“What Do You See?” – The Art of Visualization
This month’s blog is about a topic that I have used and implemented throughout my athletic career (as a Athlete, Coach, Advisor). This simple, but under-utilized, technique of “Visualization” is powerful, and extremely effective for successful outcomes in any walk of life. I have had numerous athletes express to me that after doing something spectacular in competition, it was as if they had already seen themselves “Making that Play” many times before. (The reality is they HAD seen themselves “Making that Play” in their “Mind’s Eye!”) The unconscious mind is very persuasive, so by painting the “pictures” that you want to occur, you get your desired results as a “Reality.” I challenge you to begin utilizing, if you don’t currently, this “Secret to Success” after reading more about it in this blog ……. “What Do You See?”
WHAT IS VISUALIZATION?
Visualization is thinking in images, your thoughts fall away, and your mind quiets down without you having to fight with it. Visualization is using your imagination to create what you desire in life. Visualization leads to reality. When you visualize, you program a high quality performance into your brain and nervous system and free your body to follow. Being able to picture yourself achieving your goals will help you realize them.
I KNOW YOU HAVE DOUBTS… Without a doubt, most athletes don’t visualize much at all. And the ones that do don’t know HOW to visualize properly…so they try, but they don’t get the results they should. I’d estimate that only 1 in 1,000 athletes actually harnesses the true power of visualization. Instead they tell me things like, “I can’t focus under pressure” or “I’m over-analyzing” or “I can’t stop the negative self-talk”. Or they tell me their coach or Dad is always getting them down. Or that they try to psyche up but they don’t believe in themselves – it just feels like a big lie. They have these mental game problems because rather than focusing on what they want in sport, they are focusing on what they DO NOT want. This is where the power of visualization comes in. It corrects this problem by focusing you on the positive vision you want to achieve …. what you need to visualize is what you want to happen. The ability to hold a positive vision in your mind is so crucial to winning.
WHY VISUALIZATION IS LEGIT! Visualization is simply a way of PRACTICING your sport – in a very profound, concentrated way. It’s powerful because you can get the images from THREE places: (1) memory, (2) imagination and (3) environment. By using your MEMORY, you condition your body to respond better to difficult conditions. By using your IMAGINATION, you program your mind to focus under pressure. By watching the visual images in your ENVIRONMENT, you can teach yourself any complex skill. When you watch Aaron Rogers (Green Bay Packers quarterback) throw a game-winning touchdown pass, you are noting every aspect of that athletic maneuver. It’s in your mental database, and when you practice on the field, you are strengthening the memory in your database.
EXECUTING THE STRATEGY:
There are two keys principles to keep in mind when practicing visualization. The first is, your practice needs to be consistent (10 minutes a day, everyday). It helps to make a commitment to practice your visualization the same time every day. First thing in the morning as close to waking as possible is ideal. This is because the mind is still slightly lucid at this time, which makes it easier to conjure up images.
The second key principle is you need to stay positive. Even if you can’t summon crystal clear images yet, you will still gain huge benefits from your visualization practice. It still works. Just connect to the image in whatever way you can. For some people that will be feeling the image, or just getting a sense of what it might look like. Wherever your current level is, nurture it and allow it to grow.
I started using visualization, without knowing it, when I was a high school athlete. I used to create mental pictures of myself succeeding in sports. Through these mental images, I knew that I could give extraordinary performances on a basketball court, football field, baseball field or track. I was like most young men who gravitated to sports. It was a way of expressing myself. When I created those pictures in my mind, I felt reassured and confident. It was as if the mental images were real. I would let my total being melt into my thoughts and imagine that the pictures were happening to me at that very moment.
We can’t all be superstar athletes, but we can be successful in our chosen fields. If you look at most any field, the successful people will most likely say they visualized themselves achieving their goals. Successful athletes envision themselves winning in their sport. They see themselves making the perfect block or pass to make the play exactly as it was designed on the board.
“THE FRUITS OF VISUALIZATION”
* Overcome extreme nervousness
* Reduce and erase pain
* Learn new skills more easily and quickly (e.g., kicks, catching passes, etc.)
* Overcome major intimidation from a competitor
* Increase your energy
* Relax more easily
* Increase speed / reduce times
* Banish negativity, and sustain positive attitude
* Recover from illness and injuries more quickly
In closing, Albert Einstein stated: “Imagination is more important than science.”
If you want to have “Lasting Change” in your life, you need to refocus your mind.
Specifically, you need to change your thought patterns from focusing on what you don’t want, to focusing on what you do want.
Why? Because whatever you focus on is what you move toward.
What you think about, you bring about.
What you focus on and think about, is what you bring into existence.
After reading this blog ……..
“What Do You See NOW?”
Until the next time,
“The Other Coach K”