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The Power Of Visualisation In Performance Coaching

‘Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them- a desire, a dream, a vision’ Muhammad Ali

Ali is confirming what psychotherapists and performance coaching have known for decades; creating compelling internal experiences of what you want to achieve, get’s results

In sport, at any level, if you want to succeed or improve in a particular area or event it really helps to create a positively compelling experience in your mind of what it will feel like, how your body will be moving and what you will be thinking, when you are actually achieving your goal. This means you create a positive vibe in your mind, in readiness for when you physically perform.

Visualisation, or mental rehearsal, is a technique that has been used for many years in sports psychology and performance coaching. It means that an athlete can ‘see’ and experience their success as an action replay in their mind’s eye before the actual event. Sometimes running it over and over again in their mind so they instil a positive vibe and expectation of their performance, such as running a difficult part of a marathon, playing a golf shot or crossing the finishing line.

The Technique

This involves engaging every sense particularly sight, smell, sound and touch and maybe even taste, to really live the experience in the mind. You can either do this by ‘modelling’ a past positive experience that fits the succesful outcome you want, or by creating an experience in your mind as if you have already achieved success. The key to making it really work for you is to focus on all the tiny details. If it were related to running it might be feeling the rhythm and movement in your legs, how your arms moved, how your feet lifted off the ground and their sound, what your stride was like, the sound and feel of your breathing and your heart beating etc. The best way to do this is to firstly see yourself from an external perspective in your minds’ eye before stepping into the image and then experiencing it for yourself, really focusing on all the detail.

One of the reasons this technique is so effective is because research has shown that by doing this you are continuing to enhance the neural pathways that effectively train your body to perform a precise set of movements, without actually moving. So your muscles are learning and practising just as if the action was really taking place. This means that when you actually physically perform the same set of movements that you have mentally rehearsed, your muscles will be prepared and primed for action.

Mastering this mental rehearsal skill means atheletes can prepare for any eventuality such as changes in the weather, noisy crowds or even for the possibility of them feeling ill.

Contact me to chat about how performance coaching can help you or visit my page operformance coaching

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