Information & Resources
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
|Visualization or Mental
Visualization is Much More Than Day Dreaming
Visualization, also known as mental imagery and rehearsal, is a training technique used by sports psychologists. Visualization is used primarily as a training tool to improve the quality of athletic movement, increase the athletes ability to focus their power of concentration, and can help to reduce the pressure on the athlete of preparing to compete while building athletic confidence.
When athletes are able to create an image or a series of images relevant to their sport, without any external prompts or stimulation, they are able to visualize images that only they are able to mentally generate. Visual images are usually the most important to athletic training and may be employed as the sole mental training method.
The relationship between mental and physical performance in sports is a powerful tool. An athlete who is able to develop a wide range of mental powers, such as focus and concentration, can radically improve their athletic performance. Over-analyzing or obsessively thinking about a specific issue will have a negative impact of their performance because it detracts from the athlete's ability to react instinctively. Do not confuse impulsive reactions with the positive response which is the goal of visualization.
Repetition creates neural pattern in the brain
Repeating physical activities develops an automatic neural pattern in the brain that is a road map created by the conscious decisions required to perform the actual physical skills of the movements. Alexander Bain, (1818–1903) of Great Britain, was the first scientist to develop a theory that the brains neural pattern is the same as diagramming the specific wiring and circuits necessary to transmit an electrical current. It is this process that the brain uses to construct such neural patterns to direct and control repeated physical movement.
Research has demonstrated that both physical and psychological reactions in certain situations can be improved with visualization. The repetition of positive imagery can build both experience and confidence in an athlete's ability to perform certain skills both under pressure and in anticipation of a variety of possible scenarios. The most effective visualization techniques involve a powerful and high vivid sport experience in which the athlete has complete control over a successful performance and a belief in this new 'self.'Guided imagery, visualization, mental rehearsal or similar such techniques are very effective in maximize training efficiency. In a world where sports performance and success is measured in seconds, most athletes will use every possible training technique at hand. Visualization provides a tool to gain even a very slim margin.
Role of Sports Psychology
Sociology of Sports
Teaching Athletes Visualization and Mental Imagery Skills by David Yukelson
Drenched: a clear view of Visualization (canoeing and kayaking)
Essence of Imagery in Tennis
by John F. Murray, Ph.D.
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:
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