Visualization in sports is not only critical for a competitive edge, but also a technique that improves mental health, improves confidence, and enhances motivation. Bring your mind and body in tune with one another to harness your brain power and unlock your athletic potential.

Golfer Jack Nicklaus famously used visualization to visualize his swing and ball trajectory. As part of his Olympic training, Michael Phelps’ coach had him watch a mental videotape of his races each night before he went to sleep.

Visualization is a key component of training and warm-ups. You have probably noticed yourself visualizing your coach’s instructions. You create an image in your mind of how the skill should look as well as its successful execution. Using that same principle, you can advance your visualization technique and rehearse your competition in your mind’s eye. When athletes imagine their success, the same brain regions are activated that are used when they physically perform. If you consistently mentally rehearse sports scenarios your physical performance should improve. Begin with 10 minutes a day as you are waking up.

Visualization can also eliminate some of the unknowns that create anxiety. The more you mentally practice for a successful outcome, the more it becomes familiar in your mind. It is a way to control an uncontrollable situation. As you mentally rehearse, keep things positive and focus on how you want the competition to unfold. If your mental images turn negative (such as replaying mistakes), stop your tape, and restart from the beginning, until you are again visualizing your peak performance.

Like mastering your sport, with visualization, practice makes perfect. Spend time daily mastering this skill. Not only is it helpful to imagine your athletic performance before you compete, it also helps you to focus on your strengths and build confidence.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash