January 29, 2012
Coach’s Training Tips – Mental Training.
Imagery. Mental Imagery (sometimes called Mental Practice or Visualization) is a systematic process of using your imagination in order to guide your thinking in a positive way. Specifically, you use you mind like a video playback device to correct technique, see yourself successfully coping within a stressful environment (e.g. competition), as well as visualizing an optimal performance. While visualizing the performance, you can make it seem as though you feel light and effortless, while running a fast, strong, and confident race. Imagery can also be used to re-visit your performance goals and dreams, re-familiarize yourself with the race course, the warm-up area or route you plan to take, your race day routine(s)…etc. Positive thoughts through the use of imagery are important to complement training and racing efforts, and if learned well, imagery can sharpen focus to more quickly pick up on relevant cues, correct faltering technique, motivate, and adjust intensity (to name a few). If you have doubts, think of it this way; clone yourself, and consider one of you performing mental training a few times a week for 20min, while the other you doesn’t perform any mental training. Which one do you believe will be better prepared to make adjustments from stimuli or deal with adverse weather on race day?
We’ll continue a more indepth discussion with techniques in the near future, so stay tuned.