COACH’S CORNER

How to visualize a win


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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.

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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.

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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