Imagery-more than fantasy II

Imagery-more than fantasy II

I’d like to give write today on Thanksgiving a few notes of gratitude to some good friends. Some that help me day to day, and others that pop in and out of my life. I can’t name them all, but I will call out a few by their first names and perhaps they will know that I am thinking of them. I imagine us all one day sitting around the table drinking good wine (or tequila) and celebrating our friendship. In no order, they are Kindra, Deborah, Ken, Michael, Don, Jon, Tiffany, Toni, JoLynn, Bobby, Matts, Ellen, Marg, DJ, Fancy and of course my family. To my extended family I want to also wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

So why is this post titled Imagery. We use imagery every day all day. It is critical to our process as human beings. I thought that I would offer up on this Thanksgiving Day part of one of the chapters from The Athlete within You. I have been thinking so much about how imagery is intertwined in what we do that I wanted to write something today.  So what follows is an excerpt from my book.  My thoughts in this area are becoming clearer than they have in years as I prepare more mp3 programs for Best in U. After over three decades of study maybe it’s about time.

This is from the middle of a chapter on Imagery.

Michael Jordan

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.” Jordan was always willing to get back up. He was always willing to take the last shot. Moreover he had the extreme confidence to know that he would in fact make the shot.

What if we could practice more shots every single day? What if we allow that it takes 10,000 repetitions to groove a movement to a level of expertise? If Perfect Practice really makes perfect through the use of imagery and visualization, we can learn new skills and perfect them faster by using our minds. So let’s use the time wisely that we have to find success. Utilize this visualization technique for both learning and accelerating your performance–in everything you do.

The subject of imagery fires me up. I read about another sport psychologist doing a radio interview on imagery. As imagery is one of the most important skills an athlete can utilize, I decided to listen in. I am always more than willing to learn about new techniques (borrow) to help athletes.

So why am I so fired up? Because I heard the same perspective on sports psychology, I’ve been hearing for years. The techniques lacked creativity in application and thought. Maybe I just didn’t listen close enough, or there was a lot I didn’t hear. The most important part of the interview came from the host and he was dead on in my opinion and the sport psychologist seemed to dismiss his ideas. So let me see if I can lay this out in an easy way for people to assimilate. The interviewer talked about when we were children and we used our imagination when we played.

We didn’t just do it with sports; we did it when we were learning most everything that was important to us as a toddler as well. We pretended to be animals and we moved like them. We pretended to be cowboys and cowgirls. We were astronauts and pilots and race car drivers and much more. We imagined pitching in the World Series, and winning NBA titles. For many, somewhere it seems to me around puberty, we stopped using our imaginations around sports. Maybe our focus shifted to academics or the opposite sex, but we got away from dreaming about playing games.

In most sports psychology programs an important skill taught is the use of imagery. Call it imagery rehearsal, visualization, mental rehearsal, or guided imagery, the process goes by many names. We teach this process both with and without a relaxation procedure. We have athletes imagine a shot prior to taking it à la Jack Nicklaus and we have an athlete go into a deeply relaxed – hypnotic state to do their rehearsal and many things in between.

We use internal images asking the athlete to see things through their own eyes and on other occasions we suggest they watch themselves on TV. Both are valuable in their own time. I think the essence is about understanding when to use one or the other. I teach imagery both ways.

I am very NLP about this, as I have said before, in that I think it is important to use all of the senses. I want an athlete to see, hear, feel, smell and even taste their rehearsal. When they are learning something I would like them to watch it on TV. As they become more accomplished, I think they need to shift to seeing through their own eyes and I have of course research to back this up that I conducted at the Olympic training center and at the University of Wyoming.

I do link this process most of the time with deep relaxation. There is a synergy of body awareness and an opening of the unconscious that is critical to success. Adding affirmations, suggestions about self-confidence, working on coping behaviors are all additional benefits. Imagery more than fantasy is a hugely important tool for success in all that we do. Paying attention to negative images is also important and I’ll address that later.


This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar  Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential. Read more from this author

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