How to Pros Use Visualization to Improve Success

Tuning Out Negativity

What is Visualization? How does it Work?

Do you ever wonder, “Does visualization even work?” Just what is all the hype about visualization?

First, have you ever performed at your peak when you catastrophized, thought negatively, expected the worse, and had images of yourself failing? 

Definitely not! When you expect the worst, you often get the worst. It is referred to as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When a baseball player tells himself, “I am probably going to strike out,” during a tied game in the ninth inning, what is the most likely result? 

Probably, striking out. After all, you are fostering failure by creating images in your mind of striking out.

What would you predict when a gymnast continuously sees herself falling off the balance beam? 

Again, most likely, the gymnast will fall off the balance beam. Not only is she imagining failure, but she is also mentally training herself to fall.

Anything an athlete repeatedly says, sees or does, increases the likelihood of that event happening.

However, you can foster positive results by altering your self-talk and internal images.

Visualization is the best strategy to create positive mental images and train your brain to repeat what it sees. In other words, you can achieve athletic success by rehearsing positive outcomes in your mind.

Visualization, sometimes known as guided imagery

Visualization is the process of giving yourself a pre-designed script, then performing that scenario in your mind. 

Just as physical skills are refined through repetition, mental repetitions enhance physical performance. In both cases, the more reps you put in, the more likely you will achieve the desired result.

So to answer the original question, “Does visualization work,” the answer is, without a doubt, yes!

In fact, the majority of Olympians give credit to visualization for their success.

Even NFL players have included mental rehearsal into their training regimens. 

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa spends hours before a game visualizing pre-snap calls and post-snap movements. 

Even before most players arrive at the stadium, Tua is prepping by simulating dropping back, visualizing reading the field, and throwing the ball to a receiver with pinpoint accuracy.

Tua explained his mental ritual and the benefits of mental rehearsal…

TAGOVAILOA: “Mental reps. All the little details. If we run this play, what can stop that play? If we run this play, what can stop that play? It’s going through my entire progression.”

If you are not doing the mental work, you are holding yourself back from your potential. Take the lead from Tua; getting more mental reps gives you the best chance to play at your peak.

Talent only gets you so far in sports. Hard work drives you forward. However, it’s the mental work that finishes the race and beyond.

You don’t have to spend hours and hours visualizing your performance to reap the benefits of mental rehearsal.

Commit to 10 minutes a day before bedtime to visualize successful performances. Try to use a first-person perspective when you do.

Side note: When we work with athletes for 3 months or more, we help you to build a personal mental imagery program.

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