Training the Mind's Eye
All athletes use a powerful mental skill that either helps them succeed or sets them up for failure. The difference is that many of those athletes are unaware that they are actually practicing the mental skill. This skill is most referred to as imagery or visualization. Imagery is the act of an athlete creating or re-creating an experience in their mind. Many athletes are unaware that what they are mentally visualizing in their mind is actually training the brain to learn those behaviors and thoughts when it comes time to compete. So if the athlete lacks confidence or is scared of the next competition he may be rehearsing the worst possible outcomes and how his body and thoughts may feel before, during, and after competing. As a result, it is no surprise when the athlete experiences high levels of nervousness because he has trained his brain to respond that way. A more confident athlete may imagine her competition in a completely different way with positive feelings and good outcomes about the event. Science has shown that imagery is one of the most powerful mental skills that often lead to successful and failed performances.
In addition, athletes also have unique ways of imagining their performances. There are two major ways that athletes imagine their sport: Internal and external. When athletes close their eyes and imagine their performance as if they are actually seeing the movement from their own eyes that is called internal perspective. One example would be a tennis player seeing his hands holding the racket and then shortly after looking directly at the ball, watching it hit the strings of the racket as he finishes the swing. The second way many athletes imagine their performance is externally. When these athletes imagine themselves performing, they see themselves as if they were watching themselves on television. Therefore, a tennis player would see her entire body in front of her and see every movement including her own facial expressions. Research has shown that there are strong benefits to both types of imagery and that both types of imagery are trainable!
At SPMI, athletes learn many different skills including learning how to train their brains to enhance their imagery levels and maximize imagery both internally and externally. These essential skills helps combat stress in under the most stressful situations when competing. To get started training your minds eye and developing a professional imagery routine to improve your game contact SPMI today.