“I’m a person that visualizes all of the time, I started doing that at a young age.I really believe it helps my game, and also, calms me, I’ve already been there 100 times throughout the week […] I anticipate those situations before they happen. That allows me to make quick decisions. I think it also gives me that sense of poise and grace under pressure. I really don’t worry too much. I trust my teammates, I trust the calls, I trust myself more than anything, and so I just go out there and play the game of football.”
Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks,
2014 Superbowl Champion
If you’ve been in the sports world for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of visualization.
And if you’re here, you probably have a hunch that it’s important.
I’m here to tell you you’re absolutely right!
Professional and elite athletes use visualization and imagery regularly as a part of their training and success.
The great news is that this is available to athletes of any age! And it’s simpler to do than you might think.
Below, you’re going to learn why visualization is your athlete’s superpower to become the player she wants to be and exactly how to get started with three easy steps.
What Is Visualization?
Visualization is creating a mental image, visual, or storyline in your brain. It is similar to watching a movie or seeing yourself perform a movement, skill, or task (without actually physically doing it).
Visualization allows us to experience events before they happen. When done correctly, our brain activates the exact same neuromuscular patterns as it would if we were actually performing the movement, skill, or task.
In other words, our brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined when we visualize.
And the science happens to tell us it works REALLY well to improve performance. Just check out this study, or this one where athletes were able to increase their skills and strength all through visualization alone.
Why Is Visualization Important?
We can use the science behind visualization to our advantage!
Visualization preps our brain and body for action and allows athletes to practice and become what they want to accomplish before they actually step on the court to do it.
This is SUCH a powerful tool because it allows athletes to be prepared and align their actions to who they want to become.
The more clearly athletes see their goals and the actions they need to take to achieve them, the more achievable these goals will be.
Through seeing success before they achieve it, athletes build confidence, can regulate their emotions, improve their skill, and help come back from injuries or setbacks.
On the other hand, if athletes DON’T have clear goals or a way to mentally prepare themselves, they will be at the mercy of what we call an “accidental future.” This is where we sabotage ourselves and let external circumstances control our reality.
Three Simple Ways To Start Now
Okay, so you’re convinced. You know that visualization is key to athlete success. But how does my athlete get started?!
It’s easier than you think! She doesn’t need any fancy equipment, just a drive to level up (check!) and a couple of interrupted minutes a day to put this into practice.
Start by getting clear on the vision. Journal for a couple minutes on “what do I really want?” This could be in relation to athletics, or goals/aspirations in general.
Once you’ve let these flow, pick one to focus on.
Find a place that is distraction-free and find a comfortable place to sit (supported, upright, the goal is to stay alert).
Close your eyes and start to focus on your breathing
Focusing on one goal that you wrote down, in as much detail as possible, visualize that goal in your mind. Utilize all of your senses (what do you see, hear, smell, touch, taste). Most importantly, how do you feel as this vision is coming to life? Visualize that goal as if it’s happening right now.
Spend 1 minute deepening this scene in your mind.
*Repeat daily! Rotate goals you are visualizing and continually deepen what it feels like to achieve them.
Note: Visualization isn’t an instant fix. But, over time these visions will become your reality as you truly live into them, believe them, and you put in the work to allow them to come to life.
There you have it… the reason why visualization is your athlete’s secret superpower and how she can get started right away!
Sometimes, it’s easier for athletes to follow a guided visualization to start. We have the perfect one that athletes can start listening to right away as a gift for joining our free Elite Competitor Society!
The Elite Competitor Society was created for moms of female athletes, coaches, and athletes themselves to come together to increase confidence and elite performance. We offer free tips, resources, and weekly trainings! Join here and snag your free visualization!
- Download the free resources we’ve created for you
- Join us inside our FREE Facebook Group – The Elite Competitor Society – for weekly Q&A, periodic trainings and challenges, and the support of an amazing community of moms, coaches, and the men who partner with us!
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