As a Sports Performance Expert I am constantly amazed at the amount of sportspersons who don’t utilise visualisation. This is a very important tool for any athlete and one that must be considered in your training – ALL top performers use visualisation.
The mind can’t determine between vividly imagined and ‘reality’. So every time you vividly imagine something the mind acts as though it is real. The neurology lights up and reacts in exactly the same way that you would in actually carrying out the act.
Examples of people using visualisation in sport are Johnny Wilkinson experiencing his goal kick, Tiger Woods seeing exactly where the shot will go, and bobsleigh drivers seeing the course and acting ‘as if’ they are driving a course prior to taking the sleigh down. How many more examples of this can you think of?
Now, the more times you repeat something the smoother and more efficient the neurology becomes. That is why in sport you practice the same move again and again, and this is where my 4P’s come into use – Perfect Practice makes Permanent Perfection.
So each time you operate a move the neurology becomes more efficient and the action moves towards unconscious competence – you just react in the perfect way without thinking.
In sport there are only so many opportunities or times that you can carry out the action that you want to improve. You may need a training partner, or equipment. Or your body can only perform a limited number of actions due to the exertions it receives. Or even the circumstances just don’t happen that often. All this can be overcome by visualisation.
As a vividly imagined event is considered by the mind no different to a real event, visualisation should become part of the core of your training. You don’t need equipment, don’t need people, and place no stress on your body. Perfect. No excuses then!
You can take the execution of a move or technique, a route or course, or even how you want to behave to the opposition. Anything you do within your sport from preparation and training, through to the actual event, and how you feel and act after that event can be used for visualisation. And down to the most minute detail too.
In order to utilise visualisation you need to totally immerse yourself in the experience. See what you would see, hear what you would hear, and totally experience the feelings that you would have on the outside and on the inside. There’s a methodology for effective visualisation and this will include associated (through your own eyes) and dissociated (through another person’s) rehearsals. The more vivid you can make the experience, and the more times you repeat it, the more you are training your neurology for how to react.
Visualisation is just a tiny part of the work I do with my sports performance work. I can teach people how to visualise effectively, and often utilise hypnosis as with this I can help my client completely become that experience. I can teach self hypnosis to maximise the effects of visualisation and am developing a range of hypnosis MP3’s for various sports to assist people in this process.
It is also worth noting that it is not just a tool for sports performance – visualisation is an important tool whether in business or any aspect of personal life too.
So now you know possibly a bit more about visualisation, ask yourself, I am utilising this important skill in becoming the best I can be?