Imagery is the practice of rehearsing a set of actions you plan to undertake in your mind's eye. Athletes use imagery to execute skills more effectively, overcome anxiety and to stay confident and focused. Imagery can be practiced both in and out of competition.
Why does it work?
When you imagine yourself executing a skill, you activate the same parts of your brain as you would when you execute the same skill for real. Your brain can't tell the difference. Real or imaginary reps both create additional neural connections in your brain for the skill you are practicing.
How do I do it?
- Always see yourself executing a skill or play that ends in a positive outcome. Include the buildup, your actions and your celebrations.
- Put yourself in place. Include the sounds, smells, the weather, the crowd and other competitors present on the day of competition.
- Make it photo-realistic. Include every small detail. The more specific, the better.
Imagery using The Mindset App
The mindset app has a simple imagery session you can use to get started. Work with your sport psychologist to complete additional sport and role specific scripts, which can then be uploaded to the Mindset app and accessed at any time.
You should also consider setting up a goal with a reminder to perform your imagery work every day.