See It (in Your Mind) to Believe It

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The power of visualization is potentially the most underrated piece of performance training in existence. I’m biased towards it as it helped me tremendously in my collegiate and professional career in baseball, but I think the positive reach of these skills are unanimous. Furthermore, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a number of resources in sports psychology along the way. I couldn’t un-know what they taught me.

In talking with Karlene Pick M.A., our team mental training consultant at the University of San Diego and current Team ORIGINAL mental training consultant, she shared an impactful example with me. The example was of a scholarly study on the topic of visualization that put three groups of athletes through an experiment.

The first group was tasked with a baseline score in free-throw accuracy and given a controlled practice protocol with no visualization time. The second group was given the same practice time along with some visualization time, as well. The third group was only given visualization time.

The final test had some interesting results. The group that was able to physically and mentally practice out paced the other groups. No shocker there. But, the second highest performing group was the group that was only able to visualize, while the group that was given practice time and no visualization time improved the least of the three groups. Could visualization be more productive than actually practicing the task in question?

Even if you’re new to meditation, breathing exercises, or visualization, if performance is your goal, you may want to put more eggs in this mental skills basket. Do you use visualization to get a competitive edge?

 

Logan Gelbrich

@functionalcoach