Tag Archives: visualization

Think Like an Athlete

9 Oct

Being an athlete is about more than just strengthspeedagility, and athleticism (although the development of those characteristics is certainly important).  It even goes beyond the genetics and “natural” ability with which you have been blessed.

Being an athlete is also about how you think; how you practice; how you talk (especially self-talk); how you act; and how you dream.

Being an athlete is about setting challenging goals — and working hard toward the achievement of those goals, every day.

Being an athlete is about realizing your long-term objectives and having the discipline to stick to your plan.

Being an athlete means being aware that there will be obstacles along the way, and having the mental toughness to overcome adversity.

Being an athlete involves visualizing yourself succeeding, and positive, encouraging self-talk, along the way.

Being an athlete requires a commitment to constantly improve upon your performance.

Being an athlete means focusing on improving you, and not comparing yourself with others — being better today than you were yesterday.

Here’s a great read from Huffington Post titled, 8 Ways to Think Like an Athlete.  The article does a nice job of expanding upon some of the thoughts discussed above.  If you are — or aspire to be — an athlete, it’s a “must-read.”  And it doesn’t just apply to athletics.  The same principles can be applied to school, work, and life.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Improve Performance with Visualization

28 Jul

Athletes spend months preparing for the season, yet there are typically only a few moments during competition when they experience complete control. On the field, athletes have little or no influence over the weather, the fans, their opponents’ skill level or other factors affecting performance.

The trick to becoming familiar and comfortable within uncertain environments is visualization. When they visualize, athletes are totally in control, and they have a great opportunity to experience success by realizing their mental images. The more an athlete can visualize successful performance, the greater his or her potential to achieve it. The correlation is direct between mentally rehearsing an action or movement—using the senses of sight, sound, touch and even smell—and making it real.

Here are some tips for creating effective mental images:

  • Start simply by visualizing a single, static object, for example a basketball
  • Aim for clarity; with practice, the vividness and detail of your images should become clearer
  • Visualize in the first person by imagining yourself, or in the third person by imagining another person with the object
  • View it from a different perspective; if you are imagining a basketball, attempt to mentally bounce it and “feel” the seams of the ball with your fingertips, enhancing the complexity of your visualization by adding another sense
  • Practice. Mentally rehearsing successful skill execution, such as dribbling a basketball during imagined competitive conditions, can provide your subconscious mind with positive memories, increase confidence and enhance preparedness

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Think Like an Athlete

5 May

article1[1]Being an athlete is about more than just strength, speed, agility, and athleticism (although the development of those characteristics is certainly important).  It even goes beyond the genetics and “natural” ability with which you have been blessed.

Being an athlete is also about how you think; how you practice; how you talk (especially self-talk); how you act; and how you dream.

Being an athlete is about setting challenging goals — and working hard toward the achievement of those goals, every day.

Being an athlete is about realizing your long-term objectives and having the discipline to stick to your plan.

Being an athlete means being aware that there will be obstacles along the way, and having the mental toughness to overcome adversity.

Being an athlete involves visualizing yourself succeeding, and positive, encouraging self-talk, along the way.

Being an athlete requires a commitment to constantly improve upon your performance.

Being an athlete means focusing on improving you, and not comparing yourself with others — being better today than you were yesterday.

Here’s a great read from Huffington Post titled, 8 Ways to Think Like an Athlete.  The article does a nice job of expanding upon some of the thoughts discussed above.  If you are — or aspire to be — an athlete, it’s a “must-read.”  And it doesn’t just apply to athletics.  The same principles can be applied to school, work, and life.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve Performance with Visualization

14 Mar

head_games_l-e1350662318335[1]Athletes spend months preparing for the season, yet there are typically only a few moments during competition when they experience complete control. On the field, athletes have little or no influence over the weather, the fans, their opponents’ skill level or other factors affecting performance.

The trick to becoming familiar and comfortable within uncertain environments is visualization. When they visualize, athletes are totally in control, and they have a great opportunity to experience success by realizing their mental images. The more an athlete can visualize successful performance, the greater his or her potential to achieve it. The correlation is direct between mentally rehearsing an action or movement—using the senses of sight, sound, touch and even smell—and making it real.

Here are some tips for creating effective mental images:

  • Start simply by visualizing a single, static object, for example a basketball
  • Aim for clarity; with practice, the vividness and detail of your images should become clearer
  • Visualize in the first person by imagining yourself, or in the third person by imagining another person with the object
  • View it from a different perspective; if you are imagining a basketball, attempt to mentally bounce it and “feel” the seams of the ball with your fingertips, enhancing the complexity of your visualization by adding another sense
  • Practice. Mentally rehearsing successful skill execution, such as dribbling a basketball during imagined competitive conditions, can provide your subconscious mind with positive memories, increase confidence and enhance preparedness

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Everyone Wants to Win, But Not Everyone Wants to Prepare

19 Nov

“Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.” – Zig Ziglar

Winning is not an accident.  Neither, for that matter, is success.  Look at a winner and you see the surface, the “tip of the iceberg.”  What you don’t usually see is the effort that was responsible for, and contributed to, the end result.

Winning, at every level, is the result of preparation.  Work ethic, achievement drive, innovation, communication, and teamwork are essential components of the process.  Preparation is the key to success – winning – in sports, school, in business, and in life.  Success typically comes to those who are best prepared.

Physical Preparation is training the body for successful performance.  “Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.” – Unknown

  • Sport-specific skill development – blocking and tackling (football); ball-handling and shooting (basketball); hitting and fielding (baseball); etc.
  • Strength and conditioning – improve performance by developing strength, speed, agility, and athleticism.
  • Nutrition – fuel your body for optimum performance.
  • Sleep – proper rest is essential to the recovery process.

Mental Preparation is training the mind for successful performance.  “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

  • Goal setting – motivate yourself with realistic, challenging goals.
  • Visualization – use your imagination to train by creating a mental image of success.
  • Focus on execution and practice to eliminate distractions.
  • Have Confidence in your skills and prepare to cope with adversity.
  • Commit yourself to your game plan or strategy.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Sports Psychology, Part 4: Psychological Management Strategies

21 Sep

Mental preparation is an important part of athletic performance.  According to Baechle and Earle in The Psychology of Athletic Preparation and Performance, “Applied sport psychology involves the employment of techniques to gain control over psychological factors, which influence sport performance.  The validation of such techniques is one mission of the scientific discipline of sport psychology.”  There are several strategies that can help athletes and coaches work together to improve athletic performance outcomes.

Goal Setting

Coaches can potentially improve athletic performance by incorporating appropriate goals for their athletes.  Coaches can instill a sense of success, achievement, and self-efficacy through positive and negative reinforcement.  Goal setting involves a process that pursues progressively challenging standards of performance in an attempt to increase the likelihood of perceived success.

  • Process Goals can be achieved under the athlete’s control.  If the athlete puts forth the effort, success is likely.  Weight loss could be considered a process goal.
  • Outcome Goals are those over which the athlete has little control.  Winning a game or race might be an example of an outcome goal.
  • Short-Term Goals are those that, while challenging, are close to the athlete’s present ability level.  They increase confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.
  • Long-Term Goals are “big picture” goals, like winning a championship.  Athletes may see more relevance in short-term goals if they understand how they contribute to long-term goals.

Long-term goals and short-term goals are interdependent.  Long-term goals provide a sense of significance for pursuing short-term goals.  The attainment of short-term goals provides a progressive sense of mastery and success that builds self-confidence.  Athletes should define process goals to focus on elements of their performance over which they have control.

Relaxation Techniques are intended to reduce physiological arousal and increase task-relevant focus.  These techniques are critical when attempting to execute complex, difficult-to-learn tasks.  Examples of relaxation techniques are diaphragmatic breathing, muscular relaxation, and visualization.

Diaphragmatic breathing, referred to as belly breathing, focuses the athlete’s thought on breathing to clear the mind.  It requires that attention be directed away from the chest and instead to the abdominal region, as the source of conscious breathing.

Muscular relaxation is accomplished by going through a series of alternate muscular tensing and relaxing phases.  This process can help athletes learn to become aware of somatic (voluntary) tension and thereby control it.

Visualization is a skill in which the athlete uses all the senses to create a mental experience of an athletic performance.  The perspective of the image can be internal (the athlete himself or herself) or external (another person).  Visualization can help an athlete to reinforce a particular behavior or skill.

Coaches and athletes can improve performance and increase the enjoyment of competition by understanding and embracing the mental aspects of performance.  Positive, goal-oriented coaching is a powerful contributor to psychological preparation for sport.  Physical and nutritional preparation should be the foundation on which performance potential is based.  An adequate understanding of the mind-body relationship can help athletes to manage emotion and arousal.

Your thoughts?

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