How to visualize a win


Have you ever visualized a successful lift in your mind before attempting it? If so, you’ve used mental imagery to enhance your performance. Mental imagery can be a powerful tool for achieving your goals, whatever your sport. Here are four lessons on improving your performance through visualization.

Use mental imagery

According to new research, mental imagery can be a powerful tool for overall success, and it only takes five minutes a day. First, visualize the goal you want to achieve, be it increasing your vertical, running faster, becoming stronger or even winning the finals. Visualize yourself achieving your goal. Next, just prior to taking the ball, imagine a successful victory; replay the win over and over in your mind.


Use all your senses 

The most important thing with imagery is using multiple senses, like sound, sight and smell. When you visualize scoring a basket, actually feel your hands on the ball, feel the sweat on your face, the smell of the leather, and the sound of the crowd. This incredibly vivid imagery helps an athlete to prepare mentally, by improving their confidence, focus, clarity and speed of thought.

Kick it up a notch

Visualization is important, but what’s even more important is the feeling it creates inside. Feelings lead to emotions, and emotions are the fuel of your performance. Imagine how it will feel once you’ve achieved your goals. Who will be there, what will you say, and who will you thank? If you’re an emotional person then technically you should be crying tears of joy or screaming at the top of your lungs during this process, to recreate the emotion you’ll be feeling once you’ve accomplished your goals.


Use meditation to bring it all together

As an athlete, you know that giving your mind time to recover is important, and visualization can be a tool for success. Here’s how to quiet the mind and get started on this beneficial practice. Close your eyes and take your awareness to your breath. Trace the movement of the breath through your body. If possible follow it all the way to your belly, and then back up, releasing any tension as you go. With each breath you relax a little more. If an idea or thought pops into your head, go back to a simple mantra like Om. Once you’ve reached this peaceful state of mind, stay there as long as you wish.

Silhouette of a man figure meditating on sky background



The 10,000 hour rule


In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. If the conclusion is true, how can we leverage this idea to achieve greatness in our field? There is logic behind why some people become successful, and it has more to do with dedication and practise than genetics or even opportunity.

The Science behind it

After analyzing countless developmental patterns and searching for a common thread amongst successful people, science has proven that there is no such thing as a gifted child. There are only opportunities that allow people to capitalize on their passion through 10,000 hours of practise, time and dedication to perfecting and understand every aspect, every little secret involved in mastering that passion. This is what will separate a moderate performance from an extraordinary one.


Planning is key

Keep a journal and document everything. Your plan should include training sessions, to specific drills or goals you have for each session. Remember to keep it reasonable. Gradual improvement will keep you motivated and inspired to keep pushing beyond all barriers that you thought were possible for yourself.

Beyond the practise

There is no sure-fire ticket to the NBA or NFL, but if this doesn’t get you there, nothing will. You have to understand that beyond the science is an understanding that the practise goes hand and hand with the desire to become better every day. Think about your goals; this will help you focus your training and give you something for which to work. Your goals don’t need to be anything lofty and they shouldn’t be unattainable, which could make you quit.


Balance it out 

Some people thrive on intense involvement in one area of their life, while others have more areas of interest, like academics, or having a personal life. Find the level of participation that works for you. Take your cues from the people around you, and above all else trust your intuition. Make sure that the limits that are set are ones that everyone around you can agree on.




The difference between winning and succeeding


Rarely will you hear a coach tell you that it’s OK to lose, but despite the importance of winning, let us for a moment de-emphasize winning, and steer your attention more toward succeeding. Success is not about the outcome, rather it is about the journey. Success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.

Give it your all

Never scout an opposing team, instead devote your time and meticulous attention to making sure your team is prepared to do their best, rather than trying to be better than another team. There are only so many variables of performance and success that we have control over: hours of practice, stamina, strength, and mentality. Practice is where the work happens; the game is just a measure of the effectiveness of the work that you have put in.


Self-reflection and evaluation

Champion always go back and reevaluate their performance, they watch game tapes and sit down with their teammates to figure out what could have been done better. They know that there is something to be learned from their mistakes. While their best effort may not yield the results they want, that’s okay because the purpose is to give your best effort regardless of the final score.

Focus your energy

Learning how to direct your energy toward your most rewarding tasks is crucial for achieving high levels of success. One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is directing their energy towards low-valued tasks. Take a look at everything you have going on right now in your life.  Pay close attention and ask yourself what the high-valued tasks are — the ones that have the potential to bring the most reward to you and your life.


Take inventory of your thoughts

Success is a mentality. If your thoughts are directed more toward winning, gaining the esteem of others, meeting another’s expectations of you or outperforming someone else then you’ve lost the game before it’s even begun. Look beyond your thoughts and examine the behavior, feelings, and beliefs that led to your thoughts in the first place. Reiterate to yourself your goals, both short-term and long, and how you’re going to accomplish them. Once you are certain where you’re headed, your thoughts will get into alignment with your direction.



What the top 5 coaches say about leadership


Leaders live by choice, not by accident, this is an important concept to understand, and when it comes to leadership, the following men are all an authority on the subject. These five consummate champion builders and trophy seekers had the knowhow and dedication to turn franchises into dynasties, all while commanding the love and respect of all who they coached and led to victory.

Phil Jackson: American professional basketball executive

“Obviously there is an intellectual component to playing basketball. Strategy is important. But once you have done the mental work, there comes a point here you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line. That means not only being brave, but also being compassionate toward yourself, your teammates and your opponents.”

Sports have wrapped up within them, amazing life lessons that can be utilized off the field. Compassion breaks down barriers among people, be it on a court or in the real world. Taking the time to understand your teammate, or opponent’s situation will help create empathy which is necessary in order to be an effective leader.


Vince Lombardi: Coach of the Green Bay Packers

“Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn’t do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.”

We need each other to succeed. As a leader, you need your team fully behind you and supporting you if you want to see success corporately. You need to emphasize the importance of teamwork and build an organization that has a good team culture.


John Wooden: American basketball player and coach

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Character is what makes people believe in you and is essential both for individual success and for our society to function successfully. Each individual must do his or her part every day by living a life of integrity.

Bill Walsh: Former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers 

“Others follow you based on the quality of your actions rather than the magnitude of your declarations.”

The way you get others to follow you is demonstrating you deserve to be followed. Leadership is about the example you set and the culture you create.


Dean Smith: North Carolina legend 

“I wasn’t as critical during games as I was at practice. Players needed confidence during games more than criticism.”

Be aware of how each of your teammates responds to criticism. As game time draws near, make a concerted effort to increase your ratio of praise. Your team will appreciate having you in their corner.