Research is well documented that athletes use visualization techniques to gain a competitive edge. In a New York Times story, they interviewed Olympic athletes who shared their techniques of engaging the mind through imagery and visualization.
Visualization has long been a part of elite sports. Al Oerter, a four-time Olympic discus champion, and the tennis star Billie Jean King were among those using it in the 1960s.
But the practice of mentally simulating competition has become increasingly sophisticated, essential and elaborate, spilling over into realms like imagining the content of news conferences or the view from the bus window on the way to the downhill.
“The more an athlete can image the entire package, the better it’s going to be,” said Nicole Detling, a sports psychologist with the United States Olympic team.
The goal of visualization is to process as much of the future event as possible, so that the mind is prepared and focused. Some aspects you should include in your imagery:
- make sure to include all of your senses
- visualize the audience
- move your body as if it were the event
- visualize distractions and your reactions/overcoming them
- feel the pressure of the environment
Most people have what it takes to succeed. The difference is in the preparation. Whoever is best prepared will consistently maximize their performance over time, while the unprepared will only have moments of greatness.
Which are you?
Undre Griggs | Be More
quote from New York Times article: Olympians Use Imagery as Mental Training