Mental Imagery And Improved Performance
Olympic-level athletes have benefited from imagery for decades.
Olympians, such as downhill skier Picabo Street, wrestler Dan Gabler, swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Gabby Douglass credit mental imagery for helping achieve their Olympic successes.
In fact, Olympic gymnastic gold medalist Shannon Miller stated that mental training is the difference-maker in sports.
“The physical aspect of the sport can only take you so far. The mental aspect has to kick in, especially when you’re talking about the best of the best,” said Miller.
“In the Olympic Games, everyone is talented. Everyone trains hard. Everyone does the work. What separates the gold medalists from the silver medalists is simply the mental game.”
While most Olympic athletes adopt some form of imagery in their training or pre-performance routine, the majority of non-Olympic athletes do not utilize mental imagery.
Athletes who do not imagine often ask, “Does imagery really work?”
Erin M. Shackell and Lionel G. Standing of Bishop’s University set out to answer that very question in their study, Mind Over Matter: Mental Training Increases Physical Strength (North American Journal of Psychology, 9, 189-200).
Shackell and Standing tested whether mental imagery alone can produce a gain in muscular strength. Shackell and Standing studied hip flexor strength of athletes to determine the difference between physical strength training and mental imagery training.
They compared two groups: a physical training group who only lifted weights and a mental training group who only imaged the act of lifting weights.
The results prove interesting for the benefits of imaging performance.
After two weeks, both the mental and the physical training groups improved their hip flex or lifting performance by substantial margins (23.7% for mental training only and 28.3% for physical training only).
How did the mental training group only improve their strength?
By not only “visualizing” themselves performing the lift, but also by feeling what it like to increase the weight lifted each imagery session by five pounds.
The key to successful imagery is “feeling” the task as you see yourself performing it.
Think of how vastly you could improve your performance by combining physical practice with mental training.
When you see Olympic athletes image their performance moments before they compete, you often see them physically mimicking the performance as they image.
By including the sense of feeling into your imagery, you can improve the athletic experience into your subconscious mind.
Try these tips to increase your imagery skills:
- Tip #1: Feel your performance – You should notice how it “feels” to perform certain skills or routines in practice. Fully experience how your body moves as you perform.
- Tip #2: Image with feeling – You should incorporate that “feel” of your body moving as you perform into your imagery sessions.
It may take some time to be comfortable with this type of imagery but the benefits are more than worth it.
Successful athletes have learned how to stay calm, focused and perform with poise in competition. We’ve created The Relaxed Athlete, Workbook and CD program to help you do this.
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our students saying?
“WOW!!! What a week I had. I was able to perform with a confidence that allowed my style to shine through–no more entering the arena with that “deer in the headlights” look or feeling. I stopped evaluating myself while I was performing, and I actually left the arena after my patterns feeling like I had experienced a lot of fun. Thank you so much.”
~Julia Dreyer, National Champion Equestrian
For All Athletes – Learn Confidence-Boosting Techniques!
D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?
No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
Have you labeled yourself as a loser, poor closer, or mediocre athlete and these labels keep you stuck in a rut of self-pity and indecision?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Confident Athlete!
The Confident Athlete CD and workbook program is a 14-day plan for ultimate self-confidence. This program is ideal for any athlete or coach that wants to discover proven confidence-boosting techniques guaranteed to drastically build self-confidence and improve sports performance.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
What are customers saying?
“I first purchased The Confident Athlete to see how the program went and immediately saw results. I then purchased the rest of the confident athlete series and have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate.”
~Tylor Prudhomme (Listen to his success story)
“I am a ASP world qualifying professional surfer and after beginning the ‘The Confident Athlete’ I had an almost instant change in attitude about my own surfing ability and my mindset going into competition. By using the Confident Athlete strategies, my confidence has done a complete 180 degrees. I won a local pro/am a few weeks back, and just had my best result of the year in one the last big events on the world circuit this last week in Brazil! It is my secret weapon!”
~Shaun Burrell, Professional Surfer (Listen to his success story)
For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”
The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.
Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.
What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…
What are parents and coaches saying about our program?
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach
For Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!
This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.
In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
What are coaches saying?
“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
~Kerri Morgan, Mental Game Coach
“I am impressed with the willingness and openness of Dr. Cohn to share all of his assets (intellectual, products, etc.) with the MGCP students. You have developed an incredible model/package for mental training. Even though we are paying for your service, you are passing on a legacy built on your contribution to the world of sports. Thank you for that.”
~Tony Melito, MGCP