I’ve been thinking a lot about the skill of visualization lately.
I remember when I was first introduced to it… I was in grade nine, playing high school basketball. My coach told us to practice it; I tried. I couldn’t do it; I didn’t have the skill.
I was bad at it. Like, really bad. I couldn’t control the images in my mind.
I would see the images, but they would be on max speed, fast-forward and I almost always screwed up. I couldn’t even count sheep at night when I was unable to sleep. The sheep would start going so fast that I couldn’t count them. It became more stressful than helpful. So, I gave up.
Visualization Matters. Using your imagination to do a “run-through” recruits the same parts of the brain involved in the physical movement.
Imagining events can also have a “real” stimulus in your muscles and in your body. Have you ever woken up from a nightmare sweaty and your heart is pounding? …and for some reason you’re pissed at your spouse?
These imagined events can have an impact on us physiologically.
When I was preparing for my first CrossFit competition, there were a few workouts released prior to the competition. I would visualize the events over and over. After I could get through them without losing focus, I started to time them. I tracked my timings and wrote each of them down. When it came to the weekend of the competition, my BEST events were the ones that I visualized the most. I remember going home and comparing my actual times to the ones I had visualized. Many of them were SECONDS from my actual performance.
But don’t get me wrong, visualization doesn’t mean you no longer have to put in the physical work. I have gone into major competitions VERY underprepared; I thought that I could “will” my way through it. Let me warn you, that rarely works out.
It’s easy to feel intimidated about picking up a new skill. But I assure you! There are already elements of visualization that you are already using!
Everyone has the ability and the capacity to visualize.
If you’ve ever been able to recall a dream, you know that you have the ability to create images in your mind. Even if I asked you something as simple as – “What was your last meal”. Chances are, you’ll come up with a few images in your mind.
Interested in learning about visualization (and other mental skills)?
Check out the Mindset on Mobility course. You’ll learn:
What visualization is;
Why it works;
Why it matters; AND,
You’ll even get the opportunity to practice during the classes.
Our fifth free introductory video will give you a sneak peek into this very popular mental skill!
Stretch your Mind.
Stretch your Body.
Stretch your Performance.