Granted – it’s a no brainer that you have to put in the necessary hours in training to achieve the desired athlete-relevant results. However, it is sometimes surprising as to how often the importance of sport visualisation is overlooked and how it works…
Sport Visualisation Explained
What do we mean by sport visualisation? It basically refers to mentally recreating experiences (in the sporting context) by making use of information that is stored in the memory. Generally it involves an athlete visualising himself or herself achieving a desired result or performing a specific movement.
While sport visualisation can be pretty much applied to almost any sport, it is most relevant to sports that are of a more technical nature such as Olympic weightlifting. By visualising your desired form, you will have a fresh memory or image of what movements you need to execute in reality.
The advantages of sport visualisation are extremely numerous. Athletes can use it to motivate themselves to train at their best. It helps you put things into perspective about what things are important and it also helps you block out any impending negative thoughts. Few activities can get an athlete psyched up like sport visualisation.
Research has indicated that the act of envisioning a relevant muscle movement can potentially result in electrical activity in the specific muscle, despite the fact that there is the absence of the actual movement of the muscle. That same electrical activity bears a resemblance to the electrical movement that occurs during the actual movement. In this regard, the relevant muscles are primed for the upcoming physical activity.
Further research has also indicated that you can use visualisation techniques to hone your physical skills even when you are having a lay-off and it can also lead to faster rehabilitation and recovery if you are injured. When you are unable to train you are still familiarising the mind with the movements and techniques that needs to be performed.
Sport visualisation has the ability to produce some remarkable results because when you envision yourself performing a certain movement or exercise or activity in a desired manner, you are actually creating neural pattern in the brain. Those are the same patterns that would be generated if the action was actually performed.
Mental imagery conditions our minds to react in a certain way so that when the action actually happens, the mind is familiar with how it has to process information which translates into a better performance of the athlete. Simply put, to achieve the tangible, the intangible has to first be accomplished.
By regular visualising and familiarising yourself with the subsequent game-day, you will be able to handle the stress and emotion that accompanies it with a larger stride. Regular visualisation is going to boost your confidence and also fuel your hunger to succeed. There is good reason why so many sports psychologists and coaches implement sport visualisation techniques when it comes to grooming athletes.
There is also good reason why the world’s top athletes swear by the effectiveness of sport visualisation – it works! If you are a serious about competing or you just want to be the best athlete you can be, implement sport visualisation into your training and get an edge on the rest of the pack…
Do you utilise sport visualisation techniques?