Where do you search for ideas on reflection and ways to enhancing your awareness? How do you visualise the thinking steps to be taken to solve a problem?
Mental as well as physical components make up a successful athletic performance and the last decades various techniques have been developed to mentally prepare athletes.
Imagery is a technique that is used in sport and by musicians to decreasing anxiety and enhancing self-confidence, self-efficacy, and concentration. It is also a great way to review past experience. Imagery is an experience that mimics real experiences by using a combination of different sensory modalities. Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho uses imagery for game preparation and strategy purposes:
“When I train, one of the things I concentrate on is creating a mental picture of how best deliver the ball to a teammate, preferably leaving him alone in front of the rival goalkeeper. So what I do, always before a game, always, every night and every day, is try and think up things, imagine plays, which no one else will have thought of, and to do so always bearing in mind the particular strength of each team-mate to whom I am passing the ball. When I construct those plays in my mind I take into account whether one team-mate likes to receive the ball at his feet, or ahead of him; if he is good with his head, and how he prefers to head the ball; if he is stronger on his right or his left foot. That is my job. That is what I do. I imagine the game”.
Visualization technique is a sort of clarified daydream where a player or coach uses previous experiences to enhance the sense of reality.
Below is a video where the PETTLEP model of imagery is demonstrated on the golf course. This model is based upon the idea that shared areas in the brain are activated during both physical and imagined movements.
- Physical – image the relevant physical characteristics. For example, a musician would imagine herself with a flute in the hand.
- Environment –image in the environment where the performance takes place
- Task – image details relevant to the task, these demands should be appropriate to the player’s level.
- Timing –image in real time, but slow motion imagery can be used for difficult passages.
- Learning – the imagery should be adapted and reviewed to match changes in the task and the level of expertise.
- Emotion – use the same images that would be felt during the performance. But avoid using negative emotions such as being scared of a certain passage. Instead, it is important to image that the passage is played with confidence.
- Perspective – the perspective can be through your own eyes and third person, watching yourself play the flute.
Photo “Violinist Jumping” by koratmember