Visualisation: The Hidden Key to Success

Visualisation is an incredibly powerful tool that everyone has in their tool belt, yet far too few athletes (and people for that fact) utilise it. Studies have shown that visualisation produces the same effect as ‘physically training’ a skill, and with practice, can become a simple part of your training regime

The mind is unable to discriminate between reality and imagination, which is why dreams often appear so real. And herein lies the power of visualisation

Visualisation is the process of envisioning success in a way. It’s the process of picturing yourself completing a task, achieving a goal, or performing a movement. Multiple of the world's elite use it, and if it’s good enough for the world's elite, it’s good enough for you

Multiple studies have shown the power of visualisation, most notably a study conducted on basketball players and their free throws. The study broke players into two groups, one a visualisation group and the other a “physical performance” group. The visualisation group had to visualise themselves shooting free-throws every day for an allotted time period, whilst the physical performance group got to practice their free-throws physically on the court…

The result? The visualisation team had a marked increase in free-throw percentages and performance than the physical group
 

Our Quick "How To Visualise” Guide

  1. Find a quiet spot and limit all distractions
  2. Relax and focus on your breathing, counting your inhale and exhale for counts of 8
  3. Begin to bring your attention to the task you wish to improve, and visualise yourself executing it at peak performance
  4. “Feel” the movement of your body as you execute the task, “feel” the energy from the crowd… make the experience seem as real as possible and use all six of your senses

Coaches Note: I used to perform visualisation as part of my baseball training, at nights, I would often drift off to sleep mentally rehearsing my swing and at-bats… playing them out in my head, slowing the movement down, and feeling my body as it went through the movement - hips breaking, arms coming through, feet turning in the dirt - I tried to picture it as real as possible

For many sports it is quite simple to pick the movement you wish to visualise on and perfect, however, for others, it’s not the movement that should be focused on. It may be the result you wish to achieve, for instance, winning the game, winning the final, winning the gold medal - and most importantly feeling the emotions that come with this. An example of this might be swimming, league, union, and football (it is possible to break each of these down to a movement, but that is being very specific)
 

Go Deep

What we mean by this is utilising all of your senses. Chase Jarvis was a USA football rep during his younger years, and is now an extremely successful photographer and Entrepreneur. He credits much of his success in all three endeavours to visualisation, and most importantly to using all of his senses. Hearing the crowd cheering, seeing the newspaper articles written, smelling the grass, seeing the ball go into the back of the net, touching things, and saying (affirming) things whilst he is visualising

Personally, we feel this is the most important part of visualisation, not simply closing one's eyes and seeing it, but trying to make the experience as real as possible as a whole... as it helps to solidify the feelings, images, and thoughts within the mind
 

Most Important Factors:

- Know that it comes with practice: It’ll never be perfect to begin with, nothing ever is 😃 Stay patient, stay positive, and try and feel the movement as you perform it in your mind
- Use all six senses: this is possibly the most important part of visualisation, as ‘feeling’ every aspect of the movement and experience helps tie it into your emotional state
- Visualise EXACTLY what you want: visualisation brings about the power of the subconscious mind, so make sure you plant exactly what you want to feel and happen
Consistency: just like with everything in life, consistency breeds success

Nick Maier