Top 5 Reasons to visualize: #5 Resolves stagnation

Sometimes athletes hit a plateau and stop improving the way that they want. This can be frustrating and lead to some very negative and unproductive mindsets. When an athlete is working hard physically and still not improving, the reason is usually mental. Visualization can help athletes work through that in a few ways:

  • By visualizing past successes and learning from them
  • From studying their ideal mental performance state in a controlled environment
  • By exploring places for improvement away from the intensity of competition.
There are enumerable benefits to visualization but one study often quoted is one done by Soviet sport scientists.
The study explored the effects of mental training through visualization, on four groups of world-class athletes just prior to the 1980 Lake Placid, Olympics. The four groups of athletes were divided as follows:
Group 1 – did 100% physical training to prepare for the Olympic Games.
Group 2 – did 75% physical training and 25% mental (visualization) training.
  • Group 3 – did 50% physical training and 50% mental (visualization) training.
  • Group 4 – did 25% physical training and 75% mental (visualization) training.
What researchers found was that Group 4, the group with the most visualization training showed the greatest improvement of all of the other groups! Group 3 did better than Group 2, and Group 2 did better than Group 1.
Of course physical training is important…. but imagine what combining physical and mental training could do for your athletes!

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