Beyond the realms of physical ability, talent, and discipline – what separates a potentially world-class athlete from a champion? The answer is psychology.
While international sports teams employ sports psychologists to ensure their athletes hone and maintain their mental prowess and strength alongside the physical training, there are fundamental tactics that the everyday athletes can utilise to maximise their own performance. The practice of visualisation – that is, to vividly imagine the occurrence of the perfect outcome, such as scoring the winning goal or winning the race – is a facet of personal psychology that spans many disciplines, not just sports.
Although simple in theory, individuals are required to train the mind to be able to imagine their positive desired outcome vividly and regularly, truly feeling the sensations that the reality of this outcome would provide. It’s not hard to see how these methods from the elite world of sport can be appropriated or adapted for the rest of us.
Visualisation can be used to help an amateur athlete prepare for a big game, a marathon, or a bike race by encouraging them to focus on the execution of correct skills and good technique. The mental prowess of world class athletes and champions is cultivated through years of focusing the mind, training thoughts as they would train their bodies, in order to build the optimum stamina and mental strength they need to achieve success.
The idea that sports are 90% mental and 10% physical is a viable concept. As the Olympic gold-medal winner Bruce Jenner once stated, “You have to train your mind like you train your body.” The amateur athlete can learn from this approach, and indeed many individuals already use the practice to some extent. Preparing for a match, race, or an effort to beat your personal best, can all be optimised by vividly visualising the desired outcome of the event.
Click here for some insight from world-class athletes who practice the power of visualization technique to gain the mental edge and propel their performance towards victory.