Sports, for me, came down to feel and enjoyment. I became infatuated with how competition felt. It could have been a one-on-one basketball game with my brother in the driveway, the individual battle of tennis, triathlons and rock climbing or the dynamic of a team in football, ice hockey, and softball. Competition drove me to work hard to improve my body, improve my abilities as a good teammate and improve my social standing. I wanted those superficial sensations.
“Before every shot, I go to the movies”
Jack Nicklaus – Golf
I took enjoyment from competition. The intensity was unmatched throughout my life. There was a winner and a loser. No middle ground there. What was left was the thrill of a hard-earned win or the frustration of a unfortunate loss. The enjoyment that was taken was at a price though. Win and be happy or lose and miss the joy. I wanted to win. I wanted those superficial sensations.
“When I go to the press conference before the game, in my mind the game has already started.”
Jose Mourinho – Soccer
Our drive and desire to be the best in life is natural. It is a survival instinct. The missing component for me, and maybe even you, was the ability to see. We can see the trail, see the play develop in the moment, and see the next hold in a climbing route. Where the difference happens is when we see these before we’re in the moment. The ability to visualize the moment of competition before it happens radically changes how our bodies perform. The two quotes above illustrate this. Whether going to the movies before a shot or starting the game before it physically does, you are using the mind to begin to manifest the movements and experience that you desire. In the past year to year and a half, I’ve done my best to put this into practice. I now “see” the perceived outcome that I want to manifest. I now “feel” the sensations and emotions that I want to manifest. I now “enjoy” the moment that I want to manifest. All three of these happen in my mind before I step out onto the field of play. What once happened on the external and in the moment now happens well before. It has changed the way I compete. Yoga has changed the way I compete.
Mental Imagery – Visualize to Actualize
Athletes re-experiencing a successful performance showed a greater increase in neural activity in the right premotor cortex, an area of the brain that plans actions, than those re-experiencing a failure.
Visualize positive performances and picture the ideal steps for achieving the successful result. Create a crystal clear mental image and powerful physical feeling of what you want to accomplish. Include the sights, sounds, smells, tactile impressions, and powerful emotions that accompany the total performance experience while in your virtual arena. The clarity and controllability of your images will improve with practice.
When visualizing, strive to experience the action in 3-D from the first-person point of view (through your own eyes), as opposed to a third-person point of view (through the eyes of spectator). “See it, feel it, and enjoy it” (SFE).
Briton Steve Backley. “I’d have to single out the ability to visualize. To be able to preempt the future by building high-definition videos in your mind’s eye of exactly what it is you are trying to achieve.”
BOOK – “The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes think, train and thrive.” by Jim Afremow (BUY IT!)