Updated: Oct 2, 2022
Did you know that visualization is critical for athletes, but this skill can also serve you in your everyday life?
I love teaching skills that can be carried off the athletic field and into everyday life applications, #skillsoverpills
At its simplest, visualization is imagining an action or situation in the first person and seeing it through to a successful outcome. The action could be a short one: for instance, a tennis shot, golf swing, baseball pitch, or football pass. Or it could be far more complex: an entire race or ski run. But it isn’t only in sports; this applies to life situations such as giving a successful presentation or nailing a job interview.
Despite its name, visualization is far more than a purely visual exercise. The closer you get to reality, the better. When visualizing, engage all your senses! What’s the weather, where's the wind coming from, what can you smell, and what can you hear? What does your body experience, and how does it feel to win? Are your hands sweating, is your jersey soaked in sweat, is the crowd loud or silent?
Tips for getting the most out of visualization practice:
· Be detailed and specific. It needs to be as close to reality as possible
· Use more than images. You must involve all your senses, even physical movement, if necessary.
· Visualize in real-time. Don’t try and speed through the process.
· Practice, practice, practice
· Make it a habit. It can help you both with your physical skills and mental ones.
Use visualization to continue your practice if you have to take some time off to recover from an injury or need a physical break. Psychologists have seen that serious mental practice is almost as effective as the real thing, so it’s one of the best tools for continuing to hone your skills.
Studies show the importance of mental training for athletes; it’s not always more practice, more reps, and more strain on the body. A group of Olympic athletes who physically trained only 25% of the time, and mentally trained a whopping 75% of the time, outperformed the group who physically trained 100% of the time.