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Winning Athletes Use Visualization

posted by Loren Fogelman, a Women Talk Sports blogger
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 12:50pm EDT

About Loren Fogelman:

Hello Friend! I'm passionate about connecting with athletes as they tap into their true potential. My purpose is to create a paradigm shift. Adding more knowledge is useful, but reducing the distra...more

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If everything you needed for success was already available to you, how would that change things for you? Your future success is determined by your present actions. Reaching your performance goal requires partnering with the right resources. It is not a passive activity.

Instead of looking for the solutions outside of you, tap into your mind’s eye and envision your future. This is where it is okay to daydream.

Peak performance is a decision. Envision winning. Believe it is possible. Be ready to do anything to make it happen. Conviction in your abilities is powerful. Bottom line, believing something is possible increases your odds of success.

Your mind is unable to discriminate between imagination and reality. This is why your dreams appear so real. Harness the power of your imagination and visualize your success.

Sports psychologists talk about visualization a lot. It is THE most popular mindset tool used by athletes. It needs to be used correctly for it to be most effective. Unfortunately, athletes are not always given all the instructions to use visualization successfully.

Used correctly visualization has the ability to change your outcome.

In your mind’s eye see yourself successfully reaching your goal. Winning a race, reaching a new ranking, going pro or whatever it is you desire. See this event occurring as if it is in the present and is happening right now. The more detail you bring into this mental image, the better. Once again remember you want to really focus on your goal as if it is happening to you right now.

Now here is the part often overlooked, preventing it from being highly effective. To really get results, you want to use all of your senses. So once again envision the event occurring. Now let’s bring all of your senses into play.

  • Vision - What do you see? Notice the details. Light, darkness, indoors or outdoors.
  • Smell - Where you are, how does it smell? Any familiar odors or scents? Fresh cut grass, sweat, oil on your equipment.
  • Hearing - Do you hear any noises? Is there cheering, clapping, talking?
  • Taste - Is there any taste or flavor involved? Feeling quenched or thirst?
  • Touch – How does your skin feel? Hot, clammy, wet. Any textures against your skin from your clothing. The feel of your equipment in your hand. Head gear you might have on?
  • Sixth sense – Any feeling in your gut? Maybe a sense of knowing.

Using visualization as a training tool creates an alliance with your mind. It wants you to succeed and believes whatever you tell it. Think about it as your genie in the bottle. “Your wish is its command.” Your mind is unable to judge between good or bad, all input is neutral, so choose your desires carefully.

Once your mind knows your goal, it will begin scouting for opportunities to help you succeed. Feeling strong and positive about your goal is necessary for your success. If there is any doubt about your goal, subconsciously you will set yourself up for a struggle or sabotage. Doubt affects outcome.

This powerful tool, your imagination, also has a very real physical impact. It creates new neuro-pathways in your brain in the same way as if you were actually doing that activity.  Your muscles fire as if you are actually doing that activity. Repeatedly visualizing your success strengthens those pathways and contributes to actually attaining your goal. It is a great training tool for improving technique and response.

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Think about that. You can do it! The answer lies with the power of visualization. Be a visionary.

When you continue to access the strong, powerful feelings about being a winner, it changes your perception about your current reality. You will begin to alter your self image, the way you respond to training challenges and how you prepare for competitions. You have the ability to achieve anything you put your mind to.

"Visualization may be the most underutilized success tool that you possess" claims
Jack Canfield. Create a champion mindset. The change will be subtle, but over time the shift in your behavior and your identity will be substantial. Feel empowered as you consistently reinforce a winning inner game. Instead of waiting for destiny to happen, take charge in creating your success.

 

The choice is yours. Do you want to remain in a comfortable, familiar place or are you ready to take a leap of faith toward your BIG goals? You are as limited as you believe you are. Choose to step out of your comfort zone. Open your mind to thinking BIG. Success is thinking bigger.

Activity: Do you have clear performance goals? Create the picture in your minds eye of what it will look like when you have achieved your goal? Don’t just write it down, but tell a story around it. Keep this story in the present as if it has already happened and you are in the moment. Make it as descriptive as you can. Envision lots of juicy details to really bring it to life. The more, the better. Your brain loves having a visual, that picture you create in your mind’s eye.

Please comment, letting me know what changes you notice. 

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