Before any game, everyone gets nervous about making that one mistake that lets their whole team down. If you really think about it, most athletes have much harder time thinking about the good things that are going to happen in their game than the possible mistakes they may make. Losing is the thought that is always racing through athletes minds. What if we lose? Are we going to have to do extra sprints? How much are we going to disappoint our fans? I have touched on the topic of the technique of visualization in one of my recent blogs, and now I will elaborate on the subject a bit more.
Visualization is the most common technique athletes use worldwide, and is also known as meditation, guided imagery, or mental rehearsal. No matter what you chose to call it, visualization is simply pulling up a mental imagine in your head that you want to see happen in your next performance as an athlete. Visualization is a proven mental technique that helps any individual increase their success rate, athletes especially. It can also relax and calm your nerves, which is a big factor in improving your game as well. To really succeed through the employment of the visualization technique, you must practice it just like any other skill. Having exceptional focus is the number one key to visualizing yourself doing well in a situation and actually making it work.
This mental rehearsal is what trains athletes’ minds, in turn teaching our body’s muscles to perform just as we want them to during the real game. This is why when we worry too much about missing a shot, or failing to make the right pass, we actually do. When our mind is thinking “mistake,” we are going to make them. In recent years, studies have found that visualization is improving individuals’ physical and psychological reactions and performances in many kinds of different situations. Focus is what really can either make or break our performance, which is about 90% just mental focus. However, you cannot become a better player without actually practicing the game physically, but when you combine that with mental imagery, you have twice as much of a chance succeeding. Now, before your next few big games, practice this technique and watch the transformation.