Visualization leads to reality. It always has, and it always will. When you visualize, you program a high-quality performance into your brain and nervous system and free your body to follow. Being able to picture yourself achieving your goals will help you realize them.
1. Mental Imagery
– Mental imagery gives you a choice to deal effectively with a problem or event in your head before you confront it in real life. Your feelings will be “I’ve been here before. It’s no big surprise. There’s no reason to panic. I’ve prepared for this; I can handle it.”
– Many athletes find it helpful to imagine themselves performing skills perfectly before competitive performance. Run through key offensive moves, quick transitions and great defensive moves. This process strengthens confidence by calling up the feeling of best performance and focuses full attention on the task at hand.
– Mental imagery can also be valuable after a particularly successful performance when it is still fresh. This allows you to re-experience and hang on to successful aspects of the performance, which can help in the future.
– The world’s best athletes have extremely developed imagery skills. They use imagery daily to prepare themselves to get what they want out of training, to perfect skills within training sessions, to make technical corrections, to overcome obstacles, to imagine themselves succeeding in competition and to strengthen their beliefs in their capacities to achieve their ultimate goals.
– As a general rule, you should get into a pattern of doing about 10 to 15 minutes of quality mental imagery every day. In addition to helping you perfect physical skills, imagery is a good focusing exercise. Take your time and move into it gradually.
– As you become more skilled at feeling imagery, the sensations and emotions associated with great movements will surface more naturally when you imagine and perform your skills.
– You can use mental imagery to learn new routines, plays or patterns, and to familiarize yourself with a particular competition site.
– In your mind if you can see yourself respond the way you would prefer to respond, you will be better prepared to respond accordingly in the real world.
2. Executing the Strategy
– The usual sequence is to begin with mental imagery, then practice the imagined skill or coping strategy in a real-world training situation, followed by a simulated situation and finally the event itself.
– Imagine the passion and focus you want to bring to practice and feel the perfect execution of important skills before competition. This will help you to:
- Focus on what you want to do.
- Show you what you need to practice.
- Improve your imagery skills
- Set the stage for an improved performance.