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Dr. John Heil: Swimming Psychology

Dr. John Heil: Swimming Psychology

Some notes and nuggets from Dr. John Heil‘s Swimming Psychology talk at the ISCA Clinic.

“I remember the start…the next thing I knew I saw the finish flags overhead.” – Jeff Rouse after winning Gold.
In the Zen way, Rouse became unconscious. He didn’t need to think about it because he was in the flow.

Intensity & performance are intertwined and therefore require a proper balance. Every sport is different and therefore you must find the “right” intensity level. Studies have shown optimal heart rate for athletics and even war.

Ideal heart rate for soldiers is 140 beats per minute. Below that they don’t have the explosiveness. Above that, they don’t make proper decisions.

Most of us know that heart rate monitoring is critical in swim training. Estimating one’s heart rate is a trainable task.

“Every race is an energy management exercise.” There is no perfect technique out there — it’s what works best for each individual swimmer.

Over training breeds anxiousness and ultimately depression which results in negative performance.

Concentration is the mind muscle. It’s having your brain do what it needs to do when it needs to do it. How quickly can you re-focus once your mind gets off the task at hand?

Worry is work. Worry is fatiguing.

Learn more about Dr. John Heil over at