Secret to Top Performance: Mental Imagery

Recently I had a dialogue with a gifted sportsperson who shared his stress about his recent challenges with hitting the ball. Did he suddenly neglect the basic techniques of hitting or had this individual lost some of his muscle strength or acquired he simply lost a chance to remain mentally focused? Just how was this different from the early games of the season where performance i visited its peak and his current performance past due in the growing season?

The science around what makes for top level performers centers on two key elements: mental visualization and self-talk. With any peak performance, mentally visualizing the job and turning up the amount on our positive self-talk is crucial.10

Our self-talk or the things i direct to as the “noise in our head’ is always active. Sometimes we are able to give attention to inspirational and positive thoughts but more often than not we hit the default button of negative dialog. We replay mental poison of fear, question and insecurity that help to undermine our self-confidence and fuels our stress which subsequently interferes with performance. These thoughts can often occur as a running dialog even without our conscious awareness. Learning to tune in to our interior dialog and replacing the thoughts with realistic and positive messages is the first step to noticing our greatest potential. The potency of our thoughts guides our thoughts which in switch influences our behavior and our performance.

Michael Michael jordan once admitted within an interview that he got great pride in discovering the mental weaknesses of his opponents and then would actively attempt to ‘get into their heads”. His negative voice would often end up being the negative self-talk of his opponents serving to undermine their confidence and ability to perform. Leading performers can create such a strong, positive inner self- dialog that can withstand the “mental bullying’ of an opponent and the negative chatter of your crowd.

Top performers in addition have a brief attention span for failing. While it is critical that peak performers in your mind see where an mistake occurred, primary needs to be short lived with a refocusing of your time and effort onto imagining the helpful action. Many successful mentors have shared that while it is vital to give solid advice to athletes on observed errors this needs to be brief and followed by film features or mental imagery of the team and specific players at their maximum performance. This give attention to the positive skills and advantages is most good at drawing a player and a team out of a slump. The last image or word that a player hears or recognizes before hitting the field is the the one which will most likely guide performance.

As a health psychologist, I have observed the strength of the head to heal the entire body through its influence on the immune system, to control pain and override the negative effects of radiation treatment. Similarly, peak performances come from the mind’s potential to improve physical talents and override outside influences that undermine performance. Peak artists not only have physical or mental talents but know how to use the power of the mind to enhance those skills and thereby build a winning combination.

The key to a top performance is practicing in the mind or precisely what is often referred to as mental visualization. Visual images is an essential element of managing performance stress and distractions that can cause an athlete to over think a play or lose focus. Study has demonstrated that the same pattern of electric powered modifications in our brain occur whether an sportsman is actually performing an actual task or simply imagining it. The brain interprets both the visual images and the physical performance the same.

Consider that whenever a player actually executes an act like striking or catching a ball, the brain sends alerts from the primary electric motor cortex of the brain to the secondary emballage and then down the spinal cord to deliver signals to the muscles. When visualization is used, the same signal begins in the principal motor emballage then to the supplementary motor cortex but rather than sending the signal to the muscles it moves it the frontal lobe where a mental storage is created.

The ability of mental imagery is that a player can create a vivid image that not only includes the mechanics of the work but also the thoughts that go with it. That is certainly, every player understands that it will have anxiety, anxiousness and aggression during a performance, imagery gives them the power to feel it but to get over and manage it. The more vivid and genuine the imagery is to the actual game day performance a lot more powerful the control.

The old telling, “it is all in your head” is specifically true while we are taking about athletic performance. To compete or be at ones best requires the ability to calm the conversational areas of the brain and “turn on” the mental images in the brain related to performance.

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