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Mental Rehearsal

Mental rehearsal
        Mental rehearsal is often deemed to be synonymous with visualization. This impression is incorrect. “Visualization’ is observing yourself in specific situation, and seeing yourself through the eyes of another person. Mental rehearsal also differs from positive thinking as happy thoughts don't work in competitive situations.

        Mental rehearsal of simulated performances is an excellent way to provide positive support of skill development.  Mental rehearsal is used to prepare for job interviews, presentations, cheer leading performances, athletic performances, sales calls, debating, teaching, and managerial of behaviors.

        Research has found that a combination of "imagined practice" and actual practice often results in better performances than those achieved with preparation that relies solely on actual practice.

        Successful athletes are able to break down their performance into tiny component parts. This allows them to work on improving specific aspects. By concentrating on the most difficult parts of their performance, they can develop good coping strategies for staying in control in the face of unexpected events, such as a pulled muscle or an adverse decision by a judge or referee.

Visualizing Supportive Communication
        Getting into an argument with is counterproductive because it causes negative feelings and lingering conflict.  Listening effectively requires specific skills.  Researchers have found that by listening effectively, you can gain information from the people you can use to your advantage. You project the impression that you care and this increases others to trust you,

        Modern coaches of a competitive sport routinely involve their athletes in the use of mental rehearsing. Youth athletes are much more interested in actual physical practices than participating in "mombo jumbo" of mental rehearsing. Most athletes at a national level and virtually all elite Olympic athletes use mental imagery.



Effective Listening
        Effective listening is a process of "real time" absorption of information a speaker provides. Your body and facial expressions convey that you are listening and interested, plus it provides positive feedback that the message was received.  Verbal and written communications involves choosing the right words. The nonverbal cues are important in face to face communication. We form impressions from visual cues that sometimes conflict with the actual words of the speaker.

        By reducing
conflict, it is possible to gain an insight in how to move others to your point of view. As people begin to respect you, they will be inspired a higher level of commitment to support your endeavors. Mental rehearsal before meetings in which potential conflicts can occur helps you to prepare and develop responses that can help achieve your objectives.

Rehearsing Motor Skills

        Mental practicing is defined as the cognitive rehearsal of a motor skill that does not involve physical movement. It is effective both for acquiring skills and preparing to take a test or enter a competition.

        Athletes can practice mentally in two ways. Internal imaging means that the athlete is approximating a real life situation that he or she might expect in competition. External imaging means viewing themselves as the observer, as if watching a movie.

        Thinking about how to perform a skill plus physical performing it works better than just physical execution for learning remembering skills. Mental rehearsing is not intended to replace on-ice practice sessions, rather it should be used to complement a regular on-ice training program.

        Mind preparation strategies are essential for producing maximum or peak performance. Rehearsing competitive situations in anticipation of events is a key strategy for optimizing performance.

Stress Management  Training stress syndrome is one of these problems that could be manifested. The key is whether a person uses an internal or external image.

Mental Practice in Sports   Athletes can practice mentally in two ways. Internal imaging means that the athlete is ... Top of Mental Practice.

Enhancing The Psychological Skills (PST)  PST programs can incorporate a number of different mental skills. The program described here involved five different mental skills: anxiety control, mental imagery, attentional focus and control, self-confidence (also called self-efficacy), and the ability to handle adversity (e.g., poor performances, home sickness, conflicts with coaches, etc.).

Athlete's mental toughness as important as physical strength   Nov. 24, 2008. Along with a high level of internal motivation, top athletes must also be able to consistently execute those behaviors that have been practiced to virtual perfection so many times in training.

Mental Rehearsing
        There are two explanations for why the concept of mental rehearsing is effective when used properly:
  • The neuromuscular explanation is that electromyographic (EMG) activity is produced in the muscles. It provides sensory information that can be used to learn a skill. In schema theory, sensory consequences are critical for strong recall. Rehearsals in the mind can be considered a form of response preparation that aids in the tuning process.
  • The cognitive explanation is that early in learning, athletes are figuring out what to do. Because they are beginning to understand how a skill should be executed, thinking about the skill can be as effective for a novice skater as actually performing the physical skill. Mental rehearsing can assist learners in consolidating strategies as well as correcting errors.
Application of Visualization Techniques
       Facilitate skill acquisition by asking athletes to visualize movements early in the learning process.
  • Encourage athletes to engage in the mental rehearsal strategies and participate in problem solving exercises as part of peaking for tests and competitions.
  • It is very important to stress that mental exercises are of images of the correctly performed body movements.
  • Encourage the skater(s) to visit rinks hosting important contests prior to the actual competition so they can visualize themselves competing.
  • For maximum effectiveness, it is necessary for the skater to achieve a relaxed state when the subconscious mind is more receptive to perform imagery exercises.
Recommended Reading:

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References:

Does Visualization and Mental Rehearsal Improve Sports Performance?  Many elite athletes routinely use visualization techniques to cultivate not only a competitive edge, but also to create renewed mental awareness, a heightened sense of well-being and confidence. All of these factors have been shown to contribute to an athlete's sports success.

Visualization in sports  A training technique that forms a part of the larger science of sports psychology. Visualization is also known as mental imagery and rehearsal. Visualization is used primarily as a training tool, one that improves the quality of athletic movement, increases the power of concentration, and serves to reduce the pressures of competition on the athlete while building athletic confidence.

Imagery Can Involve Negative Visualizations Too   Unfortunately, many of the images popping into our heads do more harm than good. In fact, the most common type of imagery is worry. Because when we worry, what we worry about exists only in our imaginations.

The Technique of Visualization: For Athletes  Generally, visualization does not start to play a significant role in organized sports until the college level. Typical high school sports programs lack the service of a full time sports psychologists, although using the techniques they employ would, no doubt, result in a significant competitive edge. For younger athletes, including those in high school, it is best for an informed coach or parent to guide the actual visualization process for the child until he or she has a firm grasp and understanding of what it is and how it works.

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

      Mental Training for Athletes:

 
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