No matter how much a child loves swimming, it is very common for him to develop certain degree of stress and anxiety before a swimming competition. Actually, the anxiety your 11 year old feels before a competition is not the fear of participating in the event but the feeling caused by his raised adrenaline levels. Talking with him a bit would definitely ease the feelings and help him to take part in the event successfully.
Tips to Help Overcome Swimming Competition Anxiety
- Allow him to relax well before the event: It is very important to avoid rushing in at the last minute, as it would only aggravate the tension. Try to arrive at the swimming competition spot a little early. This will let the child relax, get acquainted with the atmosphere and plan well to win the race. Ask him to close the eyes and sit calmly for a few minutes.
- Prepare him mentally: Tell him that he is there to participate in the event out of his love for swimming. Ask him to concentrate on the task rather than worrying about the result. If your child starts losing confidence, then ask him to concentrate just on his breathing and shut out all the pessimistic thoughts.
- Take care of the diet: Eating too many sugars in the form of energy drinks and energy bars will only shoot up the sugar levels and other chemicals in the blood. This will ultimately result in fatigue. Instead, use lean protein and water to meet the energy needs and fluid needs. A child free of fatigue will be fit both physically and mentally.
- Remind him of his past success stories: To improve confidence levels in the child remind him of his success in studies or how he initially learned swimming successfully. Tell him the pool is similar to where he swims daily. Ask him to think of the fellow competitors as his friends. Make him feel brave by saying that he has won many hurdles to reach at this point.
- Practice simple aerobic exercises: Breathing exercises elevate the mood and improve the cardiovascular activity. It even helps to reduce the stress. If stress does not relieve even after concentrating on breathing, tell him to smile, even if he has to fake it. This will automatically change the mood, drop his adrenaline levels and make him feel comfortable.
Lastly, help your child to learn the Olympic spirit i.e. taking part in the event is more important than to win it. This will do wonders and help your child reach his ultimate goal.