'To visualize' stands for picturing one or more images or movements in your mind.
For the last 15 years visualizations have helped a lot of practitioners of sports. They first laughed about it, but meanwhile it has been scientifically examined and approved as a method to enhance performances. In lots of different sports it is being practiced.
A few simple examples:
- just before a high jumper jumps he repeats his steps and his jump in his mind,
- a football player preparing mentally his free-kick and pictures the ball to go into the net,
- a tennis player rehearsing a certain swing in between points for only seconds after returning the ball in exact the same way,
- a skier who has memorized all corners of the slope and makes all the moves in his head.
No doubt you can find lots of others to.
HOW DOES THAT WORK?
The way it works is always the same. A person pictures images of a perfect virtuality. By doing so he is exercising his mind and conditioning the body to perform accordingly. The action itself can be physical (technical or tactical) or mental.
Our thought sand feelings are governing our intentions and actions. By guiding our thoughts and picture how you want them to proceed you enter your subconsciousness and start (re)programming it. Your brains then will tell your muscles how to copy the image. So visualizing is like implementing to the brain how you want achieve something. In psychology it is known as ‘arousal’.
The only thing that will help you a lot is your own imagination and the ability to picture things in your mind. You have to focus really hard on the perfect presentation of either a movement or a state of mind. There are no limits on how many times you can picture this to yourself, although it is generally known that the best timing is right before your enactment.
Actually, and this is true, if a person can visualize well enough to copy exactly the same movements of a person who is doing this physically, they is learning equally. That is because he is training his mirror neurons in the brain. So actually you are learning yourself new skill through mental imitation.
Watching professional snooker players how they cue and perform is like opening a door for you to step through and start copying the same movement. Here you can use visualization for many things such as:
- the perfect break-off,
- a perfect screw shot,
- a perfect long pot,
- a controlled swing of the arm,
- a very focused state of mind, etc.
After having finished a session of visualization, you end with a strong positive affirmation for yourself e.g. ‘I am going to do it.’ or ‘I will perform well.’, ‘I can do it.’ or any other. It stimulates and conditions the mind and body. It concludes the integration like a dot at the end of a sentence, or like turning the key to lock or unlock the door.
So visualizations fit in our whole approach to the mental aspect in the game. Controlling and directing your mind surely can help you with your performance. It can boost your self-confidence. It might not solve all your problems, but can help you with many of them.