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Using mental imagery to enhance your sports performance 🏆

Dernière mise à jour : 29 mars 2020

What do Olympians, such as wrestler Dan Gabler, downhill skier Picabo Street, swimmer Michael Phelps, and gymnast Gabby Douglass have in common ? They all credit mental imagery for supporting them to achieve their Olympic achievements.



Mental imagery can be explained as the process that occurs when people recreate experiences in mind utilizing information that is stored in the memory. Dreaming is an unorganized form of imagery, but the type of illustration that most sportspersons are interested in is structured imagery, where the athlete exercises his or her imagination in a controlled fashion to recreate specific concepts.


There are several different ways of visualizing images or happenings recreated in mind (example: you can imagine yourself assuming movement internally or externally as a spectator). Still, research reveals that the more able an athlete is to control his or her imagined movements, the higher the potential performance improvement.


As for hypnosis, there is nothing mythical concerning it. Self-hypnosis has got nothing to do with moving into a profound trance but is simply a method of influencing a state of heightened relaxation and awareness, which, when accomplished, provides an ideal mental atmosphere or zone in which to practice imagery. Surely, the effects of imagery can be even further powerful when practiced in a situation of self-hypnosis.


Mental imagery itself can be beneficial in several circumstances, including :


· Amplifying self-confidence

· Developing pre-competition and engagement strategies which teach athletes to deal with new situations before they encounter theme

· Supporting the athlete to focus his/her attention or meditate on a skill he/she is trying to learn or develop

· The competition positions

Advantages of Mental Imagery in Sports


1. Augment Motivation


Sportspersons can apply motivational imagery to charge up with impulse by familiarizing themselves with their aims. Winners like Arnold Schwarzenegger (in bodybuilding) gave an account of how they maintained the first place on the winner’s podium innumerable times first in their imagination before they rendered their experience into reality.



2. Increase Athletic Physical Accomplishment


Because your mind observes imaginary experiences as though they were real, you can selectively supply it with artificial impressions of your selection. So if, for instance, you would want to operate on your football kick, you would imagine yourself performing it in perfection, thus creating a memory indentation that will carry over to your physical achievement in the future.


3. Decrease Anxiety and Tension


When you withdraw to an imaginary world, you can let go of tension and anxiety. In the global bestseller Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz called that internal environment the “Mental Foxhole.” It’s your private kingdom where you can do whatever you like. To relax and overcome anxiety, you would visit a place of peace and serenity, free of stressful stimuli. A sanctuary of healing.


Visiting an imaginary safe place is an efficient cure for stress and anxiety, usually. As an athlete specifically, to overcome performance anxiety, you would imagine yourself performing gentle and confidently (or in any other coveted mental state), picturing all the circumstances that constitute a comprehensive athletic training.

4. Accumulation of Confidence


You know that rush of confidence whenever you win at something significant to you? Through your creativity, you can artificially engineer breakthrough scenarios for the future, or you can return to your past triumphs. One way or another, observing yourself succeeding, invariably reinforces your determination in the visualized activity.

5. Make a faster recovery when wounded or sick



In times when you can’t train because you are suffering from an affliction or you have caught the bug, you can still keep up with your practice sessions hitting your mental gym, thereby expediting up your recovery and maintaining a top pattern.






Here are few tips to develop your imagery skills :


· Feel your accomplishment

You should see how it “feels” to perform specific skills or systems in practice. Sufficiently experience how your body shifts as you play.


· Picture with feeling

You should consolidate that “feel” of your body running as you perform into your imagery concourses.


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It may take some time to be satisfied with this type of imagery, but the advantages are more than worth it 💪🏼.
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