Improve Visualization for Better Game Performances

October 24, 2012 | Brian Lebo

Athletes spend months preparing for the season, yet there are typically only a few moments during competition when they experience complete control. On the field, athletes have little or no influence over the weather, the fans, their opponents' skill level or other factors affecting performance. (See 6 Steps to Reduce Anxiety Through Visualization.)

The trick to becoming familiar and comfortable within uncertain environments is visualization. (Read Sports Psych 101.) When they visualize, athletes are totally in control, and they have a great opportunity to experience success by realizing their mental images. The more an athlete can visualize successful performance, the greater his or her potential to achieve it. The correlation is direct between mentally rehearsing an action or movement—using the senses of sight, sound, touch and even smell—and making it real.

Here are some tips for creating effective mental images:

  • Start simply by visualizing a single, static object, for example a basketball
  • Aim for clarity; with practice, the vividness and detail of your images should become clearer
  • Visualize in the first person by imagining yourself, or in the third person by imagining another person with the object
  • View it from a different perspective; if you are imagining a basketball, attempt to mentally bounce it and "feel" the seams of the ball with your fingertips, enhancing the complexity of your visualization by adding another sense
  • Practice. Mentally rehearsing successful skill execution, such as dribbling a basketball during imagined competitive conditions, can provide your subconscious mind with positive memories, increase confidence and enhance preparedness

Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...

Featured Videos

Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 179,065
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 75,992
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,702
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,354,155
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,209
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,172
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,872
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,134,125

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
3 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Athletic Performance

3 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Athletic Performance

Sometimes the most difficult opponent an athlete faces is stress. Armed with the ability to attack quickly and powerfully, stress can hinder an...

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

4 Tips for Building Confidence

4 Tips for Building Confidence

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Tips to Be a Better Leader

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

A Coach Describes What It’s Like to Cut Players

A Coach Describes What It's Like to Cut Players

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

YardBarker