May 13, 2022 • 3 min read
Visualization is a tool many athletes use to improve their sports performance. Visualization refers to the mental image of something. It’s become a common way for athletes to prepare for practices and games and also as a reflection practice. If you are a coach, parent, or sports organizer looking to implement visualization into your team, child, or program, here are 6 simple tips.
One of the easiest ways to get comfortable using visualization techniques is to picture yourself playing the sport. Try and imagine as much detail as possible; from what you are wearing, how the ball feels when it hits your foot, and atmosphere around you. Use your mind to get creative and put yourself in positions where you feel strong and accomplished.
Another way to get started with visualization is to use all of your senses. What do you hear? What do you smell? Can you taste anything? Now bring those sense into the moment of image you have of yourself on the field. What do you feel like when you step up to bat? What does the lacrosse helmet smell like? What do you see around you? Use a first-person perspective and embrace every single sense.
Can you think about that feeling when you scored a winning goal? Or how fast you ran to your teammates after making the overtime shot? Focus on parts of your game that make you feel great. Allow yourself to smile, feel chills, and fully get excited even if it is for a short moment.
Just like you practice your sport daily or frequently throughout the week, visualization also takes time and commitment. Dedicate 5-10 minutes before your training sessions to picture yourself out on the field, court, or pitch. Dedicate time to visualization, it’s the only way to master it and have it become part of your routine. Sooner than later you’ll start having an easier time embracing all of the sense and picturing yourself in those happy game moments.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a goal for visualization, but think about something that you want to accomplish through visualization. If it is that you want to be more confident out on the field and connect more passes, picture yourself doing that. Feel what it is like to pass the ball and have it hit your teammates cleat. Make a goal for yourself, say it is 10 passes in a row and visualize yourself making all 10 passes.
Visualization is fully in your hands. If you find your mind traveling to a dark place or negative moment, erase and start again. A simple mental note of resetting will allow your body and mind to back track and start from a fresh place. It’s natural for your mind to go elsewhere at moment, just be open to snapping out of that thought and beginning from a new positive image.
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