Transforming Swimming Performances Through The Power of Words

positive self talk

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”


That’s what I would repeatedly say to my primary schools friends whenever they said mean things to me. I my mind I could see the effects of sticks and stones and to me they seemed much more painful, but the truth is far from that statement.

coach reed

“Silence is not a primary communication channel. We can’t convey total meaning in silence. Sometimes silence conveys the wrong meaning.”

Words are very powerful and their effects can last a lifetime, and instead of pointing fingers we are starting with the swimmer. Join me and Coach Reed Maltbie as we take a look at the swimmer’s internal conversation and see how words, verbalized or not, can keep a swimmer from reaching their potential.

If you’ve ever noticed that your mind is racing before you even hop onto the blocks then this episode is for you. Make sure you listen all the way to the end when Coach Reed provides a clear outline of how to form a partnership with your mind and channel your self-talk.



Topic Timeline

  • How coach Reed started coaching at age 16 (2:38)
  • Why Coach Reed talks to himself/what is self talk (7:00)
  • Is self-talk verbalized or is it internal? (7:56)
  • Why race visualization is self-talk (9:10)
  • Why we should remain silent when swimmers fail (10:14)
  • How to start becoming aware of our own thoughts (12:36)
  • How embrace performance anxiety(15:28)
  • How to channel your thoughts before a race (18:39)
  • The power of visualization (19:56)
  • Experiencing a flow state partnering the mind and the body (23:37)
  • The downward spiral of negative self talk (28:27)
  • The American Idol Syndrome and false praise (31:53)
  • Why we should be learning from failure (34:57)
  • Being wary of contagious negativity (36:11)
  • What the culture of a winning team looks like (38:11)
  • Specific steps to taking control of your mind (41:11) 

Show Notes

Coach Reed’s TED Talk

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For Love of The Game movie clip

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