Ask any Olympic athlete or professional in their sport of choice, and they will all tell you their mental approach to their performance is at least as important as their physical skills. Winning the mental game must be approached with the same dedication as your sport-specific training. This is why many coaches are incorporating visualization, meditation, and other mental prep techniques into training.
Visualization And Sports Psychology
Visualization is one of many techniques used by sports psychologists, who specialize in the connection between mindset and performance. They study biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology, and psychology. In other words, they specialize in how a success-driven mindset will improve a player’s performance, and how a negative or fearful mindset will damage performance.
Your Brain Doesn’t Know Your Visualizing
When an athlete closes their eyes, blocks out their distractions, and visualizes the performance they want to achieve, their brain doesn’t know the differences between visualization and physical achievement. The same memory centers in the brain are activated when your athlete visualizes their desired performance, creating success pathways.
Visualizing is also an excellent way for athletes to train for how they will respond to the unexpected, including how they will respond to an area of opportunity next time around.
Meditation For Performance Anxiety
If you have ever watched ice skating, gymnastics, and other sports with commentators—the difference between some athlete’s competitive performance and practice performance will be a major part of the conversation. Some athletes allow their nerves to get the best of them, while others outperform on game day—even if they are nervous. This same fact applies for every sport.
Athletes who struggle with the latter may benefit from game-day meditation. There are endless options of meditation techniques to choose from, but the goal is to channel nervous energy into performance-enhancing energy.
Getting Into The Flow
“The Flow” is a mental state that promotes optimal performance, both in practice and on game day. Your student athletes are busier than ever, meaning they must quickly shift gears from classroom to practice, from homework to game-day, and from teenager to athlete. Meditation and visualization can both be used to facilitate the transition from life to sport, with the ultimate goal of achieving flow with intention.
These techniques can be used for an endless array of performance goals, and can be done both individually or with your team. To encourage well-rounded training Competitive Edge incorporates visualization techniques into our curriculum. Take a look at our upcoming classes and clinics today!