William Arthur Ward, an inspirational writer once said "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you dream it, you can become it."
Taking this quote and looking at it from a sporting perspective allows us to see the importance of visualisation within high level performance. As athletes we all dream about being better, achieving our full potential and being the best we can be at what we do. The majority of our time is spent training in the gym, at classes or taking part in group sessions. Strangely enough we enjoy putting our bodies to the test and feel a real sense of achievement having pushed ourselves to the limits. However, how much time do we take training our minds? Stretching our imagination allowing ourselves to see exactly what it is we are working so hard towards.
Visualisation is a key element that needs to be embedded within all athletes training plans. Whether you train at an elite, club or recreational level it is still vital to allow your mind to experience the senses surrounding high level performance and achievement. Visualisation allows you to focus your mind and guide your imagination. Creating mental images of future events equips your brain with the power to unclock your full potential, forming a strong connection between your mind and body.
Your mental training should be approached in the same way you approach you physical training, starting off easier and slowly at the right place adding to it. It can be overwhelming to just start visualising, it is like a form of meditation and often needs guidance to get started. Just like we have coaches to help up with our technical/fitness training, massage therapists or physiotherapists to help us with looking after our physical needs, we also need Life Coaches and Therapists to help us with our mental health. Having a life coach and therapist doesn't necessarily mean you are struggling and have a mental health condition, it means you are taking the steps to bettering yourself and providing yourself with the best methods to achieve as a whole, physically and mentally.
When you visualise yourself performing successfully you are allowing yourself to live in this moment. It's like a dress rehearsal. You visualise all aspects, planning for things that could go wrong but finding a way to fix them. In turn this mental rehearsal, when performed correctly, dramatically decreases stress reducing performance anxiety.
Allowing yourself time to see yourself doing well boosts confidece. You start seeing yourself being successful creating anchors within the mind believing you are capable of what you can see. Visualisation hands the control over to you, increasing the confidence you hold about your abilities to achieve.
Studies have shown that your muscles even benefit from visualisation. Proving that mental practice is just as importance as the physical aspects. When we visualise ourselves performing our brain is using the as neurons as the actual physical performance. Allowing yourself the time to focus your mental attention on getting faster, stronger, fitter etc prepares you mentally for a challenge literally improving your body as a whole.
As athletes we are constantly looking at ways we can improve, determined to be the best we know we can be. Are you ready to add the next level of success onto your achievements? Coming from a background of sports and being involved in running throughout my life since the age of 5, at Future Footsteps Coaching and Therapy, I can help offer you the guidance you need to learn the art of visualisation. It's never to late to try something new. It wasn't until I was much older that I was taught this technique as part of my training. Personally I wish I had started it earlier! If you would like more information or help with stepping into the best version of you, contact me now for a free consultation! 👣⭐
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