MENTAL TRAINING FOR THE ATHLETE
Whether you are a recreational athlete or a high level athlete, your training could benefit from some sport psychology.
Visualization (also called “guided imagery”) is a type of mental training. Imagine that you are training for a martial arts tournament: you imagine every kick, punch and block that you do; you imagine how you react to every movement your opponent makes; you imagine the sound of the crowd, you feel every movement (every muscle, every step, pivot, breath); you see your opponent’s attacks, you see the audience and are aware of the clock as you have only minutes in each round.
Every move is calculated and rehearsed a thousand times in your mind, playing out in perfection every time. Strong, repetitive visualization practice is part of many high level athletes’ training: it trains the mind and body to perform the skills you imagined, it also helps the mind deal with the pressure of performance.
It is a successful training method. When you are visualizing your scenario it is like living it vicariously where you see, feel and hear every relevant detail of your performance. So take the time to try it out:: you can apply this to anything from hockey to weightlifting, or any other skill related activity. Remember that repetition is just as important with visualization as it is with physical practice.