|03-07-2008, 04:30 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boulder, CO
Visualizing Athletic Performance?
I've been fascinated by the power of the mind to enhance athletic performance. I'd love to hear some inspiring stories of how your vision of performance influenced your actual performance. Since I'm asking, I guess I should share one of mine first...
This isn't actually my performance, but that of a college soccer team I coached more than 10 years ago. One of the fitness tests the players had to pass in order to be considered for the team was to complete a 2-mile run in 12 minutes or less. Many of them trained hard during the off-season, and many did not. This was one test that successfully weeded out those who hadn't adequately prepared for pre-season camp. That being said, I wanted everyone to succeed and move beyond this test so I could have more time to evaluate each players' talent, attitude, and fit for the team.
I ran a guided visualization for them the day before the 2-mile test. I ran a stopwatch as they visualized themselves running the test on the track in the stadium. They were guided, eyes closed, to notice all the details as they were running in their mind - to see the stadium, the garbage can, the scoreboard, the tunnel entrance, the tree at the end with the branch poking above the scoreboard, etc. To hear their breath, their footsteps, the way the sound echoed in the empty stadium, etc. They were also instructed to silently raise their hand when they visualized themselves finishing the run, and I recorded their time from the stopwatch.
Out of 28 players, 18 of them had an actual time (the next day) that was within 60 seconds of their visualized time. Six others were more than 2 minutes slower than their visualized time. And the remaining 4 were within just 7 seconds over or under! They were amazed, and so was I, and I've been a believer in the power of vision on athletic performance ever since.
OK, I can't wait to read more stories of the power of vision in sport performance!
|03-07-2008, 05:56 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Washington State
The book The Body Has a Mind of Its Own by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee has a chapter that describes studies showing that visualization improves performance. They explain that all of the same areas of the brain are active when you visualize doing something and when you actually practice—except the one that sends signals to move your motor neurons.
|03-08-2008, 10:07 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2008
There are many studies out there on sport and visualization, MANY of the top athletes and sports stars receive coaching in this area. Physical preparation is great and a requirement for every athlete obviously, but if you put in all that hard work and then do not feel your best on the day of the event then you simply will not put in your best performance.
It is all about ensuring you are in a peak mental state when it counts and visualization is a large part of this, another great technique is to anchor the feeling of that peak, driven state of mind to the moment of walking out onto the track / pitch or whatever.
|03-10-2008, 09:15 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2007
at college i was taught that when we visualize our performance, our brain activates the same motor programs that it uses in the actual performance and sends very faint signals to our muscles, as apposed to the normal signals ur muscles receive when u perform.
i always visualize 100's of times, whether it be for a set play in soccer or how to counter act in a certain situation in boxing, it really is useful, lots of top athletes do this.
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