See it, Do it: How you can use Mental Imagery & Visualisation to become a better athlete…
See it DO it!! You may have routinely heard myself and the other coaching staff at Crossfit Perpetua using this phrase. But what do we mean when we say it.
We are referring to the use of mental imagery to ensure you have every chance to make or improve the lift or movement being performed. Powerful stuff if used correctly.
Best examples of this come most frequently from Sport. The players at the top of their game in any top level professional sports have seen, and potentially even feel they know the outcome, of every game, match, play, tactic, skill before it even happens.
They see themselves kicking that winning goal, 1000 times. Sinking that winning put, landing the vital blow, evading the tackle and crossing the line or nailing their best ever Snatch.
Many elite athletes routinely use visualization techniques as part of training and competition. There are many stories of athletes who’ve used these techniques to develop not only a competitive edge, but also to create renewed mental awareness, a heightened sense of well-being and confidence. All of these factors have been shown to contribute to an athlete’s sports success.
Generally speaking, visualization is the process of creating a mental image or intention of what you want to happen or feel.
An athlete can use this technique to ‘intend’ an outcome of a skill, movement or training session (WOD). By imagining a scene, complete with an image of a previous best performance or a future desired outcome (like the perfect rep). The athlete can simply ‘step into’ that feeling.
The more detail an athlete can compile about the chosen task the more effective the outcome. For example – the snatch
Arguably the most challenging movement in Crossfit to be consistently good at.
If we can envision the perfect rep – from how we approach the bar, to where we grip it, how much chalk we put on our hands, where we look when we initiate the lift, where and how the bar travels up the body, how the body connects with the bar, how fast and precise we drop under the bar into the Perfect overhead squat and the awesome feeling when we stand up out of it. I personally love to hear the sound of the bar hitting the ground when i throw it back to earth after a successful lift.
Then watch that in your head again from the side, the front, the back, in the drivers seat. Try to gain as much knowledge as you can for what the perfect rep will look like.
By visualizing seeing ourselves perform this movement 1,2,10,100 times in our head perfectly, we can form a better understanding of the movement and hows it feels. Thus when actually performing the rep in the present we continue to improve our awareness, skill and ultimately our performance.
SO I challenge you to use this skill the next time you are in the gym:
- Choose a skill, movement or task you wish to improve
- Close your eyes, Visualize yourself performing this task PERFECTLY
- Try really hard to imagine this in as much detail as possible.
- Open your eyes, then execute the skill.
- Review your effort, close your eyes and apply the new data/knowledge you have just collected from your last lift/skill to greater improve the image in your head.
- Open eyes, execute, review, repeat… etc.
Visualizing or mental imagery is in turn a skill itself and must be practiced.
The more we can use the power of our minds we will allow the body to do what the body wants/needs to do to perform.
Does that mean we need to visualize about visualizing…