Others you think your strength and endurance will never come back..very hard to stay motivated

    • You take one day at a time! Soon you will string together a few good days then a week and maybe a good month and beyond. You then will look back and see how hard you worked all season. That’s where you get your confidence from and then its easy to be positive going forward. I always said the first step is “act as if”. Even if it wasn’t a good day act as if it was. But that’s just a start. The next day you try to get even closer to that goal and if not there yet “act as if” until you reach your goals. You not only help yourself along the way but I bet you helped other people around you with that positive attitude.

  3. Hey Nick….great tip! I want to present this exact thing to our head coach……it’s not enought to set goals, you need to share those goals with others. I want to have
    “goal partners” next season. My objective is that teammates engage each other. This partner will take an interest in others accomplishments in & out of the pool, during great & not such great swims. Keep up the updates……

  4. Nick, good stuff today (2/24). Had this just happen to a swimmer of mine– getting sick 3days before the high school state meet. To his credit, he still rocked best times.

    I’d go one step further and say that you can “practice” performing well under poor conditions in practice, not just at meets– everybody has a day or two (or three) where they’re tired, stress is overwhelming, a slight cold is creeping in, pool temp is too hot/cold, and/or rival teammate is crushing workout, etc. If you can get up for *practice* in those conditions, doing so in a meet is even easier.

    • Scott you are right. take it a step further. Coaches can help teach swimmers how to deal with unstable conditions in practice too! Coach Marsh has thrown floaty noodles and pull buoys at us when trying to race a 100 all out before. It’s up to the swimmers to not let it affect them. another good one is tell your swimmers on a repeat type set to put their goggles around there neck and swim a few. Their goal should be not to get slower!!

  5. Hi Nick, just seen your link on twitter, been reading this, really informative and just what i need in the run up to my first competitive pool swimming in 6 years!! really looking forward to it, and I have now been picked for the 2 relay events so the pressure is on 🙂 I don’t want to let them down, I really going to enjoy the weekend and the social event afterwards 😉

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