In nearly every case, the athlete that can see the best performs the best. For most sports, vision is the irreplaceable key to success. Think of your sport. Extraordinary vision is a giant advantage in sport, whether you mean vision in the literal sense of sight, or the ability to anticipate what is going to happen in competition. As the quote from the ski racer above indicates, however, athletes may struggle to maintain control of their vision. An athlete with great vision can lose that ability in certain situations. This is a fascinating area-- the interplay of the five basic senses, the brain’s ability to focus, and the environment. For example, have you ever been driving along, lost in thought, listening to the radio, when you smell that electrical burning smell that might be coming from the car? Most people in this situation will turn down the radio to focus on the smell! Why is that? There are a variety of theories on attention and concentration that would explain this occurrence, but a basic aspect of all of them is that the brain has a limited capacity to focus. Occasionally, the brain will pull attention from the various things it could be monitoring (sights, sounds, feelings, internal thoughts, emotions, hunger level) and direct nearly all attention to a critical area. Although he was experiencing his first major competition and could have worried about embarrassing himself or disappointing is his parents, he focused on seeing himself hit the ball perfectly. The big question for athletes and coaches is this: Can athletes get better at focusing upon the most important things (such as vision) and avoiding focus on the things that don’t help (for example--anxious feelings)? Experience has shown that when athletes are under pressure the lack of confidence can have a negative impact on their ability to use vision effectively.
Learning: systematic training
3. SEEING IS BELIEVING
Seeing is Believing
Sharon Chirban, Ph.D.
Areté Sport Psychology Performance
1. The sense of sight.
2. The ability to anticipate and
make provisions for future
Power of Imagery
You can harness the power of imagery to
provide the vision you need to reach the
upper limit of your potential.
Imagery is a mental technique that programs
your mind and body to respond optimally.
By using imagery as a mental training tool -
you have the capacity to see and believe!
When you see and believe you
have confidence and focus to
Imagery may be
defined as using all the
senses to re-create or
create an experience in
Re-creating an Image
We are able to imitate the
actions of others because our
mind takes a picture of the
skill that we use as a blue print
for our performance.
Imagery is based on memory.
We experience it internally by
reconstructing external events in our
Imagery is also useful to recreate your
own performance after competition in
order to evaluate your performance
and identify strengths and weaknesses.
Outstanding Performance Imagery
Recall previous outstanding
performances and re-create them
through imagery to increase
confidence for upcoming game.
Even though imagery is a product
of memory, our brain is able to
put the pieces of the internal
picture together in different
Imagery Exercise Two
Imagine yourself walking down a dark tunnel toward a door that
you see up ahead. Feel yourself striding confidently and
purposefully - you are happy and anticipating walking through this
door that leads into your personal ENERGY ROOM. Open the door
and walk into the room. You are comfortable and relaxed as you lie
down on your back in the center of the room on the plush carpet. As
you gaze up at the glass walls and ceiling of the airtight room, you
are energized by the sight of green palm trees, bright tropical
vegetation and warm sunlight outside the transluscent walls and
ceiling. As the door closes and seals off the room, you close your
eyes and begin to take slow deep breaths of special air that is piped
into the room.
With each slow and deep inhalation, you feel more energized.
With each slow and deep exhalation, you release all the negative
tension and thoughts, and you feel increasing focus, intensity and
energy. Once you have reached your optimal energy level, get up
from the door and down the tunnel to your everyday life. See and
feel yourself smiling with satisfaction as you stride out of your
Energy Room and walk through the tunnel feeling focused,
intense, centered and confident.
Emotions associated with
various sport experiences are an
important part of imagery.
Imagery can help to control
anxiety, anger, pain, or
Vivid imagined events produce
sensations in your muscles similar
to doing the activity itself.
Through imagery you strengthen
your muscle memory by having
them fire in the right sequence
without physically executing the