How To Practice In Your Mind

Imagine if you could cut your practice time for any sport or activity in half and still improve. Would you do it?   

Professionals say that it takes roughly 3,000 swings of the golf club to change your swing so that it becomes natural. That's a lot of swings and a lot of time! What if you could construct and visualize the perfect swing over and over again in your mind instead of actually physically swinging the club that many times?

Visual imagery, or mental rehearsal, is a memory technique that involves constructing mental images when learning new information in order to be able to better recall the information later.

Visualization is very powerful. Thinking and visualizing negative scenarios can cause you to underperform by creating head trash that will lead you in the wrong direction. However, positive visualization primes your mind and body for success by imprinting successful outcomes in your mind. The more you can imagine successful repetitions, both mentally and physically, the greater likelihood you will replicate those performances in games. The Wizard's free-agent center, Ian Mahinmi, puts it this way,

“It is like building muscle memory, but for your brain. It is amazing how much better you can perform with greater confidence gained through visualization… "

How To Visualize Effectively

  1. Relax and get comfortable. This will help quiet your mind.
  2. See and feel yourself performing how you want to in competition. One of the most effective ways to start using visual imagery is to watch a short clip (-2-5 seconds) of you or a professional athlete making the perfect swing, shot, hit, pitch, or whatever your sport may be. Set this short clip on repeat and watch it over and over for 2 minutes. Then close your eyes and see yourself doing it in your mind. 
  3. Use all your senses in order to have a deeper imagined experience. While imagining scenarios, try to imagine the detail and the way it feels to perform in the desired way. These scenarios should include as many senses as possible. 
  4. Visualize only positive results in the beginning.
  5. Immerse yourself in the emotions you would experience when performing successfully. Feel the feelings and experience every part of the visualization.

Conclusion

Physical and psychological reactions in certain situations can be improved with visualization. Repeated imagery can create experience and confidence in the ability to perform certain skills under pressure. This type of mental practice can also create renewed mental awareness and a heightened sense of well-being. This skill can be very valuable in sports, as well as your life. 

Thanks for reading!

Jeff Miner, "Head" Coach and Founder of Triumph Performance Institute

 

 

 

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